On A Scale Of 1 To 10, How Would You Actually Rate Your Pain?

Health & Medical Blog

If you have chronic pain of any kind, you probably have experienced some frustration when it comes to rating the intensity of your pain. Many patients struggle to quantify their pain in a way that's accurate and useful to pain management doctors and care professionals. This difficulty stems from the fact that every person has a different pain threshold, and smiling, frowning, or grimacing faces don't always depict that threshold accurately.

Here's a break down of the 1 to 10 pain scale.

Minor Discomfort: 1 Through 3

Many people experience minor pain. This pain can continue for any length of time, but won't generally interfere with your daily life. 

1. The sensation is uncomfortable, but not particularly noticeable. 

2. You notice your pain, but it doesn't distract you unless you focus on it.

3. The sensation has become bothersome, but you can ignore it with some small effort.

Moderate Pain: 4 Through 6

Pain at this intensity can begin to impact your routines. Moderate pain proves especially problematic if it affects a body part you move frequently, like your wrist and fingers, or a body part that supports movement, like your neck and back.

4. You feel constantly aware of your pain, but it does not actively prevent normal activities.

5. The sensation has become distracting and the pain interferes with some of your routines.

6. The sensation is distressing and the discomfort forces you to give up many activities.

Severe Pain: 7 Through 10

Mild and moderate pain often respond to home remedies with some guidance from a doctor or physical therapist. However, severe pain usually indicates a serious issue and may not respond to measures you would otherwise use.

7. You cannot manage your pain and the discomfort prevents you from performing most activities.

8. The sensation is intense enough to interfere with fulfilling your basic needs, including eating or physical exertion.

9. You experience pain so extreme it keeps you from focusing on anything else for even a short period of time.

10. The pain is severe enough to inhibit all movement, require immediate medical attention, or cause loss of consciousness.

As you discuss pain intensity with your doctor, also use descriptive words. Does the pain feel sharp? Do you feel achey? Does the affected area throb? These descriptors can provide more of the information your doctor needs to diagnose and treat the causes of your pain.

You may experience pain at several different intensities over time. Just keep this scale in mind when you attempt to describe your pain to your doctor.

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13 November 2015