Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Your Pain on a Scale of 1-10? Check Out a New DOD Way to Evaluate Pain

Graphic of a bar graph The DVPRS pain scale is being rolled out across the Military Health System and in civilian health care organizations as an improved way to determine pain levels.

Recommended Content:

Pain Management

If you receive care in a military medical treatment facility, you might notice your health care team is using a new method for assessing your pain.

The Military Health System is rolling out a new pain management strategy known as the Defense and Veterans Pain Rating Scale, or DVPRS

Most people are familiar with the traditional way of assessing pain during a medical appointment. Patients were usually asked to “rate your pain on a scale of 0-10.” While for many years this seemed to make sense, there was growing evidence that both patients and providers were not satisfied with this approach.

The 0-10 scale often resulted in a superficial discussion of pain with a single focus on getting the pain to zero. Military health experts say the traditional scale was often associated with an overreliance on medication and a negative impact on a patient’s quality of life.

“It was clear from our discussions with patients and clinicians that the standard 0-10 pain assessment needed to be improved, said Dr. Chester Buckenmaier, director of the Defense and Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Management, which is the DOD’s center of excellence for pain management located at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

“We needed a way to expand our pain assessments beyond just looking at pain intensity,” Buckenmaier said.

In response to this challenge, a DOD pain management task force developed the DVPRS, which combines several previously validated pain assessment tools with some important additions.

To start, the DVPRS incorporates functional descriptions for each of the 0-10 levels of pain so that successful pain management is associated with improved function rather than what Buckenmaier called “chasing zero intensity.”

The DVPRS also includes an assessment of the patient-reported impact of pain on four specific quality of life indicators: activity, sleep, mood, and stress. This provides clinicians with a deeper understanding of the patient’s pain condition and a better way to measure the progress and effectiveness of pain management treatments.

The DVPRS was developed at a time when the military health system was increasingly attentive to pain management issues, as many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were facing chronic pain conditions and health experts have sought ways to avoid heavy medication or overreliance on narcotics.

Beyond the military community, the DVPRS has been gaining attention in numerous civilian health care organizations. For example, the West Virginia University Health System recently designated the DVPRS as its pain assessment tool.

 

A DVPRS information video is available at https://www.dvcipm.org/clinical-resources/defense-veterans-pain-rating-scale-dvprs/

.

You also may be interested in...

Living with Pain Retrain Brain 1

Infographic
8/3/2021
Social media graphic on pain management through physical activity

Living with Pain? Retrain your Brain! Reduce sensitivity to pain with increased physical activity.

Recommended Content:

Pain Management Toolkit | Pain Management

Living with Pain Retrain Brain 2

Infographic
8/3/2021
 Social media graphic on pain management showing a brain

Opioid Safety – Living with Pain? Retrain your Brain! Change how the brain perceives pain with a healthy lifestyle.

Recommended Content:

Pain Management Toolkit | Pain Management

Living with Pain Retrain Brain 3

Infographic
8/3/2021
Social media graphic on reducing stress to alleviate pain

Living with Pain? Retrain your Brain! Reduce stress to soothe your nervous system.

Recommended Content:

Pain Management Toolkit | Pain Management

Opioid Safety: Common Prescription Opioids

Infographic
8/3/2021
Social media graphic on opioid safety showing list of opioid drugs

Heroin is one of the world’s most dangerous opioids but medicine in the United States would never use it. Common generic prescriptions include: Hydrocodone Oxycodone Oxymorphone Morphine Codeine Fentanyl Methadone

Recommended Content:

Pain Management Toolkit | Opioid Safety | Pain Management

Opioid Safety: Safety Precautions

Infographic
8/3/2021
Social media graphic on opioid safety showing precautions

Opioids can be highly addictive. Work with your doctor on a plan to take opioids safely and to taper off opioids when possible.

Recommended Content:

Pain Management Toolkit | Opioid Safety | Pain Management

Opioid Safety: Signs of Abuse

Infographic
8/3/2021
Social media graphic on opioid safety

Everyone who takes opioids is at risk for opioid poisoning (overdose), even if taken as prescribed, and should take appropriate precautions. If you have pain and your doctor prescribes opioids, there are things you can do to prevent overdose. Work with your doctor to create a plan. Know your options and consider ways you can manage pain without an opioid.

Recommended Content:

Pain Management Toolkit | Opioid Safety | Pain Management

Pain Management 1

Infographic
8/3/2021
Social media graphic on U.V. safety showing a service member putting on sunblock

Pain Management

Recommended Content:

Pain Management Toolkit | Pain Management

Pain Management

Infographic
8/3/2021
Social media graphic on pain management

Pain management means getting the right treatment for physical and emotional pain, whether it is sharp, dull, aching, burning, strong or mild.

Recommended Content:

Pain Management Toolkit | Pain Management

Pain Management Spotlight

Infographic
8/3/2021
Social media graphic on pain management

Pain management means getting the right treatment for physical and emotional pain, whether it is sharp, dull, aching, burning, strong or mild.

Recommended Content:

Pain Management Toolkit | Pain Management

Opioid Misuse Prevention

Infographic
7/20/2021
Opioid Misuse Prevention - Opioids are highly addictive

Opioid Misuse Prevention - Opioids are highly addictive

Recommended Content:

Pain Management Toolkit | Pain Management | Opioid Safety

Back pain Infographic

Infographic
1/8/2021
Infographic featuring images of people with low back pain and explaining that TRICARE will waive cost-shares for up to three low back pain physical therapy sessions for  beneficiaries in ten demonstration states, if beneficiaries meet eligibility criteria.

Infographic featuring images of people with low back pain and explaining that TRICARE will waive cost-shares for up to three low back pain physical therapy sessions for beneficiaries in ten demonstration states, if beneficiaries meet eligibility criteria...

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Low Back Pain and Physical Therapy Demonstration Toolkit | Pain Management

Acute vs. Chronic Pain

Infographic
6/6/2019
This infographic describes the difference between acute pain and chronic pain.

This infographic describes the difference between acute pain and chronic pain

Recommended Content:

Pain Management

Living with Pain? Retrain Your Brain

Infographic
6/6/2019
This infographic describes ways to retrain the brain's reaction to pain.

This infographic describes ways to retrain the brain's reaction to pain.

Recommended Content:

Pain Management
Showing results 1 - 13 Page 1 of 1

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.