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The Rating Game of Pain

by Geoffrey Manifold

How do you rate your pain? This is not a game, but answering this question properly can lead to a lot less stress for you and your doctor. This question is being asked in hospitals, pain clinics, and doctor's offices across the country. Pain is considered to be the fifth vital sign. Doctors are required to treat your pain and ask in your initial assessment how great is your pain and where is your pain located. They should also ask you when your pain started and what makes it worse and what makes it better. These procedures may start to help patients in pain by believing that the doctor is taking their pain seriously. With this information, the physician can do his or her best to treat the patient which will bring great relief and release anxiety. A treatment plan is then developed which starts you on the path to pain relief in the early stages.

This now leads to rating your pain. How do you know how much pain your in? Pain is a very subjective matter. Pain is real to the patient. Pain is also invisible. Pain changes from day to day, hour to hour and even minute by minute. The weather might affect you, so can stress and physical activity. This is the scale doctors and hospitals use to rate a patient's pain:

10..WORST...................Unbearable, worst pain possible
9...WORST....................Unable to do any activities
8...WORST....................Brings tears to your eyes
7...SEVERE PAIN...........Miserable, unable to do most activities
6...SEVERE PAIN...........Hurts a whole lot
5...MODERATE PAIN......Nagging, uncomfortable
4...MODERATE PAIN......Can do most activities
3...MODERATE PAIN......Need rest periods
2...MILD PAIN...............Hurts a little bit, annoying
1...MILD PAIN...............Pain is present but does not limit activities
0...NO PAIN

This chart should give you a better idea of how to rate your pain. It will put you on the same thought process as your doctor. Have examples to give your doctor of how you are affected to better help him/her understand how the pain affects you and others in your life. When you and your doctor or treatment center are thinking along the same lines, it is much easier to form a plan for treatment. It also takes away the stress of misunderstandings between you and whoever is treating you. Good Luck! I hope this helps a little bit.

Pain Connection would like to receive comments on how this rating system has helped or hindered your treatment.


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