Quantifying Pain

Wren has a post up, aptly titled Pain Scale Purgatory, responding to RA Warrior’s blog carnival (for which neither of us wrote a post).

Nobody likes having to guess what the 1-10 pain scale means.  What it means to one person isn’t necessarily what it means to anyone else, and people rarely ask for your frame of reference.  What if, since we’re already carrying around our meds list (you are  carrying your meds list, aren’t you?), we also carry around our own pain scale?  Here is my contribution:


  • 1-2 is tolerable
  • 3-4 I’ll think about taking a tylenol
  • 5-6 I’ll definitely take a tylenol, and maybe some ibuprofen, too
  • 7-8 there is definitely something wrong and I’m finding someone to drive me to the doctor
  • 9-10 someone is dialing 911

Wishing you many days of only mild pain.

The original faces pain scale was developed by Donna Wong and Connie Baker to help children communicate their pain level.  I have seen multiple variations throughout the internet and hadn’t realized that the Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale has a copyright.  I’ve completely redrawn mine, and hope it’s not considered a copyright infringement.