Pain Scale Chart: 1 to 10 Levels (2022)

Published: 2016-05-20 - Updated: 2022-06-12
Author: Ian Langtree | Contact: Disabled World (www.disabled-world.com)
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A

Synopsis: Pain scale diagram and chart that includes an explanation of each of the one to ten classified pain levels. One of the hardest things about chronic pain is that only YOU know just how bad your pain feels. Our pain scale diagram and chart includes an explanation of each of the pain levels that can help you better describe to others the pain you are feeling. Pain is mediated by specific nerve fibers that carry the pain impulses to the brain.

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Main Digest

Pain is defined as a feeling triggered in the nervous system. Pain may be sharp or dull. It may come and go, or it may be constant.

This article is from our digest of publications relating to Pain: Acute and Chronic that also includes:

  • Kidney's or Lower Back Pain?
  • Treating Chronic Pain with Sound and Electrical Stimulation
  • Dissolving Device Relieves Pain Without Drugs

Pain is mediated by specific nerve fibers that carry the pain impulses to the brain, where their conscious appreciation may be modified by many factors.

Pain can be helpful in diagnosing a problem. Without pain, you might seriously hurt yourself without knowing it, or you might not realize you have a medical concern that needs treatment. Once you take care of the issue, pain usually goes away. However, sometimes pain goes on for weeks, months, or even years. This is called chronic pain. Sometimes chronic pain is due to an ongoing cause, such as cancer or arthritis.

Types of Pain Include:

Psychogenic Pain

Also called psychalgia or somatoform pain is physical pain that is caused, increased, or prolonged by mental, emotional, or behavioral factors. Headache, back pain, or stomach pain are some of the most common types of psychogenic pain.

Phantom Pain

The sensation of pain from a limb or organ that has been lost or from which a person no longer receives physical signals. Phantom limb pain is an experience almost universally reported by amputees and quadriplegics. Phantom pain is a neuropathic pain.

Acute Pain

Pain that comes on quickly, can be severe, but lasts a relatively short time. Unlike chronic pain. Acute pain serves as a warning of disease or a threat to the body.

(Video) How The Pain Scale Should Be Explained

Chronic Pain

Defined as pain that persists longer than the temporal course of natural healing, associated with a particular type of injury or disease process. Chronic pain impairs the ability to direct attention, in particular when compared to peers with low intensity or no chronic pain, people with high-intensity chronic pain have significantly reduced ability to perform attention-demanding tasks.

One of the hardest things about chronic pain is that only you know how bad the pain feels. There are no tests that reveal how much you are suffering. There is often no outward signs showing how much a person is in pain.

Pain Scale

A pain scale measures a person's pain intensity, and are based on self-report, observational (behavioral), or physiological data. Various pain scales are available for neonates, infants, children, adolescents, adults, seniors, and persons whose communication is impaired. Pain assessments are typically regarded as "the 5th Vital Sign."

Universal pain screening is an increasingly common practice, largely because of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) requirement that accredited hospitals and clinics must routinely assess all patients for pain. Pain screening is intended to improve the quality of pain management by systematically identifying patients with pain in clinical settings.

Pain Scale Table

Service Personnel and Veterans may be better suited using the Defense and Veterans Pain Rating Scale DVPRS 2.0 - a pain assessment tool using a rating scale, word descriptors, color coding, pictorial facial expressions that match pain levels.

The basic pain scale chart below provides some examples of the various levels that define the 0 to 10 pain scale.

Comparative 0 to 10 Pain Scale

Pain Scale Chart: 1 to 10 Levels (1)
Printable pain scale assessment chart that can be printed and used in order for people and kids to be able to point to the current pain level they are feeling.

No Pain

Pain Scale Chart: 1 to 10 Levels (2)
No pain icon
Pain Level 0

No pain at all, you feel perfectly normal.

Minor Pain Levels
Pain Scale Chart: 1 to 10 Levels (3)
Mild pain icon

Minor pain levels generally do not interfere with most day-to-day activities. Able to adapt to pain psychologically and with medication or devices such as cushions.

Pain Level 1

(Video) "Pain Assessment" by Catherine Dowling for OPENPediatrics

Pain level one means very light, barely noticeable pain, like a mosquito bite or a poison ivy itch. Mostly, you never think about the pain.

Pain Level 2

Pain level two is discomforting minor pain, like lightly pinching the fold of skin between the thumb and first finger with the other hand, using the fingernails. People can react differently to this self-test.

Pain Level 3

Pain level three is a tolerable, but very noticeable pain, like an accidental cut, a blow to the nose causing a bloody nose, or a doctor giving you an injection. The pain is not so strong that you cannot get used to it. Eventually, you don't notice the pain, as you have adapted to it.

Moderate Pain Levels
Pain Scale Chart: 1 to 10 Levels (4)
Moderate pain icon

Moderate pain levels interfere with many daily activities. These pain levels usually require some lifestyle changes, but you can remain independent. However, you are unable to adapt to the pain.

Pain Level 4

Pain level four is a distressing strong and deep pain, like an average toothache, the initial pain from a bee sting, or minor trauma to part of the body, such as stubbing your toe really hard. So strong, you constantly notice the pain and cannot completely adapt. This pain level can be simulated by pinching the fold of skin between the thumb and first finger with the other hand, using the fingernails, and squeezing really hard. Note how the simulated pain is initially piercing, but becomes dull after that.

Pain Level 5

Pain level five is a very distressing strong, deep, piercing pain, such as a sprained ankle when you stand on it wrong or mild back pain. Not only do you frequently notice the pain, you are now so preoccupied with managing it that your normal lifestyle is curtailed. Temporary personality disorders are frequent.

Pain Level 6

Pain level six is an intense pain that is strong, deep, and piercing. The pain is so strong it seems partially to dominate your senses, causing you to think somewhat unclearly. At this point, you begin to have trouble holding a job or maintaining normal social relationships. Comparable to a bad non-migraine headache combined with several bee stings, or a bad back pain

(Video) pain scale

Severe Pain Levels
Pain Scale Chart: 1 to 10 Levels (5)
Severe pain icon

Severe pain levels, meaning you are unable to engage in your normal activities. The patient is considered disabled and unable to function independently.

Pain Level 7

Pain level seven consists of very intense pain. Much the same as level 6 except the pain completely dominates your senses, causing you to think unclearly about half the time. At this point, you are effectively disabled and frequently cannot live alone. Comparable to an average migraine.

Pain Scale Chart: 1 to 10 Levels (6)
Very severe pain icon
Pain Level 8

Pain level eight is horrible pain. The pain you feel is so intense you can no longer think clearly at all, and have often undergone severe personality change if the pain has been present for a long time. Suicide is frequently contemplated and sometimes tried. Comparable to childbirth or a horrible migraine.

Pain Level 9

Pain level nine is excruciating pain, so intense you cannot tolerate it and demand painkillers or surgery, regardless of what the side effects or risk. If this doesn't work, suicide is frequent since there is no more joy in life whatsoever. Comparable to throat cancer.

Pain Scale Chart: 1 to 10 Levels (7)
Terrible pain icon
Pain Level 10

Pain level ten means unimaginable pain. This pain level is so intense you will go unconscious shortly. Most people have never experienced this level of pain. Those who have suffered a severe accident, such as a crushed hand, and lost consciousness as a result of the pain and not blood loss, have experienced level 10.

Measuring Pain

Pain tolerance is considered to be the maximum level of pain a person can tolerate without passing out. Pain tolerance is different from "pain threshold" which is the point at which pain begins to be felt.

The threshold of pain (pain threshold) is the point along a curve of increasing perception of a stimulus at which pain begins to be felt. Pain threshold measurements include:

(Video) What Does Pain Scale 1-10 Mean? (Tips from the E.R.)

  • The pressure at which sound becomes painful for a listener is called "pain threshold pressure".
  • The temperature at which heat becomes painful for a person is known as "heat pain threshold".

What is a Dolorimeter?

Dolorimetry has been defined as "the measurement of pain sensitivity or pain intensity". A dolorimeter is an instrument used to measure pain threshold and pain tolerance. Dolorimeters apply steady pressure, heat, or electrical stimulation to an area. Sometimes, the pressure applied uses a blunt object, or by increasing air pressure on an area of the body, and sometimes by pressing a sharp instrument against the body to move a joint or other body part, to determine the level of heat, pressure, electric current, or amount of movement produces a sensation of pain.

Several types of dolorimeter have been developed. A dolorimeter known as the Sonic Palpometer was developed at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. The Sonic Palpometer uses ultrasound and computer technology to automate the technique of palpation to determine sensitivity of an area of the patient's body.

What are the Most Painful Things You Can Experience?

List is in alphabetical order, not pain severity level:

  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Appendicitis
  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Broken bones (Femur in Particular)
  • Burns (Severe)
  • Childbirth
  • Cluster headaches
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Dercum's Disease
  • Emotional Pain (Depression - PTSD)
  • Endometriosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Gonadal Torsion (Twisting of the gonads)
  • Gout
  • Heart attack
  • Irukandji Syndrome (Box jellyfish sting)
  • Kidney stones
  • Migraine
  • Pain after surgery
  • Penile Fracture
  • Peritonitis
  • Postdural Puncture Headache (Spinal headache)
  • Road Rash
  • Sciatica
  • Shingles
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Slipped disc
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Stonefish spike
  • Tetanus
  • Toothache
  • Tooth Abscess
  • Torn Achilles tendon
  • Trigeminal neuralgia

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Cite This Page (APA): Ian Langtree. (2016, May 20). Pain Scale Chart: 1 to 10 Levels. Disabled World. Retrieved August 27, 2022 from www.disabled-world.com/health/pain/scale.php

Permalink: <a href="https://www.disabled-world.com/health/pain/scale.php">Pain Scale Chart: 1 to 10 Levels</a>

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FAQs

What is the 1 to 10 pain scale? ›

There are many different kinds of pain scales, but a common one is a numerical scale from 0 to 10. Here, 0 means you have no pain; one to three means mild pain; four to seven is considered moderate pain; eight and above is severe pain.

What is the 10 point pain scale? ›

Most pain scales use numbers from 0 to 10. A score of 0 means no pain, and 10 means the worst pain you have ever felt.

What is a pain level chart? ›

A pain scale is a chart that represents different levels of pain, from mild to severe. People can use pain scales to help them describe how much pain they are feeling.

How do you score pain level? ›

Numeric rating scales (NRS)

This pain scale is most commonly used. A person rates their pain on a scale of 0 to 10 or 0 to 5. Zero means “no pain,” and 5 or 10 means “the worst possible pain.” These pain intensity levels may be assessed upon initial treatment, or periodically after treatment.

What pain scale is used for adults? ›

Numerical Rating Pain Scale

The Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) is designed for anyone over age 9. It is one of the most commonly used pain scales in health care.

What are the types of pain? ›

The five most common types of pain are:
  • Acute pain.
  • Chronic pain.
  • Neuropathic pain.
  • Nociceptive pain.
  • Radicular pain.

What is pain scale called? ›

Numerical Rating Scales (NRS) use numbers to rate pain. Patients are usually asked to select a number from a given scale that best describes the degree of pain felt.

What is a 7 on the pain scale? ›

Specifically: At level 7, the pain demands your attention and keeps you from performing tasks. It may even interfere with your sleep. Level 8 pain is intense, limiting physical activity and even making conversation difficult.

What does DOL mean in pain? ›

Medical Definition of dol

: a unit for the measurement of pain intensity usually taken as one tenth of the range of increasing sensation from that produced by the least perceptible stimulus to that at which further increase in stimulation causes no further increase in sensation.

What is considered severe pain? ›

Severe pain is defined as pain that interferes with some or all of the activities of daily living. May cause bed confinement or chair rest because of the severity. Typically doesn't go away, and treatment needs to be continuous for days, weeks, months, or years.

What pain scale is chronic pain? ›

Based on these results, we set a PEG summary score of 12 or greater (i.e. equivalent to an average score of 4 or greater across the 3 items) as defining bothersome chronic pain, while a PEG score of 11 or less was classified as mild chronic pain.

When is pain an emergency? ›

Any sudden and severe pain is a signal to head to the ER. Sudden and severe pain anywhere in the body is a signal to head to the emergency room. Of most concern is any pain in the abdominal area or starting halfway down the back.

What is a Flacc pain scale? ›

What it measures: FLACC is a behavioral pain assessment scale used for nonverbal or preverbal patients who are unable to self-report their level of pain. Pain is assessed through observation of 5 categories including face, legs, activity, cry, and consolability.

What is acute pain? ›

Acute pain begins suddenly and is usually sharp in quality. It serves as a warning of disease or a threat to the body. Acute pain might be caused by many events or circumstances, including: Surgical Pain. Traumatic Pain, example: broken bone, cut, or burn.

What pain scales is used for pediatrics? ›

One behavioural tool to assess pain is the FLACC scale, for children aged two to seven. It assesses a child's pain based on their facial expression, leg and arm movements, extent of crying and ability to be consoled.

How do you explain pain to a doctor? ›

How to Describe Your Pain to the Doctor
  1. Where do you feel the pain? Tell your doctor all of the areas you are experiencing pain. ...
  2. What kind of pain are you feeling? Please be as specific as you can. ...
  3. How often do you feel pain? Is it chronic or acute? ...
  4. How severe is the pain?
9 May 2017

What is the most common type of pain? ›

Nociceptive pain. Nociceptive pain is the most common type of pain. It's caused by stimulation of nociceptors, which are pain receptors for tissue injury. You have nociceptors throughout your body, especially in your skin and internal organs.

What is a neuropathic pain? ›

What is neuropathic pain? Neuropathic pain can happen if your nervous system is damaged or not working correctly. You can feel pain from any of the various levels of the nervous system—the peripheral nerves, the spinal cord and the brain. Together, the spinal cord and the brain are known as the central nervous system.

How many pain scale are there? ›

There are many pain scales, but healthcare professionals and researchers often use one of four main types: The numerical scale: Measures pain on a scale of 1–10. The visual analog scale: Categorizes pain along a horizontal line, ranging from mild to severe.

What instrument measures pain? ›

The PSQ was found to be the most valid and reliable general pain measurement instrument for adult populations.

What is face pain scale called? ›

The Wong–Baker Faces Pain Rating Scale is a pain scale that was developed by Donna Wong and Connie Baker. The scale shows a series of faces ranging from a happy face at 0, or "no hurt", to a crying face at 10, which represents "hurts like the worst pain imaginable".

Is 7 moderate or severe pain? ›

The meaning of some pain intensity levels is clearer than others. For example, levels of “7” or higher for either average or worst pain are often classified as severe, and pain levels of “8” or higher are always classified as severe (e.g., 10, 20, 23, 28).

What is a 10 in pain? ›

A 10 on the pain scale represents the most severe or worst pain you have ever experienced. Pain is a symptom of many conditions, and its intensity and duration vary by illness. The perception of pain also varies from person to person.

How can I measure my pain tolerance? ›

Your pain threshold is determined by the amount of time between the start of the test and your first report of pain. Once the pain becomes unbearable, you can remove your hand. The time between the test start and when your remove your hand is considered your pain tolerance.

Who invented the 1/10 pain scale? ›

And why do so many practitioners use the 1-10 pain rating scale in the first place? The original pain rating scale was developed by Dr. Ronald Melzack and Dr. Warren Torgerson in 1975 at McGill University.

What is an 8 on the pain scale? ›

Level 8 pain is intense, limiting physical activity and even making conversation difficult. Pain at level 9 leaves you unable to converse. You may just be moaning or crying uncontrollably. The greatest pain, level 10, leaves you bedridden or even delirious.

What is the number pain scale called? ›

Numerical Rating Scales (NRS) use numbers to rate pain. Patients are usually asked to select a number from a given scale that best describes the degree of pain felt. Visual Analog Scales (VAS) utilize a scale where patients are asked to mark where they think their pain levels are closest.

How much pain do you have to be in to go to the hospital? ›

When it intensifies to level 8, pain makes even holding a conversation extremely difficult and your physical activity is severely impaired. Pain is said to be at level 9 when it is excruciating, prevents you speaking and may even make you moan or cry out. Level 10 pain is unbearable.

What is a Flacc pain scale? ›

What it measures: FLACC is a behavioral pain assessment scale used for nonverbal or preverbal patients who are unable to self-report their level of pain. Pain is assessed through observation of 5 categories including face, legs, activity, cry, and consolability.

Is 7 moderate or severe pain? ›

The meaning of some pain intensity levels is clearer than others. For example, levels of “7” or higher for either average or worst pain are often classified as severe, and pain levels of “8” or higher are always classified as severe (e.g., 10, 20, 23, 28).

What is the pain of childbirth compared to? ›

The most common description of the level of pain experienced was extreme menstrual cramps (45 percent), while 16 percent said it was like bad back pain and 15 percent compared it to a broken bone.

What number is moderate to severe pain? ›

The variability of the optimal cut-off point schemes was quantified using bootstrapping procedure. Results and conclusion: The study showed that NRS scores ≤ 5 correspond to mild, scores of 6–7 to moderate and scores ≥8 to severe pain in terms of pain-related interference with functioning.

What is pain unit? ›

Pain unit: A measurement of the intensity of pain.

What is acute pain? ›

Acute pain begins suddenly and is usually sharp in quality. It serves as a warning of disease or a threat to the body. Acute pain might be caused by many events or circumstances, including: Surgical Pain. Traumatic Pain, example: broken bone, cut, or burn.

What do hospitals give for extreme pain? ›

The four primary parenteral opioids that are used in the treatment of acute pain in the ED are morphine, meperidine, fentanyl, and hydromorphone (32). Morphine and meperidine are the most common parenteral opioids used in the ED (152).

Why do we shiver when hurt? ›

Typically, people experiencing acute pain will have an elevated heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate; they may shake or shiver, have goose bumps and pale skin.

Why do doctors ask you to rate your pain? ›

Most scales make pain measurable and can tell providers whether your pain is mild, moderate, or severe. They can also set baselines and trends for your pain, making it easier to find appropriate treatments.

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