Qualitative Aspects of Pain Perception

Appreciating the clinical features of the different types of pain not only helps to properly classify pain and its etiology, but also guide the often complex multimodal medical management that accompanies pain management. The health care provider must be detailed in attaining the qualitative factors and history associated with a patient's pain. Table 4.3 outlines the qualitative aspects of pain perception.

Table 4.3 Qualitative aspects of pain perception.


Onset and duration

Variability Intensity Topography Character

Exacerbating/relieving Quality of life

Constant, effort-dependent, waxing and waning, episodic "flare" Average pain, worst pain, least pain, pain with activity of living Focal, dermatomal, diffuse, referred, superficial, deep Sharp, aching, cramping, stabbing, burning, shooting Worse at rest, with movement or no difference Interfere with movement, ambulation, daily life tasks, work, etc.

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