Pain Scale to Communicate the Severity

by Andrea Mankoski, ©1995,

This is the best pain scale I’ve seen to describe severity (though not necessarily quality) of pain.

Remember, whenever a doctor asks you to rate your pain from 1 – 10, ask for a pain scale so you can be sure you’re speaking the same language.

0 – Pain free – Very minor annoyance – occasional minor twinges.

2 – Minor annoyance – occasional strong twinges.

3 – Annoying enough to be distracting.

4 – Can be ignored if you are really involved in your work, but still distracting.

5 – Can’t be ignored for more than 30 minutes.

6 – Can’t be ignored for any length of time, but you can still go to work and participate in social activities.

7 – Makes it difficult to concentrate, interferes with sleep. You can still function with effort.

8 – Physical activity severely limited. You can read and converse with effort. Nausea and dizziness set in as factors of pain.

9 – Unable to speak. Crying out or moaning uncontrollably – near delirium.

10 – Unconscious. Pain makes you pass out.

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