One of my fave bloggers has just posted an amazing post!
If you, or someone you know, has a pain condition…. you just *have* to see her templates and reasoning for creating your own personal pain scale.
We all know that pain is subjective – we each experience pain but we can only rate it by what we have experienced. When asked to rate our pain at a score out of 10 the response as meaningless as the concept of “how long is a piece of string?”. Answer: the string is as long as the string is long.
Or maybe: the string is twice half it’s length! 😉
On a scale of 1-10… how much pain are we in?
– What’s the scale they’re imagining it to be?
– How close to their understanding of the scale is my own understanding of it?
– If I explain what my understanding is when I score my pain, will they note it down? Or just note down an arbitrary number that means different pain levels depending on whose reading my notes?
– Would they ever understand that a 10 on the pain scale for a CRPS patient is basically “magic me out of existence because I wish I didn’t exist”?
– If I pointed that out would they just assume I’m depressed or something?!
I’ve talked before about how I used the standard 10 point pain scale to create something that I could use for non-pain symptoms as well as part of a previous post: What I take with me to my doctors appointments. (There’s also other info’ on stuff to take to your doctor, so have a look if you think it could be helpful to you, x) It’s always been more than a niggle to me as the standard pain scale is just so arbitrary – there is no general consensus for what the pain numbers mean. They quite simply mean something different to each of us (and even then our meaning may change over time). All it does is provide a before and after reference for physio’ teams to see if they’ve ‘improved’ our pain levels before discharging us from their care. (It doesn’t take into account any changes in our understanding of what the pain scale might mean during our experience of talking to the physio’ during the course of treatment, either).
So. Yeah. The pain scale sucks.
It’s arbitrary and pointless.
Especially when the pains that are being experienced by the patient are off any scale that the medical practitioner has ever experienced themselves. They’re just not in a position to comprehend that an 8/10 for a CRPSer is ‘nearly screaming’.
So – we need to remedy this.
If you’re going to discuss a pain condition with a doctor, remember that they’ll comprehend your experience better if you can use a scale that ties in with what it’s limiting effects are on you. And not just the physical effects, either. Pain disrupts all sorts of processes, not least our ability to comprehend and understand.
Below is the link to the brilliant post that can help you to do this. It goes into more detail on how to do so, with examples of the blogger’s own CRPS pain scales that she’s created over the years to help her doctors to understand. Notice that it’s okay to create a new one when the old one just doesn’t apply any more. And the different examples also function as templates that you can choose from to create your own scale. This wonderful lady (with a nursing background – she knows what she’s talking about 😉 ) has noted at the end of her post that these are available to use, to share, to help. 😀
And if you think you might end up looking for this link on my blog sometime in the future when your are more able to spend the brain-time, then you can also just go straight to the tab on the homepage for Useful Links as I’ve added the link to the blog article there and noted it as ***Highly recommended***.
Here’s the link: Pain rating scales that describe reality