Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pain Scales

WhiteCoat Rants has a post discussing the 1-10 scale that doctors use to gauge a patient's pain. He discusses the different ways that doctors attempt to convey level 10 pain. Personally, I've found that patients need to be proactive as well in communicating what they mean with a specific number. Chronic pain is different from acute pain and individuals experience pain differently, so patients and doctors don't need to add miscommunication to the mix when treating pain. I tend to describe pain in terms of how it affects my daily life.

0 - no pain
1 - small, ignorable pain
2 - pain noticable when aggravated
3 - pain only noticable when I'm paying attention to it
4 - noticable pain, but I forget about it when I concentrate
5 - I fight to focus through the pain, but win
6 - I fight to focus through the pain, but begin to lose
7 - pain is the major focus, but I can accomplish things with effort
8 - Accomplishing basic tasks becomes difficult (i.e., going to the bathroom)
9 - unable to perform basic tasks without major problems
10 - unable to do anything, entirely consumed by pain

Many of the commenters referred to a "10" pain as being labor/childbirth without anesthesia...I had back labor with no medication whatsoever, and it would be a real choice for me to decide whether to undergo that again or to suffer my current level of pain. Chronic and acute pains are very different.

I haven't been below a 4 in over a decade, but my goal in seeing doctors is to have 4 be my day-to-day average.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry to hear about your painful experiences. I think you're really brave putting it all out there. Anyway, I found your blog and liked it, so I've added you to my blogroll. I'm interested in reading about your financial journey, and wish you lots of success.