PQRST Pain Assessment



The PQRST mnemonic. Where P stands for provokes. What provoked the pain? What makes it worse? What makes it better? Did the pain occur at rest or during exertion? Did the pain wake the patient up? Q for quality. This could be sharp, dull, squeezing, a slight pressure, a burning or aching pain, a pounding pain, colic-like or cramping, or a stabbing pain. R for radiates. Does the pain move anywhere? Ask the patient to point to anywhere they feel pain. S for severity. Ask the patient to rate the pain on a scale of 0 to 10. Where 0 is no pain, and 10 is the worst pain imaginable. T for time. Ask the patient: when did it start? Was the onset slow or sudden? How long has it lasted? Is it a constant or intermittent pain? Does it come and go? Have you had the pain previously? Is it the same as previously or is it different from last time? Remember to document all your observations.
CPD time1m
First Published22 June 2019
Updated22 June 2019
29 June 2025
Learning Tools
Clinical Assessment