This study describes the development and validation of a novel tool for identifying patients in whom neuropathic mechanisms dominate their pain experience. The Leeds assessment of neuropathic symptoms and signs (LANSS) Pain Scale is based on analysis of sensory description and bedside examination of sensory dysfunction, and provides immediate information in clinical settings. It was developed in two populations of chronic pain patients. In the first (n = 60), the use of sensory descriptors and questions were compared in patients with nociceptive and neuropathic pain, combined with an assessment of sensory function. This data was used to derive a seven item pain scale, consisting of grouped sensory description and sensory examination with a simple scoring system. The LANSS Pain Scale was validated in a second group of patients (n = 40) by assessing discriminant ability, internal consistency and agreement by independent raters. Clinical and research applications of the LANSS Pain Scale are discussed.