McGill Pain Index

McGill Pain Index  The McGill Pain Questionnaire was developed in 1971 by Ronald Melzack and Warren Torgerson fromMcGill University in Canada. Their paper On the Language of Pain [Anesthesiology, 1971, v 34] proposed what was then a novel idea:  It is not only the intensity of pain that matters. Each disease produces a different quality of pain: we have the burning of causalgia; the stabbing or cramping of visceral pain; and so on. The quality of pain provides a key to diagnosis and may even suggest a course of therapy. Results of the study: For any specific disease, the descriptive words chosen by patients were remarkably similar. So were the pain scores. Substantial portions of the words had the same relative positions on a common intensity scale for people from widely divergent social and ethnic backgrounds. Melzack and Torgerson used this data to create the McGill Pain Index. It is a yardstick to quantify pain. The Index compares three categories of pain: Labour pain, clinical pain syndromes, and pain after trauma or accident.  It takes the visual form of a bargraph (illustrated below). The McGill Pain Scale remains a useful instrument for doctors because it is reliable and consistent. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (causalgia) has a score of 42 out of 50 on the McGill Pain RSD in the most painful chronic disease that is known.

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The chart which helps explain how painfull RSD is was developed for this website and is very informative.



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