Two separate studies were carried out to determine if three visual analogue scales for various feelings including pain could be marked consistently by patients, without reference to previously completed scales. Sixty patients undergoing extraction of their lower third molars had measurements of acute preoperative anxiety, expected postoperative pain and postoperative perceived pain three times in quick succession. There was no significant difference between the three measurements for any of the feelings. Although a correlation was detected between expected pain and preoperative anxiety, there was no meaningful relationship between perceived postoperative pain and expected pain or preoperative anxiety. Eighty patients suffering from a wide range of chronic painful states completed three identical scales for pain, anxiety, depression and mood during their first visit. These measurements were repeated at a later time following a treatment, with the addition of a visual analogue scale for pain relief. Mean scores for anxiety, mood and pain relief were consistent, but mean pain scores were more variable. There was a very close correlation between any two feelings expressed on these visual analogue scales during both the initial and second visits. Litigation or social problems were not associated with increased pain scores.