That Pesky Pain Scale

Karen Lee Richards Health Guide
  • I suspect every chronic pain patient has been asked to rate their pain on a scale of 0 to 10.  But if you're anything like me, you've struggled with what you should say.  If I say a 6, will the doctor think my pain is not that bad?  If I say a 10, will she think I'm exaggerating? 

    I've long wondered what the different numbers on the pain scale actually mean.  Since there's not an official description set by any medical association, I began searching for interpretations used by various individuals and groups.  

    The result is a guide to using the pain scale that includes the most commonly accepted description for each number on the scale.  To make sure this interpretation was reasonably accurate and would be understood by medical professionals, I submitted it to a highly respected pain management specialist and researcher who approved it.

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    To learn what the pain scale means and what the biggest mistake people make in using it is, read: Using the Pain Scale Effectively


    Note:  For an easy-to-read and printable verson of the pain scale, click "Print" above the article. 



Published On: October 14, 2009