My face is having uncontrollable spasms. Great. It hurts really, really, really bad.
I think part of why I have trouble explaining pain to the doctor is when they ask about the pain scale I always think “Well, if someone threw me down a flight of stairs right now or punched me a few times, it would definitely hurt a lot more” so I end up saying a low number. I was reading an article that said that “10” is the most commonly reported number and that is baffling to me. When I woke up from surgery with an 8" incision in my body and I could hardly even speak, I was in the most horrific pain of my life but I said “6” because I thought “Well, if you hit me in the stomach, it would be worse.”
I searched and searched for the post this graphic was from, and the OP deactivated, but I kept the graphic, because my BFF does the same thing, uses her imagination to come up with the worst pain she can imagine and pegs her “10″ there, and so is like, well, I’m conscious, so this must be a 5, and then the doctors don’t take her seriously. (And she then does things like driving herself to the hospital while in the process of giving birth. Probably should have called an ambulance for that one!)
So I found this and sent it to her. Because this is what they want to know: how badly is this pain affecting you? Not on a scale of “nothing” to “how I’d imagine it’d feel if bears were eating my still-living guts while I was on fire”.
I hate reposting stuff, but I’ll never find that post again and OP is deactivated, so, here’s a repost. I can delete this later, i just wanted to get it to you and I can’t embed images in a chat or an ask.
This is possibly why it took several weeks to diagnose my fractured spine.
Pain Scale transcription:
10 – I am in bed and I can’t move due to my pain. I need someone to take me to the emergency room because of my pain.
9 – My pain is all that I can think about. I can barely move or talk because of my pain.
8 – My pain is so severe that it is difficult to think of anything else. Talking and listening are difficult.
7 – I am in pain all the time. It keeps me from doing most activities.
6 – I think about my pain all of the time. I give up many activities because of my pain.
5 – I think about my pain most of the time. I cannot do some of the activities I need to do each day because of the pain.
4 – I am constantly aware of my pain but can continue most activities.
3 – My pain bothers me but I can ignore it most of the time.
2 – I have a low level of pain. I am aware of my pain only when I pay attention to it.
1 – My pain is hardly noticeable.
0 – I have no pain.
It’s also really important to get this kind of scale to people who have chronic pain, because chronic pain drastically lowers your perception of how “bad” any kind of pain actually is, and yet something like this pain scale is extremely user friendly.
For example, if someone asked me how much pain I’m in at any given time, I’d say hardly any, and yet I’m apparently at a chronic 2.5, and it only goes up from there depending on the day.
There’s also a similarly useful “Fatigue Scale”
I haven’t been below a 5 on this scale for 4 years
Here’s the fatigue scale