Pain detection from facial characteristics using supervised descent method

Pain detection from facial characteristics using supervised descent method


Current methods of assessing pain depend almost entirely on verbal report such as clinical interview or questionnaires of the patients. Pain being a symptom that can neither be felt nor seen, poses a major problem for the medical personnel involved in pain management since there are no accurate objective measures to establish the extent of pain the patient is suffering from when using a remote assistive medical system. The verbal report grading pain has obvious discrepancies, especially when it comes to children or people with limited ability to communicate (i.e. the mute, mentally impaired, or patients having assisted breathing). When designing a medical assistive system measuring pain in an efficient way is of great importance. In this paper we proposes an algorithm for both automatic pain recognition (i.e. pain/no pain presence in human) and continuous pain intensity estimation based on facial expression analysis. To locate specific landmarks in the face we used Supervised Descent Method (SDM) and then extract feature vectors using Scale Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT). For the recognition task we build a classier based on Support Vector Machines (SVM) and for the continuous pain intensity estimation task we trained linear regressor. The experiments with patients with shoulder pain show very good recognition rate (more than 95.7%). For the pain intensity estimation we reached an average Mean Squared Error of 1.28 and Correlation coefficient of 0.59. The recorded results demonstrate performance that exceeds state-of-the-art results on a standard data set.


  • Nikolay Neshov
  • Agata Manolova


IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Data Acquisition and Advanced Computing Systems: Technology and Applications (IDAACS), 2015.



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