Why the Pain Scale Doesn't do Our Pain Justice

Everyone has been asked to rate their pain on a scale from 1-10 whether you have chronic pain, or you just fell. When you are asked the first time you basically know what number to choose, but really it is all subjective.

When you are continually sick and seeing doctors, going to therapy and are constantly being asked to rate your pain, the numbers tend to all blur together. It’s hard to know the difference between a 4 and 5, or a 2 and 3. We can tell the difference between 1, 5 and 10, but can forget everything In between.

There have been times where my body was on fire to the point it felt like I was at a 10, but because of how subjective it can be, Doctors would tell me that it wasn’t possible. It becomes frustrating when you are in agony but are told it’s not that bad. Nobody knows what our bodies go through. There have been days I could barely move because of the pain, or I ended up in the hospital because of horrid spasms.

 
Image Credit: © Kelsey Rein

Image Credit: ©Kelsey Rein

 

We need to change the system and make it more beneficial for us as patients. It could be helpful if there was a universal way to determine how you are feeling. I along with many others are at the point of cringing when I see the scale. There is so much more that we can do to convey how we are feeling, like talking about the type of pains we feel or using other descriptive words.

I often use other more known pain descriptors like feeling like I have the mix of the flu and being hit by mac truck. People know what the flu feels like and it can be easier for them to understand than saying I am at an 8. I sometimes use the term burning because it literally feels like my whole body is on fire from the inside out. It can be tough no matter what we do or say, because nothing is the same.

Maybe it’s just me, or maybe others feel the way I do, but either way, something needs to done to really help us feel heard.