SOCRATES (pain assessment)

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SOCRATES is a mnemonic acronym used by emergency medical services, physicians, nurses, and other health professionals to evaluate the nature of pain that a patient is experiencing.


SOCRATES is used to gain an insight into the patient's condition, and to allow the health care provider to develop a plan for dealing with it.[1][2] It can be useful for differentiating between nociceptive pain and neuropathic pain.[3]

Adverse effects[edit]

SOCRATES only focuses on the physical effects of pain, and ignores the social and emotional effects of pain.[4]


Letter Aspect Example Questions
S Site Where is the pain? Or the maximal site of the pain.
O Onset When did the pain start, and was it sudden or gradual? Include also whether it is progressive or regressive.
C Character What is the pain like? An ache? Stabbing?
R Radiation Does the pain radiate anywhere?
A Associations Any other signs or symptoms associated with the pain?
T Time course Does the pain follow any pattern?
E Exacerbating / relieving factors Does anything change the pain?
S Severity How bad is the pain?


SOCRATES is often poorly used by health care providers.[5] Although pain assessments usually cover many or most of the aspects, they rarely included all 8 aspects.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Clayton, Holly A.; Reschak, Gary L. C.; Gaynor, Sandra E.; Creamer, Julie L. (December 2000). "A novel program to assess and manage pain". Medsurg Nursing. 9 (6): 318–312 – via ProQuest.
  2. ^ a b Swift, Amelia (1 October 2015). "The importance of assessing pain in adults". Nursing Times. 111 (41): 12–17. PMID 26647478 – via Europe PMC.
  3. ^ Schofield, Marcia; Shetty, Ashish; Spencer, Michael; Munglani, Rajesh (May 2014). "Pain Managment [sic]: Part 1". British Journal of Family Medicine. 2 (3).
  4. ^ Gregory, Julie (2019-08-31). "Use of pain scales and observational pain assessment tools in hospital settings". Nursing Standard. 34 (9): 70–74. doi:10.7748/ns.2019.e11308. ISSN 0029-6570. S2CID 201675367.
  5. ^ a b Manna, Aditya; Sarkar, S. K.; Khanra, L. K. (2015-04-01). "PA1 An internal audit into the adequacy of pain assessment in a hospice setting". BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care. 5 (Suppl 1): A19–A20. doi:10.1136/bmjspcare-2015-000906.61. ISSN 2045-435X. PMID 25960483. S2CID 206923364.