Uses of visual analog scale visual analog scale

Survey Features

Uses of visual analog scale

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The visual analog scale (VAS) and its equivalent visual analog pain scale are psychometric scales that are commonly used by doctors in hospitals and clinics to perform pain scale surveys in order to understand the varying degrees of pain or discomfort experienced by a patient.

What is a visual analog scale?

The visual analog scale (VAS) is a measure used to assess the severity of pain felt by individuals. It consists of a 10-15 cm long line with the left side representing no pain with a happy face picture and the right side representing the greatest agony ever with a frowning face image.

As we know what a visual analog scale is, let us learn about some of its uses.

What are the uses of visual analog scales?

Here are the uses of the visual analogue scale;

  • The VAS may be used to quickly assess symptom severity. 
  • It can also be used to track the course of sickness and suffering. 
  • The VAS is used to assess the efficacy of allergic rhinitis (AR) medication. 
  • The VAS correctly tracks symptom intensity, therapy efficacy, and AR when used with other technologies. 
  • The VAS can be used in place of other psychometric scales. It is easy to use, saves time, and is pretty accurate.
  • The VAS is used to help people who aren’t used to assessing their pain on other scales, such as a numeric rating scale, identify their pain levels.

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What are the types of visual analog scales?

There are two types of scale;

  • Semantic differential (non-slider) visual analogue scale:

Uses of visual analog scale visual analog scale

This scale type consists of circles at equal distances, and the respondent must choose a circle based on the preferred choice.

  • Slider visual analog scale:

Uses of visual analog scale visual analog scale

Respondents can demonstrate their degree of agreement using a slider that contains adjectives about the topic at two extreme ends of the scale and various intermediate words that connect the two. Respondents may provide specific input on the survey question, making this scale popular with both respondents and survey producers.

What are the benefits of a visual analog scale?

The main benefits of using this scale are;

  • The VAS is exceedingly simple to fill out for respondents and extremely simple to keep track of for survey creators. The score is calculated by measuring the distance of the rating scale.
  • This is an exceptionally useful scale for measuring the improvement in a patient’s health over time. This scale is really simple to use and takes less than a minute to complete.
  • VAS is very dependable for tracking a patient’s development before and after surgery or therapy, especially among literate patients.

What are the drawbacks of a visual analog scale?

The main drawbacks of using this scale are;

  • The biggest practical drawback of VAS is that it necessitates additional distance measurements. This entails a significant amount of work in terms of data input for statistical analysis, as well as expensive prices. 
  • Furthermore, VAS may only be utilized for written (or digital) interviews and cannot be used for oral interviews. In VAS, a minimum level of visual ability and hand-eye coordination is necessary .
  • One disadvantage of VAS is that patients have trouble locating the spot on the line that best pertains to them, i.e.

e.g., assessing the importance of distance from the verbal anchor. This is the disadvantage of not using restricting categories. Although VAS allows patients to make finely graded evaluations, it can have a detrimental impact if questions are unclear or patients are unsure how to build an assessment since instructions on how to formulate an assessment are insufficient.

When evaluating VAS scores, similar challenges may arise. While a small number of categories may be usefully interpreted and verbal descriptions ascribed to them, the interpretation of (raw) VAS scores is less obvious. 

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What are the interpretations of visual analog scales?

The score is calculated by measuring the distance (mm) on the 10-cm line between the “no pain” anchor and the patient’s mark with a ruler, yielding a range of values ranging from 0-100. A higher score implies more intense discomfort. 


Based on the pain distribution VAS scores in post-surgical patients who described their post-operative pain intensity as – none, mild, moderate, or severe. 

This is how the score is interpreted in the scale 

  • No pain (0-4 mm), 
  • Mild pain (5-44 mm) 
  • Moderate pain (45-74 mm)
  • Severe pain (45-74 mm) (75–100 mm). 

There are no normative values available.

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