The Brief Pain Inventory


The Brief Pain Inventory, or BPI, is a multidimensional pain inventory that can provide a reliable measure of the effect of chronic pain on an individual's physical and social functioning. It was originally developed as the Wisconsin Brief Pain Questionnaire. While it was originally created to assess pain levels in individuals with cancer, it is now validated for use to measure pain caused by chronic non-cancer pain.

The BPI has been translated into dozens of different languages and is used not only in the clinical setting but also in the research setting. The BPI is available in a short and a long format. It can be self-administered or by interview.

The BPI consists of a 9 part questionnaire. The questions are meant to gauge the severity of pain levels (worst, least, average, & current), the impact of pain on daily functioning in different areas (mood, walking, relationships, sleep, normal work, & general activity), current treatments and perceived effectiveness of current treatments.

The long form of the BPI includes more in-depth questions including:

  • demographic information (age, marital status, education)
  • pain history
  • aggravating and easing factors
  • treatment and medication
  • pain quality
  • response to treatment

The Brief Pain Inventory has been deemed reliable to demonstrate when pain is stable or when pain changes predictably. The short form can be completed in as little as five minutes The long-from can be completed in ten minutes. This makes it one of the most recognized and reliable assessments for chronic pain.