This is one of a group of papers read at the London Medical Group conference of "Pain: a necessity?",' which was held in Charing Cross Hospital Medical School, London in February 1978. Dr Twycross argues that complete assessment implies the ability not only to make a diagnosis but also to initiate appropriate treatment. Describing the site, severity and quality of the pain is only the first step. A doctor needs to: 1) Be aware of the range of diagnostic possibilities 2) Appreciate the influences of non-physical factors such as mood and morale 3) Be aware of the range of treatemnt options 4) Establish realistic objectives with the patient 5) Reassess at appropriate intervals to review treatment, monitor side-effects, and develop and maintain a good working relationship with the patient.
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