What's Your Pain Level?

Dear purple butterflies,

It is a given while you’re in the waiting room to see a doctor, part of the experience is filling out paperwork. For those patients who’ve ever been to a pain management doctor, you are required to fill out an extra form. Generally, the questions are asking about your current pain level. Over the past couple of months, the effects of my medication have been wearing off.

I was very hopeful my latest back injection could get me through the rest of this year. To my disappointment, it has not been as effective as the ones I’ve received in the past. In my Fibro directory group, occasionally we share how we’re feeling by referencing a pain level chart. The chart is straight forward happy face for little pain, to a sad face equaling the worst pain ever. It was actually the last time I answered this question that influenced to write this blog.

Until my research lead me toPain Scales: From Faces to Numbers and Everywhere In Between,I was unaware there were multiple types of calibrations. It is so refreshing when I see physicians acknowledging chronic pain and that Fibromyalgia does indeed exist.

In Medscape’s article “Talk About Pain,” R. Morgan Griffin states, “One of the hardest things about chronic pain is that only you know how bad the pain feels. There's no blood test that can show much you're suffering. There's often no outward sign, like a bandage or a cast. There's just the pain." 'Pain is always personal,' says F. Michael Ferrante, MD, director of the UCLA Pain Management Center in Los Angeles. 'It's invisible to other people looking at you -- and that can lead to a lot mistrust and difficulties in relationships.'"

Digging a little deeper into the subject matter, I came across A New Approach to the 0 to the 10 Pain Scale ,that is intended for medical professionals. Did you know that the pain scale we are familiar with has been around for quite a while?

The 0 to 10 pain scale originally appeared after World War II, not as a patient assessment tool, but as a research survey method. The 0 to 10 pain scale has since emerged as the required tool in pain assessment and documentation in all areas of healthcare. But how the pain scale is used can make a world of difference in the patient’s experience of pain relief, comfort and healing.

More often than not, I am in so much discomfort I find these scales to not be very beneficial. How do you feel about pain scales? Do you feel they are a fair assessment? Would you prefer a wider range of numbers? If the answer is yes, how would you describe your current pain level? Let me know in the comments below of your thoughts!

As always, please continue to stay safe purple butterflies!

Till next time! Be well!

~ Rachel

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