What Is It?
The Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS) is a questionnaire used to determine the presence and severity of a patient’s catastrophic thinking as it relates to their pain. With 13 items evaluating rumination, magnification and helplessness subscales, scores can range from 0 to 52. Once calculated, scores are then compared to associated percentile scores (found in PDF).
Those that rank between the 50th and 75th percentiles are at moderate risk for chronicity, while those scoring above the 75th percentile are at high risk.
Tools used to evaluate patient perception and the presence of possible yellow flags, like the PCS, are useful in a clinical setting as they help detect areas in which education is required. They also provide the clinician with important information regarding prognosis.