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Volume 11 , Issue 4
Fall 1997

Pages 285-290

Pain Descriptors Characteristic of Persistent Facial Pain


PMID: 9656903

The McGill Pain Questionnaire is an instrument that is widely used to assess the multidimensional experience of pain. Although it was introduced more than 20 years ago, limited information is available about its use in patients suffering from persistent facial pain. The aim of this study was to investigate the response patterns of persistent facial pain patients to the McGill Pain Questionnaire, to correlate these patterns with patients’ beliefs about the seriousness of the condition, and to compare the findings with data reported from other painful conditions. The study sample consisted of 200 consecutive female patients referred to a tertiary care facial pain clinic. The Pain Rating Index scores of the McGill Pain Questionnaire subscales and the total number of words chosen by these patients closely matched the summary scores reported by Wilkie et al, who pooled data from seven pain conditions (cancer, chronic back, mixed chronic, acute/postoperative, labor/gynecological, dental, and experimentally induced) in their meta-analysis. On the other hand, when the data collected in this study were compared with those from specific clinical subsets, such as cancer patients, chronic back pain patients, or dental patients, differences in McGill Pain Questionnaire scores could be identified. Differences were also found in the choice of specific pain descriptors. More than 20% of the faci al pain patients selected radiating and pressing ; thi s was not the case for those suffering from other pain conditions. Facial pain patients who felt that their condition was more serious or different from what the treatment providers had told them had a greater likelihood of choosing specific word categories of the McGill Pain Questionnaire.

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