McGill Pain Questionnaire

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McGill Pain Questionnaire
SynonymsMcGill Pain Index
Purposescale to rate pain

The McGill Pain Questionnaire, also known as McGill Pain Index, is a scale of rating pain developed at McGill University by Melzack and Torgerson in 1971.[1] It is a self-report questionnaire that allows individuals to give their doctor a good description of the quality and intensity of pain that they are experiencing. The users are presented with a list of 78 words in 20 sections that are related to pain.[2] The users mark the words that best describe their pain (multiple markings are allowed). Among the words, sections of these words signify different components of pain, namely, Sensory (sections 1-10), Affective (sections 11-15), Evaluative (section 16), and Miscellaneous (sections 17-20).[1]

According to the European Medicines Agency it is the most frequently used measurement tool for multidimensional pain assessment in chronic pain.[3]

Sample questionnaire[edit]

Group Words
1 Flickering, Pulsing, Quivering, Throbbing, Beating, Pounding
2 Jumping, Flashing, Shooting
3 Pricking, Boring, Drilling, Stabbing
4 Sharp, Cutting, Lacerating
5 Pinching, Pressing, Gnawing, Cramping, Crushing
6 Tugging, Pulling, Wrenching
7 Hot, Burning, Scalding, Searing
8 Tingling, Itchy, Smarting, Stinging
9 Dull, Sore, Hurting, Aching, Heavy
10 Tender, Taut (tight), Rasping, Splitting
11 Tiring, Exhausting
12 Sickening, Suffocating
13 Fearful, Frightful, Terrifying
14 Punishing, Grueling, Cruel, Vicious, Killing
15 Wretched, Blinding
16 Annoying, Troublesome, Miserable, Intense, Unbearable
17 Spreading, Radiating, Penetrating, Piercing
18 Tight, Numb, Squeezing, Drawing, Tearing
19 Cool, Cold, Freezing
20 Nagging, Nauseating, Agonizing, Dreadful, Torturing


  1. ^ a b Melzack, Ronald; Raja, Srinivasa N. (1 July 2005). "The McGill Pain Questionnaire". Anesthesiology. 103 (1): 199–202. doi:10.1097/00000542-200507000-00028. PMID 15983473. S2CID 19014238.
  2. ^ Melzack, Ronald; Katz, Joel (2007). "McGill Pain Questionnaire". Encyclopedia of Pain. pp. 1102–1104. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-29805-2_2298. ISBN 978-3-540-43957-8.
  3. ^ European Medicines Agency: Guideline on the clinical development of medicinal products intended for the treatment of pain (2016). P. 8.