“On a scale from 1 to 10, how severe is your pain?” We have all seen it (sometimes with emoji faces), heard it, and used it. It is a very important part of pain management in a clinical setting. Most people have to think about it for a second, describing exactly how you feel using a scale is hard for most. This is common, but we must be honest and as accurate as possible.
Tracking trends and possible causes by stating medication use or activity is how health care professionals assess and develop effective treatment plans. Everyone has different pain tolerances. If someone is hypersensitive or prideful, it can be a factor in misjudging the overall scope of the problem. For example; if someone is stating that they are in extreme pain, when they are not, aggressive treatment or medication can further aggravate the issue.
Because it is such a subjective scale we must understand why it’s in place. In many settings, phases of care are dictated by the trend in pain. Passive treatments are going to be the main focus during initial treatment because pain levels are typically high from the onset. Once they start to come down due to the treatments and healing, active care is the next step because of the lower pain levels. All treatments have a plan and end goal. The only way to know where we are is by using accurate pain scales along with provider assessments. This is how we track it all from the subjective side of the patient.
Bottom line; be accurate and detailed about the pain and when you feel it (Movements/ times of day). This will help you and your provider in getting you better, faster.