Ten is supposed to be the worst pain ever!
Sometime in the last few years, there appeared a new “vital sign”. It’s called the pain scale. We can’t measure this one with a thermometer or a sphygmomanometer. This one is much more subjective. In other words, we ask you to grade it yourself. You will get asked “on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain you can imagine, how much pain are you having now?” At least that’s the plan.
I love to have people sitting quietly across my desk saying “8” or “9”. Remember “10” is supposed to be the worst pain ever. Like if you just got run over a truck, or stabbed 50 times, or…. You get the idea. My doctor friends who have had kidney stones give them an “8”.
If you are fully conscious and well aware of your environment, it’s not a ten. If you’re not crying or screaming, it’s not a nine. If you can still breathe calmly, answer questions and remember your birthday and social security number, it’s not even an 8.
Remember that the top number is 10. Anyone that has a number greater than ten has obviously not listened to the question. We hear “11” or “12” fairly frequently. We also hear “20” and “30”, and occasionally “100”. You don’t get any more credit for numbers over ten. Really. Except that the medical people taking care of you think you are stupid.
You won’t get seen faster in the emergency room or the doctor’s office. You won’t get any more pain medication. In fact, you will probably get less pain medication, or none at all. Those of us that do this for a living think that you are looking for pain medication, not really in pain if you say your pain is a “15”, but you can’t stop texting or talking on your phone. Really.