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The Pain Scale and When You Should Seek a Doctor’s Help

Knowing when to consult a doctor can be a difficult choice sometimes. There are pain charts to help guide you in this decision. Here is one such chart and some definitions of pain that we offer our patients who are seeking answers to the question “Should I go to the orthopaedic specialist?”:
 
Using the scale provided, Ortho El Paso recommends that you consult with us for any pain at a level 3 or 4 and seek immediate attention for anything above that.
 
0         NO PAIN
1         FAINT PAIN
Your mobility and activities of daily living are in no way impacted.  You feel no need to seek treatment or medical attention.
2         MILD PAIN
You are aware of the pain but it is very easy to ignore.  You do not notice any restriction in movement
3         MODERATE PAIN
Uncomfortable but tolerable level of pain that is noticeable but easy to forget or ignore over time.  You are able to continue daily activities and your quality of life is not yet impacted. 
4         UNCOMFORTABLE PAIN
This level of throbbing pain that is constantly on your mind.  Over time and untreated, this level of pain will impede your ability to live a normal life.  Pain that has started in one area of the body may now be spreading to your hips, groin, arms, legs or upper back.
5         DISTRACTING PAIN
Strong deep, penetrating pain that makes it difficult to manage your activities of daily living.  The pain becomes consistently noticeable and you become more anxious and psychologically impacted by your pain symptoms. 
6         DISTRESSING PAIN
Intense pain that controls your mindset and psychological outlook on your body's ability to recover.  Severe joint pain in the knee, thigh, shoulder, elbow, hand, or hip, may fall into this category of pain.  At this pain score, you are likely seeking clinical expertise for a diagnosis and treatment regime. 
7         INTENSE PAIN
The level of radiating pain is completely dominating your mindset and outlook on recovery.  You are reaching a point where your pain level is impeding your ability to operate daily functions and cognitive thinking.  Management of this level of pain requires more medical expertise, prescription drugs, and the level of severity has you considering surgery (as a treatment option.
8         UNMANAGEABLE PAIN
Your pain is so intense that you can no longer think clearly and are experiencing personality changes.  Your back is experiencing shooting pain that results in numbness, tingling, and extreme discomfort where it impedes your ability to be mobile and active. 
9         SEVERE PAIN
This level of excruciating pain is so intense that you are unable to tolerate the level of pain and are seeking stronger medications, surgery, and emergency psychological intervention to manage the pain.
10       DEBILITATING PAIN
This unimaginable level is so intense you may go unconscious.  This type of pain is likely incurred during a severe accident (eg. trauma) and your body is unable to recover on its own.  Emergency treatment is needed.