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15 ways to ask clients questions – with the right intonation

Questions can be tricky as different word order and tenses plus intonation come into play.

Here are 15 questions a physiotherapist in an initial consultation with a patient might use:

  1. Where’s the pain?

  2. Where’s the pain worst?

  3. When did the pain start?

  4. When was the last time you had this pain?

  5. What painkillers have you taken?

  6. Which arm is worse?

  7. How high can you lift your arms?

  8. How long have you had this pain?

  9. How often do you take painkillers?

  10. Have you had this pain before?

  11. Have you tried massage?

  12. Can you lift your arms?

  13. Do you feel any pain here?

  14. Does the pain come and go?

  15. Is the pain worse when moving or resting?

What about intonation?

Intonation often falls at the end of wh-questions (1-9) and usually rises at the end of yes/no questions (10-14).

In alternative questions (15), the voice goes up on the first option (moving) and down on the last option (resting).

What’s a good way to practise questions?

Start by reviewing the 15 questions.

Then brainstorm your own questions based on your work situation and memorise these models.

Personalised examples help you to remember patterns more easily.

Want me to check your questions? You can email them to me and get feedback.

And do you need to talk about pain in your work?

An upcoming post will delve into describing pain – subscribe to get updates of new posts.

© Christina Wielgolawski