Unlike other neurological conditions, identification of neuropathic pain is hard. Few, if any, objective signs are present. Examiners have to decipher and interpret a collection of words that patients use to describe their pain. Patients may describe their symptoms as sharp, dull, hot, cold, sensitive, itchy, deep, stinging, burning, or some other descriptor. Additionally, some patients may feel pain with a light touch or pressure.
In an effort to help identify how much pain patients may be experiencing, different scales are often used. Patients are asked to rate their pain based on a visual scale or numeric graph. Many examples of pain scales exist. Often, pictures of faces depicting various degrees of pain can be helpful when patients have a difficult time describing the amount of pain they are experiencing.