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Pain numbers

I know this is a stupid question but anyway,who created pain numbers 1-10 never did understand this method of describing pain.



  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,633

    The original pain scale was created in 1981 by a pediatric nurse in a pediatric burn unit. The intent was for doctors to be able to communicate with the children to see any progress in their pain levels.

    They really haven't been many changes to that scale over the years. I agree it is not the most effective method, but it served as a standard for all theses years. Pain is subjective, so what one person points to a number 5, another person may say 9.

    I would be in favor of a simple scale.

    Doing ok
    The pain is creeping up on me
    This is ridiculous

    Another major problem with the current scale is that some people believe if they give a higher number, they will get more medication to minimize that pain. In fact some people go the other way, say they are a 2 when they are in fact a 7

    Perhaps some day they will come up with an accurate measuring scale. Sort of using a thermometer to take someone's temperature.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: [email protected].com
  • Completely agree with Ron, as a past Health care provider in my former life. I’ve never agreed with the 1-10 pain scale! Everyone is different on their tolerance! I’ve seen grown men with a broke toe say it’s a 10 and I’ll ask them so you’ve given birth before? And yes I’m a male lol. It gets a chuckle out of them at least. I’ve seen people with their bones sticking through their skin and they’ll say 2,! They get my respect. Like Ron mentioned, there are no tools available to measure pain! But for what it’s worth, there are observations we make out of experience to see if their number is correct! Your NOT talking on your cell phone and saying your pain is a 10 by the way or texting! I wish I had a dime for every time I’ve seen that! Lol

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  • My favorite experience with this is... I am screaming bloody murder is that a 10 because I think it could be worse.... the doctor looked at me like I'm nuts and said yes that' a 10 lol.

  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805

    Yeah, I have to agree with all of the posts above, we are all so different in our tolerance to pain. With all my history of accidents and surgical interventions I can honestly say I've only experienced a 10 twice in my life, one being an industrial injury I sustained when a lifting device failed and dropped a 400 plus pound earthmover radiator on my hand breaking it in half and folding it back so my fingers touched the back of my arm. And it took 15 to 20 minutes before it actually hurt! So with that memory stowed in the mental archives I base other pain I incur from that level, hence I probably underestimate my pain level.

    It is funny though how sometimes the most innocent pain from a minor cut finger or stubbed toe can actually be the most intense pain and then you may have a major spine rebuild and not be all that painful. Not saying for all of course, but some.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,633

    One of the harder things to digest is reading posts here from some members that say they are at a pain level 9 or 10 every day and every minute, BUT yet they stay on here making post after post and responding.

    That makes zero sense and almost a mockery on the pain scale.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: [email protected]
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  • For what it's worth

    Pain numbers are now irrelevant to me. It's constant so I don't have any idea what a 1 or 2 is. I go by the pictures.

    What was a 9 or 10 eight years ago,and in the ER is now a 6 or 7, otherwise normal

    For me a 10 is can't even speak. 9 is hyperventilating and sky high BP. All other numbers are useless.

  • ArizonaAArizona ArizonaPosts: 69

    It is stupid. They just want a number to write down to try to impersonally categorize you. One person might say 1 another 10. I never know how to answer that and I always tell them that. "It hurts bad, OK? ". There's horrible screaming pain in this world. That's a 10.

    Another stupid thing I know about, now that I have to deal with doctors, is they always call you by just your first name in the waiting room. So if there's four Joes they all stand up. They told me it's a HIPPA regulation.

  • I got my new "10" when I started hallucinating my dead grandmother (an army nurse) while brainlessly screaming. If grandma doesn't appear, no matter how much I think it hurts, it's just a nine.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,633

    Some guidelines by Nurses, Doctors and Hospital staff

    1 - 3 Basically very little impact. Advil, Tylenol probably the only thing needed

    4 - 5 The patient is becoming uncomfortable and some sort of medication may be in order

    6 - 7 This is getting more serious, need to consider appropriate correction actions

    8 Almost out of hand, time for patients to get ready for the ER, make the phone call to get you there

    9 Mind begins not be appropriate, almost impossible to make your own decisions, you start to need help doing everything

    10 You should be in a hospital bed by now.

    The biggest problem is for patients to accurately communicate their pain levels. So much is placed on this scale and conception is that
    the higher number you give, the more attention you will get and higher dosages of pain medications.

    Then we have the fact that pain is subjective. We have all heard what is one persons 3 could be another's 9. Very true. That is what makes it more difficult for the medical field to react accordingly. If they just went on the numbers the patient had and not do a clinical examination assessment, the patient may be mistreated.

    There are a number of physical signs that doctors can pick up on that help to determine a range of the amount of pain a patient is in.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: [email protected]
  • As a 30 year Paramedic/ RN with 14 years ER experience, 17 years street experience in my prior life, there are multiple things that are taken into consideration prior to ANY medication being given. #1 is this a trauma or medical case? Is this a acute pain or chronic pain? Is this patient well known to staff? What type of pain and where it’s located, what type of test and procedures will be warranted for the complaint? Drs do not want to “ mask “ pain especially when it’s a new undiagnosed pain because it can hamper a proper diagnosis. Yes ER staff does and will communicate with other nearby ERs to see if that patient has been there recently ( ERs will deny this) ( yes ER jumping is quite common) NO DR or MEDICAL PERSONNEL will let a patients suffer needlessly! That I can guarantee you! If you call 911, yes a ALS unit carries narcotics as well! No they will normally not give you any unless you have a bone sticking out of your body, or extremely burnt which then you WILL get some Narcotics! Abdominal pain you will not usually get any due to the above reason depending on the EMS agencies SOP. And for what it’s worth, going into the ER screaming like a mad person will normally get you the exam room furthest away from the nurses station! The ones that worry us the most are the ones that are COMPLETELY quiet when they SHOULD be screaming! Those are normally the most critical patients! But the majority of all patients will be treated with the upmost respect. But like your PM, if the first thing you say is “ Dilauded” is the only thing that works” Do not be expected to be taken as critical! Yes, the 1-10 scale is still being used in the adult setting, where the smiley face going to a frown is now widely used in a pediatric setting. BUT..observations made by experienced personnel can normally tell! When you say your pain is a 10 but yet texting, taking selfies, getting out of bed without difficulty, and yes looking at tied shoes are clues! Ever tie your shoes with a 10 pain? Medical professionals are experienced and will help anyone and everyone but be honest!

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