Utility of quantitative computerized pain drawings in a sample of spinal stenosis patients

Elizabeth Roy Felix, Karina A. Galoian, Chad Aarons, Mark D. Brown, Stephen A. Kearing, Uwe Heiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the utility of quantitative computerized pain drawings (CPDs) in a sample of spine patients before and after surgery. Design: Analysis of changes in quantified CPDs, the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), the Short Form-36 Health Survey Questionnaire (SF-36), and numerical ratings of pain intensity before and after surgery. Setting: Private clinic in large metropolitan area. Patients: Forty-six patients with spinal stenosis. Interventions: Surgery for the relief of pain due to spinal stenosis. Outcome Measures: A total points (TP) score was calculated from the CPD that reflected the total number of pixels filled by the patient, and the percentage of total pain area indicated as aching, stabbing, numbness, pins and needles, burning, and other, were each calculated separately. CPD scores, ODI score, Physical Components Summary (PCS) and Mental Components Summary scores of the SF-36, and pain intensity ratings (0-10 scale) were all recorded before and after surgical intervention. Results: After surgery, patients showed significant improvements in the extent of shaded pain area of the CPD, pain intensity ratings, ODI, and SF-36 PCS scores (paired t-test, P ≤ 0.01). Changes in TP scores calculated from the CPDs were significantly correlated (P ≤ 0.05) with changes in ODI scores (r = 0.34) and pain intensity ratings (r = 0.37). Changes in the percentage of total pain area covered by specific qualities of pain were not significant. Conclusions: Results from the present study provide initial support for the use of automated quantified data collected from CPDs to evaluate treatment interventions and to serve the clinician as a record of changes in spatial location, radiation or extent of pain, and the sensory quality of pain when evaluating individual patient needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-389
Number of pages8
JournalPain Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Low back pain
  • Outcome assessment
  • Pain drawing
  • Pain measurement
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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