Comparative Pain Scale

When you go to the doctor or to a social security disability hearing, your credibility will be assessed.  If you constantly talk about your pain in a way that does not match up with your symptoms or the experiences of the doctor or judge, they will not believe you with regards to your pain, and they may well not believe any part of your description about your health or disability.  You should review the standard pain scale to be able to be more effective at communicating your true situation.

Comparative Pain Scale

0 – No pain. Feeling perfectly normal.

Minor

Does not interfere with most activities.  Able to adapt to pain psychologically and with medication or devices such as cushions.

1 – Very Mild

Very light barely noticeable pain, like a mosquito bite or a poison ivy itch. Most of the time you never think about the pain.

2 – Discomforting

Minor pain, like lightly pinching the fold of skin between the thumb and first finger with the other hand, using the fingernails.

3 – Tolerable

Very noticeable pain, like an accidental cut, a blow to the nose causing a bloody nose, or a doctor giving you an injection. The pain is not so strong that you cannot get used to it. Eventually, most of the time you don’t notice the pain. You have adapted to it.

Moderate

Interferes with many activities. Requires lifestyle changes but patient remains independent. Unable to adapt to pain.

4 – Distressing

Strong, deep pain, like an average toothache, the initial pain from a bee sting, or minor trauma to part of the body, such as stubbing your toe real hard. So strong you notice the pain all the time and cannot completely adapt. This pain level can be simulated by pinching the fold of skin between the thumb and first finger with the other hand, using the fingernails, and squeezing real hard. Note how the simulated pain is initially piercing but becomes dull after that.

5 – Very Distressing

Strong, deep, piercing pain, such as a sprained ankle when you stand on it wrong or mild back pain. Not only do you notice the pain all the time, you are now so preoccupied with managing it that you normal lifestyle is curtailed. Temporary personality disorders are frequent.

6 – Intense

Strong, deep, piercing pain so strong it seems to partially dominate your senses, causing you to think somewhat unclearly. At this point you begin to have trouble holding a job or maintaining normal social relationships. Comparable to a bad non-migraine headache combined with several bee stings, or a bad back pain.

Severe

Unable to engage in normal activities. Patient is disabled and unable to function independently.

7 – Very Intense

Same as 6 except the pain completely dominates your senses, causing you to think unclearly about half the time. At this point you are effectively disabled and frequently cannot live alone. Comparable to an average migraine headache.

8 – Utterly Horrible

Pain so intense you can no longer think clearly at all, and have often undergone severe personality change if the pain has been present for a long time. Suicide is frequently contemplated and sometimes tried. Comparable to childbirth or a real bad migraine headache.

9 – Excruciating Unbearable

Pain so intense you cannot tolerate it and demand pain killers or surgery, no matter what the side effects or risk. If this doesn’t work, suicide is frequent since there is no more joy in life whatsoever. Comparable to throat cancer.

10 – Unimaginable Unspeakable

Pain so intense you will go unconscious shortly. Most people have never experienced this level of pain. Those who have suffered a severe accident, such as a crushed hand, and lost consciousness as a result of the pain and not blood loss, have experienced level 10.