Pain Scale


The Pain Scale

Weigh your pain, weigh your options

Most people will experience joint pain at some point in their lives, but when joint pain becomes chronic (on-going) or so severe that you can’t perform the activities of daily living, you should get help.

ADL = Activities of Daily Living
Rating Pain Level
0 No Pain
1-3 Mild Pain (nagging, annoying, interfering little with ADL)
4-6 Moderate Pain (interferes significantly with ADL)
7-10 Severe Pain (disabling; unable to perform ADL)

Tips from the Arthritis Foundation

Keep a diary. Before you even set foot in the doc’s office, keep a diary for a week, suggests Tanya Edwards, MD, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine, Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. “Note when the pain is worse: morning, noon or night. Do any home treatments like ibuprofen work? How does it limit your activities? What makes the pain better or worse? Any foods? Barometric pressure?”

Number your pain. Be prepared to rate your pain from one (for a tiny pain) to 10 (for a hospital-bound pain), says Dr. Edwards.

Talk about function. “Say the ways that the pain stops you. ‘It keeps me from walking and shopping,’” says Dr. Desai. “That gives the physician something specific to work on with you.”