I had discussed before how difficult it is often for me to give my pain a score. So my physical therapist enlightened me with a relatively simple pain scale that is easy to follow.
Since then, I have found another on a pain diary app (that looks great but unfortunately doesn’t work), made by Andrew Brooks for Windows Phone, last updated in 2011. Since the app is free to download, I didn’t see an issue with sharing the attached pain scale here, which is more extensive than the one I described before.
0 = no pain
1 = pain is very mild, barely noticeable; most of the time you don’t think about it
Definitely a good day when I can say I am at an “1” with this scale. Parts of my body may be at “0” but most of it almost never is anymore.
2 = minor pain; annoying and may have occasional stronger twinges
3 = pain is noticeable and distracting, however you can get used to it and adapt
The “2-3” range is probably my new normal on my current medication regime, according to this scale, which is more or less consistent with the last one.
4 = moderate pain; if you are deeply involved in an activity, it can be ignored for a period of time but it is still distracting
5 = moderately strong pain; it can’t be ignored for more than a few minutes, but with effort you can still manage to work or participate in some social activities
Sort of a sub-normal for me when I am at “4-5” on this scale, but not quite flare-level.
6 = moderately strong pain that interferes with normal daily activities; difficulty concentrating
7 = severe pain that dominates your senses and significantly limits your ability to perform normal daily activities or maintain social relationships; interferes with sleep
The trigger points in my midsection have been acting up recently, starting to throb ridiculously and shooting nasty pains in all directions. I would say that experience falls under a “6-7” on this scale. I would call this flare-level pain. The cumulative effect of the flare tends to rise the longer it lasts.
8 = intense pain; physical activity is severely limited, conversing requires great effort
I think I only hit “level 8” periodically and in waves, like when the throbbing pain wave has me in its grip. I am lucky to have not experienced this level of pain constantly for extended periods of time – largely thanks to emergency pain medication!
9 = excruciating pain; unable to converse, crying out and/or moaning uncontrollably
10 = unspeakable pain; bedridden and possibly delirious, very few people will ever experience this type of pain.
The last two levels sound like the pain you would feel if you were shot in the trenches or had to have surgery without anesthesia. Thankfully, I have experienced neither. I have been at a point when I am crying or moaning out of pain, but I feel like I could have pulled myself together to save face if I really needed to. And I have never been delirious with pain, thank goodness. Apparently, even the developer of the pain scales seems to acknowledge that few people will ever reach “level 10.”
While I kind of like that this pain scale is more extensive and covers more ground than the last one I posted, I also feel that it is almost too extensive. On a daily basis, I doubt I would remember what each level means as easily as I would with the other, simpler scale. Still, I thought I would put it out there to keep a record of it in case I ever need it in the future, or if it can help someone else!