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 live and function in pain year after year, so we learn to do everything without pain medication, or even with pain medication in spite of the pain. I have gotten used to being in pain. That doesn’t mean I hurt any less, but it makes me able to 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.
I do know that my pain threshold is low, but my pain tolerance is incredibly high, and I don’t like when doctors, family, friends, and associates brush off my pain because they think that just because I hurt frequently I have a low pain tolerance. I have a very high pain tolerance, I just have a lot of pain.