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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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My doctor gave me a series of questions to answer to help her identify the source of my pain. The questionnaire was called the McGill Pain Questionnaire. Afterwards, she sat down with me and explained how some of my pain is worse than it seems because of certain emotions like fear and anger. I tend to agree with her but how does a simple set of questions like this give that kind of information? I don't remember any questions about how I feel.

The McGill Pain Questionnaire, also known as McGill pain index, is a scale of rating pain developed at the McGill University in Montreal, Canada. It was shown to be a valid and reliable tool to investigate pain and has been in use since 1971. There are many subsections to the questionnaire to help the examiner or health care professional get to the bottom of what hurts, how much it hurts, and potentially, why it hurts. To use the basic questionnaire, the patient circles the words that best describe his or her pain. There are 20 groups of words to choose from with choices like throbbing, shooting, scalding, and dull or sore. The first category includes words that describe pain of a vascular (blood vessel) nature. For example, if you have a throbbing or pounding headache, it may be coming from too much blood in the brain. The second set of word descriptors form seven of the categories and describe neurogenic (nerve pain). Words like tingling, itching, hot, or burning suggest a neurogenic source of pain. One section is devoted to musculoskeletal pain including words like dull, aching, sore, or heavy. That leaves 10 full categories of words that suggest an emotional response to pain. It doesn't mean you don't have pain. It just means the interpretation of the pain (especially pain intensity) is influenced by certain emotions. Some of the words in this category are fearful, sickening, tiring-exhausting, or punishing-cruel. You might describe your pain as miserable, torturing, or unbearable. Again, these words suggest what is referred to as an affective (emotional) base. The mind-body connection is a powerful link in any kind of chronic pain condition. Having this information can be very helpful in planning a treatment approach that will give you the best results. The McGill Pain Questionnaire is just one of many tools that can be used to uncover underlying emotions, thoughts, and beliefs that are tied into our pain and dis-ease.


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