Brief Pain Inventory (BPI)

Download Clinical Summary PDF

Tool Description

  • modeled after the McGill Pain Questionnaire
  • provides information on the intensity of pain (sensory dimension) and the degree to which pain interferes with function (reactive dimension). It also asks questions about pain relief, pain quality, and the patient’s perception of the cause of pain. The reactive dimension (i.e. the interference scale) of the inventory is often used alone.
  • Three modified versions of the BPI – Interference scale have been developed for the SCI population (7-item, 10-item, and 12-item).

ICF Domain:

Body Functions – Subcategory: Sensory Functions.

Number of Items:

Full inventory-17; Interference Scale – 7, 10, 12.

Brief Instructions for Administration & Scoring


  • Self-report assessment.
  • original BPI interference scale asks participants to rate their pain at the time of responding to the questionnaire (pain now) and also at its worst, least, and average over the previous week with regards to the degree it interferes with mood, physical activity, walking ability, work, social activity, personal relations, and sleep.
  • SCI-modified scales use the word “mobility” rather than “walking ability”. Five additional items make up the 12-item scale (self-care, recreational activities, social activities, communication, learning new information).  Only the former 3 (self-care, recreational activities, and social activities) are used to make up the 10-item scale.
  • Time to administer is approximately 5-10 minutes for the short form and 10-15 minutes for the long form.

Equipment: None


  • Pain is rated on a scale of 0 (no interference) to 10 (interferes completely)
  • Mean of the scores is used as the Pain Interference score.


MCID: not established
SEM: not established
MDC: not established

  • The range for all 3 composite scores is from 0-10, with higher numbers indicating greater pain-related interference.
  • No cut-points or normative data have been established for the SCI population
  • published data for the SCI population is available for comparison (see the Interpretability section of the Study Details sheet).


English, French, Chinese, Filipino, Hindi, Italian, Spanish, and Vietnamese

Training Required:

None, but user manual is provided and recommended for reading. (


Can be found at:

Clinical Considerations

  • Clinicians should find the evaluation (self-report or interview) method easy to administer.

Measurement Property Summary

# of studies reporting psychometric properties: 2


  • Internal consistency of the BPI is High for the 7-item scale (Cronbach’s α=0.92), the 10-item scale (Cronbach’s α=0.95) and the 12-item scale (Cronbach’s α=0.96).

[Raichle et al. 2006]


  • High correlation with Pain Intensity Numerical Ratings Scale:
    7-item: r = 0.62
    10-item: r = 0.63
    12-item: r = 0.61
  • High correlation with Short Form-36 (SF-36) Mental Health Scale:
    7-item: r = -0.62
    10-item: r = -0.60
    12-item: r = -0.61

(Raichle et al. 2006; n=127, 92 males; mixed injury types; community; mean (SD) time since injury = 16.6(10.6) years)

  • High correlation between BPI-Interference (12-item) and MPI-SCI Life Interference subscale:
    r = 0.75
  • Moderate correlation between BPI-Interference (12- item) and MPI-SCI Pain Interference subscale:
    r = 0.50

(Soler et al. 2013; n=126, 78 males; mixed injury types; mean (SD) time since injury = 11.8(10.8) years)

[Raichle et al. 2006]


No values have been reported for the responsiveness of the BPI for the SCI population at this time.

Floor/ceiling effect:

No values were reported for the presence of floor/ceiling effects in the BPI for the SCI population.

Typical Values: 



Dr. Vanessa Noonan, John Zhu, Jeremy Mak, Matthew Querée, Gita Manhas

Date Last Updated:

July 20, 2020

Download the measure

Download Worksheet:
Can be found at:




  • Pain is rated on a scale of 0 (no interference) to 10 (interferes completely)
  • Mean of the scores is used as the Pain Interference score.

Equipment Needed

Brief Pain Inventory:

Raichle KA, Osborne TL, Jensen MP, Cardenas D. The reliability and validity of pain interference measures in people with spinal cord injury. The Journal of Pain, 2006; 7(3): 179-186.

Soler MD, Cruz-almeida Y, Saurí J, Widerström-noga EG. Psychometric evaluation of the Spanish version of the MPI-SCI. Spinal Cord. 2013;51(7):538-52.