Patient Information Resources

Centre for Orthopaedics
Suite 10-33/34/35 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore, 329563, Singapore
Ph: (65) 6684 5828
Fax: (65) 6684 5829

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I was part of a study giving chronic pain patients a survey to find out about our pain. It seemed like many of the questions were the same, just asked a little differently. Are these trick questions to see if we answer them the same each time?

A good survey is brief but comprehensive. It gets the answers to questions from a variety of viewpoints. In this way it can seem repetitive. Sometimes more than one question asked in a similar way helps to validate the person's response. In other words, it shows if that's how the person truly feels. Conflicts of thought are brought out by questions repeated in different ways.

Many pain surveys begin with a description of the pain. Patients try to match words to their experience. The location, frequency, duration, and intensity are all measured. Use of medications is often included. Beliefs about disability, control, and function come out with the right questions.

The person giving you the test may have given you special instructions before starting. Often the patient is told to answer each question as honestly as possible without looking back at previous answers. It's not meant to trick patients as much as to get a clear picture of the patient's thoughts about the pain.


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