Pain Assessment

Accurate assessments, best recommendations

The Pain Management Resource Team makes the most accurate and comprehensive assessment possible to provide the best suggestions for treating pain.

To assess pain consistently for each patient, team members use the WILDA method. It has five key components:

  • Words
  • Intensity
  • Location
  • Duration
  • Aggravating/Alleviating Factors


How you describe your pain helps identify what type of pain you have. Team members will ask you questions to describe your pain.

  • What does your pain feel like?
  • What words would you use to describe the pain you are having?

If your pain is hard to describe, we can provide you with list of words that may help. These include:

  • Aching
  • Burning
  • Cramping
  • Cutting
  • Deep
  • Dull
  • Nagging
  • Numb
  • Piercing
  • Pressure
  • Radiating
  • Sharp
  • Shooting
  • Stabbing
  • Tender
  • Tingling
  • Throbbing
  • Unbearable


To help us gauge the intensity of your pain, we use both numbers and words.

Numeric Scale

For adult patients, we use a numeric scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means no pain and 10 is the worst possible pain.

1-3: Mild Pain
4-6: Moderate Pain
7-10: Severe Pain

A Pain Team member will ask you to rate your pain from 0 to 10. He or she also will ask you what your current pain level is, what the average is, and what the best and worst levels are.

Word Scale

We also use this list of words to rank from no pain to the worst possible pain.

  • None
  • Mild
  • Moderate
  • Severe
  • Excruciating
  • Worst Possible


Because you may feel pain in one or more places on your body, it's important that you and your nurse or physician are talking about the same pain. Usually, Pain Team members will ask you to point to each specific location of your pain.


Some patients have episodic pain, which means it comes and goes. Other patients have constant pain. Knowing the duration of your pain helps determine the type of medications and/or therapies for the best pain relief.

Aggravating/Alleviating Factors

Pain Team members will ask you questions about what makes your pain better or worse. This includes treatments you may have received, such as pain-relieving medications or massage, emotional changes or other hospital activities.

Other Factors

The Pain Management Resource Team looks at other factors in assessing your pain. These include contributing symptoms or side effects associated with pain and its treatment.

  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Sleepiness
  • Urinary Retention
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Some patients may tolerate these symptoms without aggressive treatment, while others may need help managing them. We can adjust or alter medications when necessary.

Our Approach to Pain Management

Learn how our comprehensive approach allows us to tailor therapy for each patient.


Continually educating patients and staff is important to our work.

Pain Management Resource Team

We have the region's only nurse-run inpatient pain management team.