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Characteristic Potential Elements
Temporal Acute, recurrent or chronic Onset and duration Course and daily variation.
Intensity Pain “On an average,”
Pain “At its worst,”
Pain “At its least,”
Pain “At present”
Topography Focal or multifocal or referred localized or generalized Superficial or deep.
Quality Nature of pain (e.g., aching, throbbing, stabbing, or burning). Familiar or unfamiliar.


Acute vs. Chronic Pain
  Acute Pain Chronic Pain
Temporal features Recent onset and expected to last no longer than days or weeks. Remote, often ill–defined onset; duration unknown.
Intensity Variable  Variable
Associated affect Anxiety may be prominent when pain is severe or cause is unknown; sometimes irritability. Irritability or depression
Associate pain–related behaviors Pain behaviors, e.g., moaning, rubbing, splinting, may be prominent when pain is severe. May or may not give any indication of pain
Associate features May have signs of sympathetic hyperactivity when pain is severe, e.g., palpitation, hypertension, sweating. May or may not have vegetative signs, such as listlessness, anorexia, weight loss, insomnia.