Pain assessment using OPQRST

Cut in halfOPQRST – This little string of the alphabet helps you to do a comprehensive pain assessment. Obviously if someone has pain from a cut finger, you deal with the finger. When you need to dig more deeply and find out more about a painful condition, the OPQRST pain assessment method will help. As far as you can, ask the questions as part of a normal, conversational assessment. Try to avoid interrogation! So let’s start with what OPQRST stands for before we dig in more deeply:

  • Onset
  • Provoking
  • Quality
  • Radiating
  • Severity
  • Time



The first part of your pain assessment. You may want to ask/consider these topics. (Remember to keep it conversational, you might not be asking these in order!)

  • What were they doing when it started?
  • Did it come on at rest or while working/stressed?
  • What do they believe causes the pain?
  • Was it sudden?
  • Did it come on gradually?
  • Is it something they already have and part of a known condition?


  • What makes it worse?
  • And in fact, what makes it better?
  • Any movement making it worse?
  • What about when you press on it?
  • What about moving related areas? (Eg: moving an arm may hurt a shoulder)


Ask them to describe the pain. Try to ask them and not lead them: “Tell me what it feels like” is better than “Is it stabbing? Burning? Throbbing?” Let them give you the description. Is there a pattern to it? Eg: When I walk/sit/stand/move; every X minutes, hours, days, etc.

Radiating (or region)

  • Is it just one specific area or does it radiate (spread).
  • If so, where does it spread.
  • Just one area or several.
  • Is there any referred pain (pain in a seemingly uninjured or unconnected place).
  • Does the pain seem to move around?


Ask them at first how bad it is, then try to put that into perspective. Often pain scales can be used (eg: from one to five – how bad is it?). These are somewhat useful, but limited in most people depending on their experience of pain. Has it happened before and if so, is it worse pain or lesser? During your pain assessment remember there are people whose pain is always 5/5 no matter what. As always, your judgement comes in to this as well.


  • When did it happen?
  • How long has it been going on?
  • Has it happened before – when?
  • How long since the pain was at its worst/lowest point?
  • How long since it seemed to improve/worsen?
  • How long since it stopped hurting?
  • How long did it feel sharp/burning/whatever before it became dull/achy/throbbing/whatever?

And that’s it – simple, kind of…. OPQRST is an easy way to help you recall the kinds of questions you should be asking, but always use your won judgement. It’s unlikely you’ll need (or want) to ask all those questions on one patient assessment.

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Google Glass – What About Health and Safety?

If there’s one product that’s created a stir before its public launch, it’s Google Glass. The search engine giant has an innovative, high-tech product in its beta program (which means it’s still in the testing phase) that looks like a headset with glasses, but it’s much more than that.


At $1,500 a pair, the frame has a tiny, battery-operated computer mounted on the right side that allows users to access the Internet and email, make phone calls, send text messages, take photos and record what they are seeing on a video camera.

Google plans to make Glass available to the general public sometime this year. The company set up an Explorer Program in June for a limited number of people to test the device.

Some Explorers, who wear the glasses for an extended period of time, have complained of headaches.  If headaches do not dissipate, or other critical health symptoms arise, seek medical attention as soon as possible. As a safety measure, contact legal professionals who can give you advice. For instance, an Independence personal injury lawyer advises, “If you have been injured, on the job, in a car, in the hospital or through any other means at the hands of another, you deserve to have them pay for your medical damages and pain and suffering.”

In the meantime, Google says it is taking the complaints seriously and looking into what, if any, other potential health risk Glass poses to users.

Concerns over Glass

Visitors to casinos in New Jersey and Nevada are banned from wearing the device. The states’ gaming authorities contend that gamblers can use the device to cheat when playing games.

Casinos are not the only places where the specialized eye wear is a concern. Bills are pending in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, West Virginia, Illinois and Wyoming to ban drivers from wearing the product. The legislation aims at preventing more problems with distracted driving. Google says it has hired lobbyists to prevent the bills from passing and to educate lawmakers about the new device.

In February, a Wichita State University researcher found that Google Glass was not as distracting to drivers as a smart phone. In fact, drivers wearing Glass followed other vehicles less closely and drove slower than smart-phone users, according to Jibo He, a WSU assistant professor and driver safety expert who plans to publish his findings this spring.

In what’s believed to be the first real-life traffic safety case involving Google Glass, Cecilia Abadie, of Temecula, Calif., was wearing the device on Oct. 29 when she was ticketed by a California Highway Patrol officer for speeding. The officer also added on a citation that fines people who drive with a video or TV on in the front of the car. Abadie said she was only wearing them but not actively using the device when she was pulled over by the officer. In January, a San Diego judge dismissed the case, ruling that there was not enough evidence presented to prove that Abadie was using Google Glass while she was driving. With the dismissal of Abadie’s case, the question remains unanswered as to whether Google Glass distracts drivers.

The Legal Side of Glass

Along with concerns over distracted driving, there are questions surrounding the legal aspects of Glass being asked, such as:

1. Who will accident victims sue if a driver causes a serious injury or fatal injury crash while wearing and using Glass? The driver or Google?
2. Can a driver who caused a traffic crash while wearing them sue Google?
3. How will police, prosecutors and personal injury attorneys prove that a driver was actually using Glass at the time of a vehicle accident?

Regardless of the many questions surrounding this advanced tech product, some tech experts believe it has a bright future because of its usefulness to professionals and entertainment value to consumers. Until Google makes its device available to the public, its future remains to be seen.

Guest Writer Teresa Stewart enjoys learning and sharing information about new and developing technologies. She researched Independence personal injury lawyer online to gather information for this post.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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The Dangers of Driving While Drowsy – an Infographic

Many people have heard of the dangers of “Driving Under the Influence” (DUI) or “Driving While Intoxicated” (DWI). There have been many campaigns to bring awareness to this danger. But there is another danger on the road. A danger that has caused many accidents and even fatalities. The danger of “Driving While Drowsy,” or (DWD). DWD is very dangerous and can cause a driver to lose concentration making the driver unaware of any other vehicles or pedestrians on the road. Precautions should be taken to avoid, Driving While Drowsy.

In National Lampoon’s “Vacation”, The Griswold’s are on cross country quest to Wally World. Clark, played by Chevy Chase, is trying to keep to a tight daily schedule thus driving late into the night. We see the family asleep and finally reveal Clark also dozing at the wheel. The Family Truckster careens off the highway into a neighbourhood almost hitting a pedestrian in a cross-walk, another customer walking out of a restaurant and dog being taken on its nightly walk. All while Clark is still asleep. When he is awakened by Helen, he realizes the situation he is in but is helpless. The car spins around and comes to a violent stop in a parking place at the hotel. Clark shouts out, “Well, up and at-em. We’re here.” A very funny scene that was played out for laughs in a movie that still hold up today. But the dangers of driving while drowsy is a very real situation.

Going without sleep can leave a person on the same conscious level of a drunk driver. Tens of thousands of accidents are caused every year, and 1 in 24 adults has admitted to recently dozing off at the wheel. These statistics don’t include accidents that aren’t reported, such as dozing off and hitting a curb, but regardless, this information is shocking. Younger drivers are more susceptible to this habit as they account for over half of these types of accidents. This damage can be prevented, however. There are measures that drivers can take to ensure they don’t doze off.

If a driver is feeling drowsy, it is important to acknowledge the signs and pull over. The driver can either pull over for the night at a motel or the driver can take a quick cat nap at a rest stop. Both of these options will give the driver the rest needed to be alert on the road. Especially during night-time driving, drivers should consider drinking coffee or an energy drink when the first signs of drowsiness appears. This will provide the driver with temporary alertness so that the driver can find a safe place to pull over. Passengers can also help to keep the driver awake and more alert. Taking these precautions can help prevent an accident and even save lives.

Follow these simple procedures and you will be able to shout, “Well up and at -em, we’re here.”

driving drowsing infographic - don't sleep and drive!

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Seat Belt Awareness

Let’s go back to the prairie land. Back before motorized vehicles existed. Remember The Little House on the Prairie or John Wayne westerns? If you took note of the time era entertainment depictions, you may have noticed that transportation was best either via foot, horse or in a horse drawn carriage or wagon. If you ever have gone on a hay ride, you know just how bumpy transportation of those days could be. Edward J. Claghorn noticed the need for a safety belt and drew up his patented design in 1885. However, the patent application indicated its use to secure a person to a fixed object but did not clearly define that object as a vehicle, wagon or even a horse!

Within the next 100 years, seat belts were further redefined but were only found in certain vehicle models and in aeroplanes. Racing cars were also among those who received early use of the seat belts. This century also set a precedent when the most populated countries in Europe and United States started establishing the standardization of seat belts in newly manufactured vehicle models. Did you know: Volvo was the first to roll out the commonly used 3-point seatbelt.[4]

Major seat belt news, at least for North America, was found between the1960s and 1980s. According to John Moore William’s article[4], the United States instated the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 1964 to follow suit with the European equivalent. Lap belts were mainly the type used for both aerial and automotive use. Lap belts in American vehicles were often disregarded until the mid 1980s to mid 1990s when both federal and state governments stepped in to say it was the law to wear it.

Today, we still see the lap belt and the three-point belt, which is commonly known as the chest belt. There is also the five-point or six-point belt, which are common in race cars, and the aerobatic aerial seven-point belt[3]. Before the five, six and seven-point harnesses were made, some will remember vehicle models which featured automatic seat belts and belt in seat types. According to the South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance[3], there are also experimental versions of seat belts being explored including:

  • Criss-cross chest belt – chest belt with an extra cross automatic belt to vehicle frame
  • Three plus two safety belt – chest belt with a built in lap belt and an extra lap belt to be fastened
  • Four-point suspender belt – the dual belt runs from the seat’s headrest and is fastened near the navel to the centre lap belt connector.
  • Inflatable seat belts – air bags within seat belts, which is commonly found in rear seats

Statistics are run frequently to monitor seat belt use and the effectiveness of them since there were more than 33,500 fatalities in automobile-related accidents in 2012 alone[1]. A recent study conducted by the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) shows that 87 percent of vehicle inhabitants applied the seat belt while in a moving vehicle[2]. NOPUS’ statistics also broke down regional use and seat belt use per law type, since not all states strictly enforce seat belt use.

We cannot forget the importance of securing little ones in the back seat. Many fire departments and child-related organizations host baby seat training to ensure your little one is properly fastened. This helps to eliminate further dangers in the case of an inevitable car accident. Seat belts play a role with these training by holding down the child holding unit whether it is a car seat or a booster seat. Teaching children to properly use a seat belt at an early age can help set the habit for seat belt use as a driver and passenger.

Safety is important for everyone and means something differently to each person. For vehicle manufacturers and vehicle customization businesses, safety is the number one priority in the manufacturing process and for the consumers who will be using the products. If you would like more information on why seat belts are important and how they can be customized, speak to an automotive industry professional today!


Written by The Armored Group LLC – an international armored car manufacturer with the sole focus of safety for the vehicle’s inhabitants. Vehicle safety has changed tremendously in the past 100 years, and the technology advancements will continue to make trendsetting records including our very own TAGLite composite ballistic steel plating for vehicles. Armoured vehicles are now being made to disguise its armoured status. Take a look at our inventory and contact one of our representatives today for more information!


[1] “2012 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview. November 2013. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved February 19, 2014 from


[2]Pickrell, T.M. & Liu, C. “Seat Belt Use in 2013 – Overall Results. January 2014. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved February 19, 2014 from


[3]South Jersey Traffic Safety Administration. “Types of Seat Belts.” Retrieved February 19, 2014 from


[4]Williams, John Moore. “The Hotly Contested History of the Seat Belt.” 23 May 2011. Esurance. Retrieved February 19, 2014 from



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