The Dreaded Pain Scale

One of the things about being a chronic pain patient that I find the most frustrating is being asked: ” On a scale of 1 – 10, what would you rate your pain?” You want me to what now? I *live* in chronic pain. You expect me to categorize it in a convenient little number for the electronic medical record system (EMS)?! As if chronic health conditions were that simple! HA! Another chronic illness blogger who writes I Tripped Over a Stone (check out her blog), suggested that I write a piece about the pain scale and dialogue to use when being asked to rank pain.  She thought my dialogue for working with health professionals about pain was a sound one, so I’m going to share it with you, in the hope that it may help. (Skip to the end if you only want the script) But first! We as patients have to change the way we think and approach

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30 Things, Pain Level

My pain comes from multiple sources; Interstitial Cystitis, osteoarthritis, headaches/migraines/sinuses, fibromyalgia, and sometimes IBS. I have kept a pain diary to track my symptoms and draw correlations between food, activities, weather, and the like, to my pain. Correlation does not equal causation, but it’s a place to start. Especially with diseases that are not well understood. The favored approach to asking about pain is to measure it on a scale of 1 to 10, this tool isn’t the best because it assumes the person only has a single type of pain at any given time. For those of us who suffer from multiple pain conditions, this query seems like a trick question. I’ve started focusing on each individually if I’m in for a specific thing I stick to that. A snapshot of this moment: 1 = No pain, 10 = Worst pain imaginable Right now my overall pain is 5, there are no days when I’m pain-free. Most days I’m

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