/ Ways to Measure Your Pain
Ways to Measure Your Pain

  • You need to use a system that will help your provider know how you feel about your pain and how it affects you
  • Tells your provider what your pain is like (sharp, feels like pins and needles)
  • Lets the provider know how often it occurs during the day and if any activity caused it (like cleaning salmon which is very hard work
  • Helps your provider know what you think is an okay level of pain relief (although my arm and chest area are throbbing, I can work through it)
  • Lets your provider know how well the pain relief measures you are using are working (I feel better within fifteen minutes of taking the medication)

Ways to measure your pain

  • Keep a pain journal (can be part of a journal of other symptoms)
  • Use a pain rating scale numbers, words, pictures
  • Use the same method/scale to rate your pain so you can tell your provider how the pain is over time

Pain journals

  • Daily pain summary
    • Pain level today
    • Limit to activities
    • Amount of medicine taken
    • Pain relief
    • Use of non-drug therapies
    • Side effects
    • Overall satisfaction with pain relief

Would you like to see an example of a Personal pain journal?

Pain intensity rating scales

  • This helps your provider understand how pain impacts your daily life and your ability to do your daily activities.
  • It also helps your provider evaluate the different treatments you are using.
  • They may ask you to rate your pain in several ways.
  • In many places (hospitals, clinics, or doctors offices) they may ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 0 10.
  • What this means is to think about the pain /discomfort/hurt you are experiencing and pick a number that best describes it:
    • The numbers from 1-3 may mean that pain is mild but it is not interfering with your ability to do your daily activities,
    • The numbers from 4-6 mean that the pain/discomfort/hurt is more noticeable and that it does affect your ability to do your daily activities and you have changed your daily routine because of this,
    • The numbers 7-10 means you are having a lot of pain that causes you not to be able to do most of your daily activity and is very intense.

Types of pain intensity rating scales

    It takes a while to learn how to use a pain scale. It might be best to try a few different ones to see which is easiest for you to use. The one you choose also should be the best for letting your provider know how much pain you are having.

  • Category Scale
    None (0)Mild (1-4) Moderate (5-6) Severe (7-10)
  • Pain Faces Scales
  • 0
    No hurt
    Hurts just a little bit
    Hurts a little bit more
    Hurts even more
    Hurts a whole lot
    Hurts as much as you can imagine

  • Numerical Rating Scale
  • 0 10

  • Verbal Descriptor Scale
  • This scale relies on you using words like those in the arrow above

  • Brief Pain Inventory
  • Shade areas of worst pain

    Put an X on area that hurts most

top of page