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OPQRST: A Mnemonic for Pain Assessment


A reader asked, “What is OPQRST?” 

OPQRST is mneomic for pain assessment.

Onset – Did the pain start suddenly or gradually get worse and worse?

Provokes/Palliates – Does anything make the pain better or worse?

Quality – What does the pain feel like?

Radiates – Point to where it hurts the most. Does the pain go anywhere from there?

Severity – How would you rate your pain on a scale of 0 to 10?

Time – How long have you had the pain?

Remember OPQRST starts a conversation. Don’t limit yourself to just six questions. Be a detective and dig in as needed. 

Read more about adding associated signs or pertinent negatives to the OPQRST and the importance of asking lots of questions in two EMS1.com articles.