A complete symptom has four aspects:
Location: the part of the body affected.
Complaint: (Sensation/Description): how the problem feels subjectively and/or looks objectively.
Modalities: what makes the complaint better or worse.
Concomitants: associated complaints, e.g., with the menses there is headache and dizziness.
The Bönninghausen Hexameter
Who? (the patient: sex, age)
What? (the complaints)
Where? (the location)
When? (time of appearance; time of aggravation and amelioration. Also, the sequence of events.)
Modalities (modifying influences)
Concomitant (accessory) symptoms.
To simplify, we can condense the above seven into 4:
As a mnemonic it can be shortened to:
"Complaint" or "What?" can be both subjective and objective.
Subjective: "I have a burning pain." or "I feel sad."
Objective: "I have a ulcer with a red rim and green pus is coming out of it.". It could also refer to what the physician observes as in the color of the face , the sound of the cough, the manner of breathing, weird behavior, uncoordinated movements, etc.