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Understanding the Pain Scale

understanding the pain scale

How well do you know the pain scale? When working with doctors, it’s important to understand how they define and discuss the appearance of pain in the body. This is an important part of seeing a medical health professional and should be viewed as essential to the future of your health.  If this is news to you, then you will find this post helpful.

What Is the Pain Scale?

The pain scale was created to feed information about your pain to a doctor. This allows doctors to make important judgment calls about your treatments, and it is especially important when they are thinking of prescribing medication.

Medication that isn’t evenly matched to your symptoms can be dangerous, so accuracy is important.

The pain scale is generally a range between 0 and 10, with 0 being the lowest amount of pain, and 10 being the highest.

Pain Scale Breakdown

0 – Pain-free – no symptoms
1 – Barely Noticed – mild aches
2 – Somewhat Noticeable – aches in various parts the body
3 – Distracting – hard to concentrate on tasks due to pain
4 – Very Distracting –need over-the-counter pain relief
5 – Hard to ignore – over-the-counter pain relievers barely work
6 – Pain is constant – stronger medication is needed
7 – Constant Pain – keeps you from being fully engaged
8 – Intense Pain – activity takes effort; prescription medication isn’t effective
9 – Severe Pain – prescription medication works marginally; narcotics bring pain to a 5
10 – Pain is intolerable – speech is impossible; can’t perform any tasks; medication not helpful; passing out

Take It Seriously

You don’t want to seem too bubbly if you are in serious pain. You want the doctor to take you seriously so that you can get the help you need.

If you fool around or exaggerate answers, a doctor might become suspicious that you have come to them hoping just to get pain medication. Be sure you let the doctor know how serious your pain level is.

Keep a Journal or Tracker

Keeping a journal or tracker of the pain that you experience may help to isolate the things that aggravate the pain. You will also have a visual record of how severe your pain has been in the past.

By keeping track of symptoms, you can gain a greater understanding of the foods and events that might be triggers for your pain. The more details you include, the easier it will be to isolate and eliminate possible causes.

We have created a pain tracker to help you. It includes spaces for date, time, duration, area of pain, score from 0-10, cause, medication, and any additional comments.

pain tracker



You may also be interested in these other posts:

Stress-Related Pain: What is it? and What do you do for it?

How to Sleep With Chronic Pain

How to Cope with Fibromyalgia Pain


understanding the pain scale

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them. Every possible effort has been made in preparing and researching this material. We make no warranties concerning the accuracy, applicability of its contents, or any omissions.

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