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Take Me Off the Pain Measuring Scale

Everywhere I go, there is a measuring scale to measure our pain level, beliefs, and everyday life experiences with psoriatic arthritis. I get surveys via mail asking me to measure my opinions using a 0-10 scale. It is always 0 being the least and 10 being the most.

When I go to my doctor appointments, I usually stare at a chart that attemps to define my pain level. One day, leaving the doctor’s office, I was totally frustrated. I knew that 10 was not even close to my pain that day. Every joint in my body hurt along with the aches, pain, and swelling.

Is there a pain tolerance?

I began to think that there had to be a pain tolerance and pain threshold. How can you describe how much pain a person can handle? To me pain tolerance is how much pain I can handle and still function without taking medication. But on the other hand I can have a pain threshold, such as sticking myself with a needle. My body starts to feel pain, but for some people this would be torture, for me it’s nothing.

My pain was a 15 on the pain scale

On one particular day, my psoriatic arthritis was probably to be measured at 15. All I could do was to shake my head. The reason I say that is because on a real my pain is literally where it can’t be measured. It is just aches and more aches. How do we measure a pain day of 15 on a measuring scale of 1-10?

The question that I have is who made the pain scale? Did they suffer from chronic pain? I couldn’t say, but to me this is a scale for the average pain measurement. If I have a 15 pain day, I just tell my doctor that I’m not on the chart today.

The measuring charts don’t frustrate me that much. I know that they are trying to gauge a person’s pain and I know we all have different pain levels. They just don’t measure up for me.

This is just my opinion. Some of us have a very high pain tolerance. We experience pain constantly, so we learn to do most things without pain medication, or even with pain medication in spite of the pain. I have gotten used to being in pain. I don’t hurt less, but I can do things that people with lower tolerance couldn’t do in a million years.

Knowing your pain number

We need to know our numbers. It could be a 15 to 20 day. It would probably be very difficult for people to understand. It would allow people to access their pain on the level they feel it is. Take me off your 0-10 scale and let me measure my symptoms and pain. Sometimes I think to myself, “Has there ever been a 0 day for me since my diagnosis of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis?” No, there hasn’t been.

I found out many don’t understand the pain that comes with having this disease, and it’s an autoimmune disease. This is when the pain scales sometimes misses the mark. It’s an individual scale to basically show from low to high, better to worse, severe or not so severe.

It’s frustrating when doctors and loved ones brush off my pain. Often they think that just because I hurt frequently, I have a low pain tolerance, but in actuality, I have a very high pain tolerance. I’m just in a lot of pain.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Mr Benn
    9 months ago

    I know your frustration with pain. I have had it for so long now all I know is pain! But, to answer your question about the 1-10 scale is to keep it in perspective. If 10 is the point where your near death, then 15 does not equate. 15 is making it bad for everyone who is being in perspective and answering the question to the best of their ability. Mine is normally 6 then when serious can be 8. A 9 occurs I need to go to hospital for morphine. A 10 would be death bed scenario.

    All the Dr needs is for everyone to be in perspective about this. If not the patient is then seen as someone who is a difficult patient and then generally gets ignored. Let’s be honest here, Doctors have no understanding or compassion to people with chronic pain simply because they know literally zero about chronic pain problems. They all just stick their head in the sand and just want you to go away as they have no idea what ails. The patients only option is to be clear as to what ails. If the patient exaggerates then they may as well go home slide into bed and wait for it to all pass. Not a great option at all, but I’ve been doing just that for the last 25 years. I’ve never met a Doctor yet who can sympathise with pain.

    One last thing PsA pain is nasty but is only a small portion of the pain others suffer with. Please keep it in perspective!

  • Diane T author
    9 months ago

    Thank you so much Mr. Benn for taking the time to write me back. I really appreciate it and understand very well what you are saying. I just turned 60 and I can remember the first time I experience what pain is. I was 5 years old. My whole body was cracking and bleeding so bad that it hurt me to walk. I had wanted to go outside to play with the other kids. I tried to hold onto the side of the house to get around a corner, just to sit and watch. My father came and picked me up and just held me. I could see the tears in his eyes. That day my pain was a 15. Nobody understands the physical and mental pain I have had to endure over my life. I could write a book on it. You are so right when you say the doctors don’t understand, I’m with you on that one. I have develop psoriatic arthritis in my spine. There are days, I can’t get out of bed. My husband has had to carry me into a doctors office. I’m not knocking at deaths door, but it sure feels like it. Doctors aren’t sympathetic towards our pain, they want us to go away. My father is now 84 years old now and has had 2 types if cancers in his life. He told me one day that he didn’t think he could handle the pain that I have had to endure over my life. I try to keep it all in perspective and enjoy my life to the fullest!! Thank you again.

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