I Hate the Pain Scale

Oh, the dreaded pain scale. I’m sure you know the one I’m speaking of. It’s pretty much the same one at every doctor’s office. “On a scale of 1-10...blah, blah, blah.” Effective for short term pain, like after surgery or perhaps a broken arm. But for chronic pain, every single one I’ve had to fill out simply makes no sense at all to me. It just lacks so much.

Why I hate the pain scale

It doesn’t convey anything about my actual well-being or what I am capable of doing, despite my pain. It doesn’t tell the doctor that I can do one activity a day. It doesn’t say that I can do three things if I rest in between. It doesn’t allow for the fact that there are some days when I can only get out of bed to pee. How does all of that equate to a single number?

5.5 or 6: Such a hard choice

Even though I really like my doctor and think she is wonderful, I don’t think she even looks at what I write. Even though I spent like 10 minutes in the waiting room, wavering between 5.5 and 6. Like it actually matters which one I circle. Like it tells my doctor anything at all about the state of my pain. It doesn’t convey if my medicine is working or not. I think maybe one time I might just refuse to do it and see if anyone really notices. I’ll let you know how that goes.

There has to be a better way

I wish I could say that I had the PERFECT way to do it. But I don’t. I have ideas, thoughts, and suggestions. But even my best ones seem to be lacking so much. I think maybe we should do something like, on the average, how many “things” can you do in a day. So like, you could do one load of laundry. Or, you could make it through one day of work, with level three pain.

What can I do today?

Because really, I feel like that’s what it always comes down to. What can I do today? How long will it take me to do it? How hard is it to do? Can I do anything at all? Maybe we would be better off is we keep a chart in a planner or something similar. Then we could take that with us instead of dealing with the dreaded pain scale. I feel like I really need to sit down and develop something better. We fight our way through so many things, why can’t we do something better for this?

Help a girl out!

I’d love your help! If you could change the traditional “pain scale” to something else...something more productive and informative for your healthcare provider...what would you include? How would you set it up? What do you think is most important for your healthcare provider to know about how you are doing? I’m starting a movement, and I’d love for you to get involved! We can change the dreaded pain scale, one doctor’s office at a time.

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