SOCRATES (pain assessment)

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

Meaning of the acronym

The acronym 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]

  • Site – Where is the pain? Or the maximal site of the pain.
  • Onset – When did the pain start, and was it sudden or gradual? Include also whether it is progressive or regressive.
  • Character – What is the pain like? An ache? Stabbing?
  • Radiation – Does the pain radiate anywhere? (See also Radiation.)
  • Associations – Any other signs or symptoms associated with the pain?
  • Time course – Does the pain follow any pattern?
  • Exacerbating/relieving factors – Does anything change the pain?
  • Severity – How bad is the pain?

See also


  1. Clayton, Holly A. (2000). "SOCRATES on Pain Assessment". MedSurg Nursing. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  2. "SOCRATES Acronym". Retrieved 2008-03-31.
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