Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sliding pain scale

Back pain clinic can get very repetitive, so you kind of appreciate it when a patient does something that's unique.

For example, there are many patients who have been having back pain that started before I was born. This guy I saw last week? He had back pain since before my parents were born.

And then I asked him for his pain score (on a scale of 1 to 10). Sometimes patients will say something like 3-4 out of 10, which is kind of annoying because I want to just write down one number. But this guy was, again, totally unique.

Me: "What is your pain level on a scale of one to ten?"

Patient: "Oh, it's two-three-four." [Pause] "Five, six."

Um, did he think I just asked him to count to six?


  1. No, he's counting up how much pain he's in.

    I'm convinced pain scales are pointless. Because the dull achy pain that I have all the time?? It's really annoying and makes sleeping really difficult. But on a pain scale, it's like a 2. Which means that no one takes me seriously. :(


  2. "Except when I roll over. Then it's 3.14159."

  3. No Dr. Grumpy, 3.14159 is the level of pain when he's eaten too much pi.

  4. He was singing that bit from Sesame Street. One Two Three FOUR FIVE, six seven eight NINE TEN, ELEVEN! TWELVE!

    doot doo doo doo do, doot doot doot...

  5. I have to post this, because it is the best pain scale ever: