Saturday, August 11, 2007


Anyone who hasn't already read this via Scalpel's link (which is where I got it), go check out this excellent pain scale. No it's not a joke. But it's very good.

I would insert the usual fibromyalgia-mocking here, but I'm on vacation, so I'll let the malingerers have a pass today. Feel free to pick up my slack in the comments if you feel the urge.

Though I am curious. Joints says,

"Where does psychogenic pain, and the pain of fibromyalgia fit into this scale? I am going to say, 4-7, tops, based on objective signs and pain behaviors. Of course, the emotional impact of the pain may be anywhere on the scale."
Is there anyone who has fibromyalgia that can tell me where they would rate their pain on the pain scale from the link above? Both chronic all-the-time pain, as well as as-bad-as-it-gets pain. And if you go to the ER for narcotics, don't bother answering. We all know how much I think your opinion is worth.


Ereshkigal said...

This is a fascinating pain scale for me... I'd never thought to compare my pain levels with other pain-causing events. On my personal pain scale, I rate things like broken bones around a 3 or 4 on the traditional pain scale. They rate much lower than my bad days.

My fibro is controlled now with medication and exercise. I'll give my scale based on what it's like with treatment. It's too depressing to try to rate without. On a good day, it hovers around a 3 with regular spikes up to 7. On a bad-but-normal day, it starts somewhere between 4 and 5 and will spike up to 7 more often (once an hour or so instead of maybe two or three times a day).

On a truly bad day, getting out of bed starts with an 8 until the medication kicks in, then will hover around 6 or 7 for most of the day, spiking up to 8 two or three times an hour, with a jump up to 8 or 9 when my medication starts to wear off. (Yes, really a 9. Cold sweats, shaking, and curled up in bed crying. If someone talks to me, I'm too internalized to recognize it. If I try to walk, my motor function fails and I find myself on the floor incapable of conscious thought. I'd imagine a lot of people would rate that as a 10, but I've never been suicidal.)

I can still "function" enough to work a full day at 7 and, depending on how demanding the day is, quite likely also at 8.

Tracey said...

I am an RN with fibromyalgia. While it has a "whiny" rep, if you actually have the actual thing-it really sucks. Daily pain is 2 to 4. Bad days can get to 8. These suck more.The problem is that I chalk up new/different pain to "just fibro" and missed an actual herniated disc. Now I have permanent nerve damage. Again, sucks. BTW i have never been to the ER for fibro, nor do i take narcs-I guess it's the nurse in me that knows better!

T said...

With my fibro and the all over pain, I am at a 3 most of the time. I will sometimes hit a 4 on a very very bad day. I think the thing that is most annoying about fibro is that it feels that way all over your entire body. While it may only be a 4 on my worst days, it's a 4 from head to toe. I also think that real fibro sufferers know that narcotics won't do much for you because once those drugs wear off, the pain will be exactly the same.

For me, exercise, heat packs/warm baths, and over the counter meds (tylenol arthritis strength) work more than adequately to manage my pain without all of the nasty narcotic side effects. Also, no real fibro sufferer would EVER want to sit in hard plastic chairs for HOURS on end in a crowded, noisy, waiting room. Those sorts of conditions would only prove to make their fibro worse.

Anonymous said...

Which level would childbirth and labor rank (sans epidural or Stadol)?


I'd have a better idea how to rank my pain if I knew where that fit in.

AtYourCervix said...

I would rate my daily fibro pain on a 2-4 pain level (depends on the day). A flare up would be up around a 6-7. Childbirth - natural (I've had 3x) - the transition period contraction pain would be 7-8, pushing would feel close to a 9-10.

I've also broken my arm - rated that pain around 6-7.

Anonymous said...

Was riding my motorcycle on 9-12-01 when I got hit by a car. Pain so bad I blanked out 3 days of my hospitalization. Now I deal with "all over body pain". I don't want to call it fibro. Stubborn German I guess. Just have learned to "deal" with it. But still every day a 3-4 level pain. Kind of like a dull roar in the background of my consciousness. I use OTC's every day. "Momentum" works great; its magnesium salicylate. It hits the nerve endings differently then tylenol or ibuprofen.


Nurse K said...

Randomly, I've noticed that true, non-faking appys rate their pain at a "6". It's like if you have RLQ pain, don't go to the ER at all or rarely, and rate your pain at a "6" or "7", it's an appy. These people are usually able to function, but they always show up in the ER eventually because the pain is impossible to ignore.

When I was getting my epidural put in at around 5 or 6 cm dilated, I rated my contraction pain at a "6". It hurt REALLLY bad, but I wasn't to the point of crying. I was kicking the bed, cussing, and I couldn't talk during the contractions nor hit any of my girls on their cellys to talk. While I wasn't a nurse then, I think, in retrospect, that was a good # for the pain. If I had pain similar to that not related to pregnancy, I'd wait a little bit, and if it didn't go away, probably go to the ER.

wordwitch said...

My mom has fibro, and she has never been to the ER with it. She usually only medicates when things get really bad....meaning she couldn't get out of bed. Do note, however, that my mom is a piano teacher, a church organist, a music judge, is in 2 different monthly organizations, AND plays music competitions....and she's 75. My mom is awesome.


Alexis said...

I ran this whole thing by my college roommate who has what I consider "real" fibromyalgia (as in she has a standing appointment with physical therapy and the rheumatologist and has only been to the ER once, when she got hit by a car).

She says on a great day, it's a 2, on an average day it's a 4, and on a "craptastic" day, it's a 6 with obuts of 7. She said she remembers 9 from the car accident, and there was probably some 10 involved, but she doesn't remember it and would rather not try.

::shrugs:: seemed fair to me.

Alexandra Lynch said...

On a good day: 5 getting out of bed, 1-2 once I get moving.

On a bad day: 5-6 getting out of bed, 4 with spikes to seven the rest of the day.

My cramps when I have my period are nines, though, because I can't lie still and have to pace, stifflegged, while I cry and gasp, and I can't not cry. They are fully as bad as the full on contractions of childbirth (BTDT.) Kidney infections are also a nine, as are broken bones.

I can tell fibro pain from other pains, but the main problem is that if I have my foot or my back acting up, the fibro will act up in concert with it, so instead of just having my back hurting, I'll ache all over. How helpful. (roll eyes)

I've never been to the ER with it. My physician understands me, and I have a few Vicodin in the medicine cabinet. And oddly enough, a lot of nights that's enough, just knowing that if I can't stand it any more, I can go take one. Sometimes that's enough that I can make it through without it. (I don't like to take it. It gives me bad dreams and constipates me badly.)So unless there's a prescription non-narcotic with the pain relieving power of vicodin available to thee and not to me, I wouldn't go to the ER for it. I will go to the ER for something that is a nine that is a new pain, however.