Usual and Unusual Pain Scales

Common (Mosby) Pain Scale:

Common PainScale

We’ve all seen this one countless times and it’s virtually useless for anything but acute pain in children.

This one presenting just faces, is just as bad (Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale):

Wong-Baker PainScale

For adults, here’s a more detailed pain scale from Stanford: 

Stanford PainScale

click to enlarge


Below, a pain scale spreadsheet with even more detail (and a few more numbers) by Charles Scamahorn © 2005:

Scamahord PainScale

click to enlarge

retrieved from

And lastly, what most of us feel is the most realistic scale of all:

Brosh PainScale


Notable and prolific blogger, Allie Brosh, provided the more useful chart above for describing pain.

0: Hi. I am not experiencing any pain at all. I don’t know why I’m even here.
1: I am completely unsure whether I am experiencing pain or itching, or maybe I just have a bad taste in my mouth.
2: I probably just need a Band Aid.
3: This is distressing. I don’t want this to be happening to me at all.
4: My pain is not f—ing around.
5: Why is this happening to me??
6: Ow. Okay, my pain is super legit now.
7: I see Jesus coming for me and I’m scared.
8: I am experiencing a disturbing amount of pain. I might actually be dying. Please help.
9: I am almost definitely dying.
10: I am actively being mauled by a bear.
11: Blood is going to explode out of my face at any moment.
Too Serious For Numbers: I probably have Ebola. It appears that I may also be suffering from Stigmata and/or pinkeye.

To access the original article see: Brosch, A. (2010). Boyfriend Doesn’t Have Ebola. Probably. Available at:


In addition, here is a long PDF with several pain scales and descriptions. I think the last one is best: Pain Quality and Assessment Scale (PQAS)

The National Initiative on Pain Control™ (NIPC™) has provided these diagnostic tools to assist you in assessing the severity and quality of pain.


retrieved from

Click to access Pain_Assessment_Scales.pdf



2 thoughts on “Usual and Unusual Pain Scales

  1. Pingback: Impact of Chronic Pain Scale | EDS Info (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome)

  2. Pingback: Several Pain Scales More Useful than Standard | EDS Info (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome)

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