Duration and Periodicity

To determine the duration and temporal characteristics regarding one's pain, the patient should be asked whether the pain is continuous, intermittent, pulsatile, or characterized by a wavelike rise and fall in intensity. Some physicians advocate the use of time-intensity curves to characterize how the pain starts, the rapidity with which it increases, the duration, and the manner by which the pain declines (Fig. 5.1). Additionally, the relationship of the pain

J NEEDLE PRICK

j^y^ PULSATING TOOTHACHE

j^y^ PULSATING TOOTHACHE

CONTINUOUS PAIN, FLUCTUATING Figure 5.1 Time-intensity curve.

to a time-point (day, week, and season) or to a stressor (emotional or environmental) also provides vital information to the cause of an individual's pain.

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