The Six Things You Need To Tell Your Doctor For Any Type Of Pain

The Six Things You Need To Tell Your Doctor For Any Type Of Pain
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Most visits to the doctor start with the question “What brings you in today?” Preparing a pain worksheet gives the medical professional key information to help personalise your visit.

Photo by Winston Hearn

Consumer Reports share sthe acronym OPQRST for explaining your aches and woes:

  • Onset: When did the problem first start?
  • Place: Where does it hurt? Some people use Provocation: what causes it to hur?
  • Quality of pain? Is it a sharp or burning pain? Or is it more dull and aching?
  • Radiation (or region): Does it bother you other places at the same time?
  • Severity: How bad is the pain on a scale of one to 10?
  • Time (or trigger): How long has it been going on?

Typically you will be asked these questions during your visit, but some organisation saves everyone time. Once you have a detailed list of your pain, you’ll focus more on the treatment during your visit.

Check out the link for other ways to have an effective and productive medical appointment.

Get the right medical diagnosis [Consumer Reports]


  • The acronym we tend to use (and what we used to study in med school is SOCRATES)
    Associated symptoms and signs (e.g.fevers,nausea and vomiting)
    Time course (i.e. Variation in day)
    Exacerbating/relieving factors
    Severity (typically out of 10. For females 10 is their pain score during labour)

  • Timing – it’s better to say whether the pain is constant or fluctuates. The above suggested “How long has it been going on” is effectively the same as the Onset question.

    Although it doesn’t fall neatly into the mnemonic above, Association is important too. For example, what makes the pain worse, what relieves it, etc

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