Since everyone feels pain differently it is hard to always know if someone is in mild, medium, or severe pain. As a caregiver, you want to make sure you are not hurting your aging loved one, so discussing their level of pain regularly is essential. How can you do this? Use our suggested method below as a guide.
How to Use the Pain Scale
Pain management will require routine check-ins with your aging loved one. Having these discussions with frequency will help to monitor any spikes in pain. Chart the pain level each time you ask to keep track of any changes. Note this information and bring it to their doctor.
What questions should you ask?
- On a scale of 0-10 how you would you rate your pain? 0 means no pain at all and 10 is the worst pain you can imagine?
- If you are feeling any pain, describe it in a few words: Is it sharp, throbbing, aching, or burning? Is there numbness or tingling associated with the pain?
- Where is the pain located?
- How often are you experiencing your pain (daily or weekly)?
- What time of day is your pain the worst (morning, afternoon, or evening)?
- Does your pain interfere with your regular routine like sleeping, walking, or sitting?
What does the pain scale indicate?
The pain scale (from 0-10) is a guide. This is a helpful way to track and discuss how someone feels and the severity of their pain. The scale is described below, as profiled by prohealth.com:
0 – Pain-free!
1 – Pain is very mild, barely noticeable.
2 – Minor pain. Somewhat annoying but manageable.
3 – Pain is noticeable and distracting, however, you can get used to it and adapt.
4 – Moderate pain. If active, the pain is distracting but can be ignored for a while.
5 – Moderately strong pain. You can manage it but you cannot ignore it.
6 – Moderately strong pain that interferes with normal daily activities. Difficulty concentrating.
7 – Severe pain. Significantly limits your ability to perform normal daily activities.
8 – Intense pain. Physical activity is severely limited.
9 – Excruciating pain. Physically noticeable and difficult speaking as a result.
10 – Unspeakable pain. Bedridden and possibly delirious.
Use this pain scale guide to help you and your loved one speak the same language. Remember to track their pain levels regularly. If there is any level of pain that you feel is alarming or described in a way that doesn’t seem right – contact a doctor right away.