PainStory: Deeper than 0-10 pain scale, understanding patient’s suffering

Tuesday, 16th November 2021
8:00am9:30am EST

Local Time: to

About the Session

“Pain clinicians are confronted with the complicated task of objectifying the subjective phenomenon of pain in order to determine the appropriate treatments for their patients. A critical challenge in pain management emerges from the fact that pain cannot be directly accessed. Therefore, the current gold standard for the assessment of pain is a single-item 0-10 scale that assists clinicians to simplify the complex nature of pain experience. Yet, based on the current research this one-dimensional pain estimate does not capture the multiple aspects of chronic pain and shows low consistency with patients’ judgment about the severity of ongoing clinical pain and its effect on daily life. At the same time, recently developed computational tools have a great potential for unhiding clinically significant insights from complex, unstructured data. However, the majority of the existing approaches for pain computational classifications were built using experimental data collected in a laboratory environment, and the developed models perform poorly if they are applied to more ecological clinical data. Since pain could be reflected through facial expressions, voice, and language we initiated the PainStory project. The main goal of PainStory is 1) to reduce the stigma associated with chronic pain conditions; 2) to increase general awareness about chronic pain; 3) to create a better understanding and measurements of pain than the traditional 1-10 scale commonly used in clinics.

We have developed a digital platform, PainStory. Science, that allows us to collect the patients’ narratives regarding their wellbeing. The narratives are recorded with a self-served digital platform that uses advanced cybersecurity protocols to ensure participants’ privacy. The patients are asked to describe their current symptoms, related emotions and suffering, the causes of the pain, and what makes the pain better or worse – by talking to the phone camera and microphone in their natural environment. In addition, they rate their pain levels and complete a series of psychosocial surveys using classical self-reported tools. Listening and analyzing patients’ narrative content, their voice, and associated facial expressions, we are developing novel diagnostic approaches based on patients’ experiences. The PainStory project is designed to take a new and more holistic view of the person and the experiences behind the pain response to improve pain diagnosis and treatment in the healthcare system.

 We will demonstrate the main issues related to the commonly used pain assessments, accommodating  the scientific knowledge with a complex real-life experience of chronic pain. 



Chronic pain can’t be reflected with a single-item 0-10 scale.

Clinicians may get a better understanding of their CPPs conditions by listening to their life experiences behind the pain, improving also the alliance with the patients.

We can improve pain diagnosis and treatment in healthcare using computational advances with the capacity of capturing important insights and developing a new understanding of chronic pain just by listening and analyzing patients’ experiences.

Footage developed by iPainlab will be incorporated into the presentation (e.g. , ) to increase the accessibility of the presented content.


Presented By

Pavel Goldstein, PhD

Head of Integrative Pain (iPain) Lab
University of Haifa (Israel)

Saar Draznin, BSc

Manager, Integrative Pain (iPain) Laboratory)
University of Haifa (Israel)

Boris Boltyansky, MSc

Graduate Student in Public Health
University of Haifa (Israel)

Shannon Dougherty

University of Haifa (Israel)