Assessment of pain in rheumatic diseases

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2005 Sep-Oct;23(5 Suppl 39):S77-84.


Pain is the most prominent symptom in people with musculoskeletal disorders, and the most common motivation for patients seeking medical help. However, pain generally is not recorded quantitatively in routine medical care. Over the last three decades, self-report questionnaires have been developed in which a patient may record quantitatively a pain score at baseline and over time to determine whether their condition has improved, remains unchanged, or has worsened. The most robust quantitative pain measure appears to be a simple 10 cm visual analog scale (VAS), which can be completed by the patient and scored by a health professional in less than 10 seconds. Quantitative data concerning pain cannot be obtained from any source other than the patient. Quantitative assessment of pain at each visit in routine rheumatology care, along with the assessment of functional disability, global status, and other patient variables, using a patient self-report questionnaire might lead to improved patient care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Pain / diagnosis*
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Measurement*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / complications*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Rheumatology / methods*
  • Severity of Illness Index