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  • How long for ? When did it start ? Sudden or gradual onset ?
  • Is pain constant or intermittent ? Periodic / Episodic worsening, how often ?
  • Intensity (on a good day and on a bad day: 0-10 / 10)
  • Where do you feel the worst pain ? - Is pain going or radiating anywhere else ?
  • How does pain feel ? (dull, aching, sharp, shooting, like an electric shock, stabbing, throbbing, prickling, tingling, numb)
  • What makes pain worse ? (e.g. certain activities, walking, lifting, standing, sitting, driving, coughing, sneezing)
  • What makes pain better, what helps ? (e.g. medication, rest, hot water bottle)
  • What does pain stop you from doing ?

Associated symptoms

  • Are mood and sleep affected
  • Do you feel anxious, angry or depressed
  • Inactivity / Loss of mobility ?
  • Red flag symptoms (e.g. bladder or bowel problems, recent falls, infections or fractures, unexpected weight loss, new weakness or numbness in the leg or arm)

Current medication

  • Pain medication now and in the past (for how long, side effects, tolerability)
  • Is the pain medication (and each of it) effective
  • Disease-modifying drugs (anti-rheumatics)
  • Any chemotherapy or radiotherapy in the past ?
  • Other medication (blood pressure, heart, breathing, gout, anti-rheumatic drugs)
  • Allergies

Past medical history

  • cardiovascular (Blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, Blood clots in veins or lungs)
  • Respiratory (COPD, asthma)
  • Diabetes
  • Liver and Kidney failure
  • Rheumatic diseases, Osteoporosis
  • Heartburn, Reflux disease

Social History

  • Partner, children, friends
  • Employment (part-time, full-time)
  • Driving
  • Sport, Hobbies
  • Sleep, Mood

Previous scans

  • X-rays
  • Ultrasounds
  • Images

Previous Treatments

  • Physiotherapy, Hydrotherapy, Massage, Exercise classes
  • Injections (when, what, by whom ?)
  • Acupuncture, TENS
  • Hot, cold applications
  • Chiropracter, Osteopaths

What are your expectations ?

  • more effective medication, other medication, medication reduction
  • injections
  • general advice about activity and pain reduction
  • referral to other specialist

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