Pain Scale Levels

Pain is a universal sensation that affects people of all ages, genders and ethnicities. While some types of pain are emotional, such as humiliation, others are physical. Within these distinctions, pain can be even more varied. Some of the various types of pain people can experience include:

  • Burning
  • Dull aches
  • Sharpness
  • Stinging
  • Tingling.

In addition to the type of pain that you feel, your doctor may also want to know the level of pain that you are experiencing. Following is a common scale that medical professionals and patients use in the diagnosis of pain:

Level of Pain Description
0-1 No pain
2-3 Slight pain
4-5 Uncomfortable to fair pain
6-7 Distressing to harsh pain
8-9 Strong to very serious pain
10 Intolerable pain

The type of pain you feel, as well as the length of time you experience the pain, depends on the area of the body you injure, as well as the degree to which you injure it. For instance, while a paper cut on your finger will cause immediate sharp and stinging pain that quickly subsides, carpal tunnel syndrome in your wrists causes persistent dull and achy pain that can last anywhere from a few days to months on end.

As a result, treatments for pain and methods of pain management vary widely based on the type of pain you feel. For the most minor cases of pain, you may take an aspirin, apply an analgesic cream to the affected area or just put up with the pain until it subsides. In more severe cases of pain, people may take prescription pain medication, get acupuncture or even undergo surgery.

In this section, we will discuss the various types of pain. Our articles will highlight the causes and symptoms of different levels of pain, including information on associated treatments and prevention techniques that will help you effectively overcome pain.

Chronic Pain

While chronic pain traditionally refers to any type of pain that persists for at least six months, in recent decades, doctors classify chronic pain as any type of pain that lasts longer than the normal period of natural healing. When diagnosing chronic pain, doctors not only ask patients the type of pain they feel and how long they have experienced it, but they also factor in how the patient’s mind impacts the interpretation and perception of his or her own pain.

For example, those who suffer from chronic pain are disposed to developing depression as their pain affects their mobility and hinders them from enjoying daily activities. As a result, patients with both chronic pain and depression are likely to heal more slowly from their pain due to the fact that depression can have detrimental physiological effects on the body.

Chronic pain can arise from the presence of a disease, from an injury or from normal wear and tear on the body that takes a physical toll on the body as you age. While some types of chronic pain can be effectively treated so that the patient no longer suffers, other cases are lifelong conditions that can only be managed to reduce the affects of the chronic pain. Whether or not your condition is treatable or merely manageable depends on the source of your chronic pain.

Acute Pain

Acute pain is a type of pain that occurs immediately, tends to be sharp and intense and persists a relatively short period of time. Typically, acute pain subsides quickly because the source of the pain is ephemeral.

For example, getting a paper cut will cause acute pain that subsides within about 30 seconds of the initial injury. Taking aspirin, using an analgesic cream or just bearing through the pain are general ways in which people treat acute pain.

Resources

Harich, J. (2002). The comparative pain scale. Retrieved March 30, 2010, from the TIPNA Web site: http://www.tipna.org/info/documents/ComparativePainScale.htm.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Staff. (2007). Chronic pain information page. Retrieved September 14, 2007, from the National Institutes of Health Web site: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chronic_pain/chronic_pain.htm.

Spine-Health.com Staff. (n.d.). Types of back pain: Acute pain, chronic pain and neuropathic pain. Retrieved September 14, 2007, from the Spine Health Web site: http://www.spine-health.com/topics/cd/chronic_pain/chronicpain02.html.