The McGill Pain Questionnaire consists primarily of 3 major classes of word descriptors--sensory, affective and evaluative--that are used by patients to specify subjective pain experience. It also contains an intensity scale and other items to determine the properties of pain experience. The questionnaire was designed to provide quantitative measures of clinical pain that can be treated statistically. This paper describes the procedures for administration of the questionnaire and the various measures that can be derived from it. The 3 major measures are: (1) the pain rating index, based on two types of numerical values that can be assigned to each word descriptor, (2) the number of words chosen; and (3) the present pain intensity based on a 1-5 intensity scale. Correlation coefficients among these measures, based on data obtained with 297 patients suffering several kinds of pain, are presented. In addition, an experimental study which utilized the questionnaire is analyzed in order to describe the nature of the information that is obtained. The data, taken together, indicate that the McGill Pain Questionnaire provides quantitative information that can be treated statistically, and is sufficiently sensitive to detect differences among different methods to relieve pain.