Have you ever been asked during a medical assessment to describe the level of pain you are experiencing? I was recently and was asked to use a scale of 1-10, with 1 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain. (I don’t recall the actual words used to describe the worst pain. Was it the worst pain I had ever experienced? The worst pain I could imagine?)
I answered but thought the question was subjective and my answers imprecise. Experience of pain is subjective, obviously, but I wondered if there were more specific descriptions that might help me (or anyone) give more precise answers.
I checked the internet and quickly found some scales that were helpful in clarifying what levels of pain might look like. I hadn’t encountered these before and found them useful. I’m sharing them, in case anyone else might find them useful or simply interesting. I wonder if there are similar scales for measuring emotional pain?
MEDICAL PAIN SCALE 0-10
Have difficulty rating your pain levels when the physician, nurse of therapist asks? You are not alone, many people aren’t sure of the pain scale definition or how to rate their pain level scale between 1-10. The chart below provides some tangible examples of the various levels that define the 0-10 pain scale.
0 Pain free
1 Very minor annoyance – occasional minor twinges
2 Minor annoyance – occasional
3 Annoying enough to be distracting
4 Can be ignored if you are really involved in your work, but still distracting.
5 Can’t be ignored for more than 30 minutes.
6 Can’t be ignored for any length of time, but you can still go to work and participate in social activities.
7 Makes it difficult to concentrate. Interferes with sleep, you can still function with effort.
8 Physical activity severely limited. You can read and converse with effort. Nausea and dizziness may occur.
9 Unable to speak, crying out or moaning uncontrollable – pain makes you pass out.
10 Unconscious. Pain makes you pass out.
Comparative Pain Scale – Jack Harich
There are many other scales, including some using facial drawings. (A reminder that if you’re experiencing pain, it’s best to discuss it with a trained professional.)