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J Rheumatol. 1989 Jan;16(1):106-12.

The quality of pain in arthritis: the words patients use to describe overall pain and pain in individual joints at rest and on movement.

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Arthritis and Rheumatism Council Epidemiology Research Unit, University of Manchester Medical School, UK.


One hundred and five patients with polyarthritis chose from 14 sensory and 5 affective pain descriptors derived from the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ), and completed visual analogue scales (VAS) for overall and individual joint pain at rest and on movement. The relative frequency of sensory pain descriptor choice varied for the 4 different circumstances of pain. Over one third of patients volunteered affective words not included in the MPQ. This study suggests that conventional overall measures of pain, such as the MPQ, when used for patients with arthritis may neglect differences in pain experience perceived in individual joints and on movement.

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