Pain Levels

I talked about this issue a cou­ple of years ago, but it was in a locked post. I’m repeat­ing myself in some ways, but this time it’s public.

I try not to whine TOO much. I hate whining.

Pain is a major part of my life, though. My coher­ence is very much affect­ed by the lev­els of pain I’m expe­ri­enc­ing each day. 

Since fibromyal­gia and my oth­er diag­noses are invis­i­ble dis­abil­i­ties, nobody knows what’s hap­pen­ing unless I tell them. If I could, I’d just put in anoth­er option­al field for posts, “pain lev­el.” It would, at least, be help­ful to my fam­i­ly here at the Cas­tle. Then again, maybe that would just annoy people.

This pain scale, designed to help peo­ple with fibromyal­gia com­mu­ni­cate with their doc­tors, has been extreme­ly help­ful for me.

I’m quot­ing the whole thing here because the author’s site has been beyond flaky at times.

Very Impor­tant: This is the pain lev­el that is expe­ri­enced AFTER tak­ing the dai­ly med­ica­tion pre­scribed by your doc­tor.

  • 0‑Pain free
  • 1‑Very minor annoy­ance ‑mild aches to some parts of the body. No pain med­ica­tion needed.
  • 2‑Minor annoy­ance- dull aches to some parts of the body. No pain med­ica­tion needed.
  • 3‑Annoying enough to be dis­tract­ing. Over-the-counter pain reliev­ers (such as Naprox­en Sodi­um, Aceta­minophen, or top­i­cal treat­ments such as Absor­bine or Arthri­tis Pain reliev­ing rubs) take care of it.
  • 4‑Can be ignored if you are real­ly involved in your work, but still dis­tract­ing. Over-the-Counter pain reliev­ers remove pain for 3–4 hours.
  • 5‑Can’t be ignored for more than 30 min­utes. Over-the-counter pain reliev­ers help some­what (bring pain lev­el from 5 to a 3 or 4) with pain for 3–4 hours.
  • 6‑Can’t be ignored for any length of time, but you can still go to work and par­tic­i­pate in social activ­i­ties. Stronger painkillers (such as Ultram) relieve pain for 3–4 hours.
  • 7‑Makes it dif­fi­cult to con­cen­trate, inter­feres with sleep. You can still func­tion with effort. Stronger painkillers (such as Ultram) are only par­tial­ly effec­tive. (Stronger pain killers bring pain from a 7 to 4–6.)
  • 8‑Physical activ­i­ty severe­ly lim­it­ed. You can read and con­verse with effort. Stronger pain killers (such as Ultram) are not effec­tive. (Nar­cot­ic pain killers do bring this pain down to a lev­el 3 or lower.)
  • 9‑Non func­tion­al for all prac­ti­cal pur­pos­es. Can­not con­cen­trate. Phys­i­cal activ­i­ty halt­ed. Pan­ic sets in. (Nar­cot­ic Pain killers bring the pain lev­el from 9 to the 4–6 level.)
  • 10-Total­ly non-func­tion­al. Unable to speak. Cry­ing out or moan­ing uncontrollably—near delirium.
  • I don’t remem­ber life with­out pain any­more. There was a time when my life was­n’t con­strained by it, but that might as well have been some­one else’s life.

    My real­ly good days are a 7 on that scale. Most days are an 8. Flares bring me to a 9.

    The only time I’ve tru­ly been out of con­trol due to the pain was back on Valen­tine’s Day when I had to go to the ER. I hate cry­ing, and I just can’t imag­ine cry­ing out if there’s any way to avoid doing so. That night, how­ev­er, was hell­ish. I pray NOT to get there again.

    I wor­ry about the nar­cotics. There’s a real­ly high inci­dence of alco­holism in my pater­nal and mater­nal lines. I don’t want to be an addict. Stud­ies show that peo­ple who do have severe chron­ic pain are far less like­ly to form true addic­tions to pain reliev­ers than those who don’t have those kinds of prob­lems, which gives a lit­tle comfort. 

    My choice is real­ly between being non-func­tion­al and being able to func­tion with nar­cot­ic meds AND a lot of effort (and huge amounts of sup­port from my family).

    I’m glad I can get the meds some­times, but I hate need­ing them.

    Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
    Posts created 4259

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