The standard numerical rating scale for pain (or row of increasingly distressed faces) forces us to create a one-dimensional snapshot of a complex and long-standing pain disorder. We need more sophisticated measuring tools to communicate the multi-dimensional impact of our pain to our doctors.
These are some of the different pain scales I’ve found over the years.
McGill Pain Questionnaire – standard scale used for research (PDF)
PEG: 3-item Scale Assessing Pain Intensity and Interference – very short form of the McGill questionnaire.
Stanford Pain Scale – pain levels are categorized into 3 basic groups with extensive descriptions of each pain level.
Pain scale to describe subjective experience – Andrea Mankoski devised this pain scale to help describe the subjective experience of pain in more concrete terms to her doctors and family. Please feel free to use it and distribute it with attribution.
A Better Pain Scale – uses descriptions of the patient’s pain and functionality at various levels – by J.S.Hochman MD – 5.14.2003
Descriptive Pain Scale – describes the state you’d be in during each of the levels. (image)
Charles Scamahorn’s Pain Scale – a detailed spreadsheet referencing not just the level of pain, but what might be observed or checked and suggested treatments.
Boston Pain Care Functional Pain Scale – relates to levels of functionality, not sensation.
On a lighter note:
A Pain Scale of Artistic Impressions – relates pain levels to famous paintings (images)
And last, but not least, some rare humor: