Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

What is the pain scale?

You've been asked this question before. Where do you rate your pain on a scale from 1-10?

Do you know what each number means? It's confusing but clarity will soon be yours.

Most medical facilities use the Stanford Pain Scale (1-10) as a reference guide.

Pain tolerance is subjective.

This is how the scale is generally explained:

Pain level:

0 – You are not experiencing any pain at all.

1 – You are having an occasional mild pain, but it doesn't have much effect on you.

2 – You have a pain that presents itself off and on, but it is pretty easy to live with.

3 – Your pain is present more frequently and is becoming rather nagging.

4 – Your pain is beginning to prevent you from certain activities at times. Good days, bad days.

5 – You are regularly not able to perform certain activities due to your pain, which is pretty much present most of the time.

6 – Your pain is affecting most all of your daily activities. It is present all the time. It is starting to significantly interfere with your life.

7 – At level 7, your pain is beginning to disable you. You have a difficult time living your life in a normal way. You frequently need assistance due to the pain you are experiencing when moving around.

8 – Your pain is significant and interfering in every aspect of your life. It is difficult to concentrate and is requiring that you lay down frequently. Your pain is debilitating, affecting your outlook, and overall wellbeing.

9 – Your pain is difficult to bear. It rules your life. It greatly fatigues you and there is no quality of life at this point.

10 – The worst pain imaginable. You are delirious from it and you cannot adequately express yourself it is so disruptive.

Many medical staffers describe the pain level a woman experiences during a normal childbirth as an 8. I completely understand if you do not agree with that!

The Stanford Pain Scale can easily transport to your Migraine Pain Scale, the plain old 1-10 pain scale or be tailored to any health condition.

When next asked to rate your pain you're all set! My advice and how I approach responding?

I want to find a solution for the pain, not create additional problems or side effects from potentially being over-medicated.

I feel it is very important to consider my pain level carefully before telling my doctor what my true pain level is.

Knowledge is power.

Shelby Ramsey is a health journalist and publisher of


Reader Comments(0)