Everyone feels pain differently and can have different tolerances for pain levels. Sometimes it can be hard to know if they are feeling mild, medium, or high pain. As a caregiver, your main priority is to make sure the client is comfortable and not hurting, so discussing their pain level regularly can be beneficial. How do you do this? Use our home care resource for the pain levels below.

Home Care Resource: How to Use the Pain Scale

Pain management requires scheduled check-ins with your client. Having regular discussions about pain levels can help avoid any major pain spikes. Charting the pain levels in each conversation is a great way to keep track of any changes or patterns in pain levels. Keeping this information and bringing it to any doctor’s appointments can help with any medication management or care plans.

What Questions to Ask

  • On a scale of 0-10, how would you rate your pain? 0 means no pain at all and 10 is the worst pain you can imagine.
  • If you’re feeling any pain, describe it in a few words: sharp, throbbing, aching, burning, numbness, or tingling.
  • Where is the pain most intense? Does it span out in other locations with less or more intensity?
  • How often are you experiencing your pain (daily or weekly)?
  • What time of day is your pain the worst (morning, afternoon, evening, nighttime)?
  • Does your pain interfere with your regular routine like sleeping, walking, or sitting?

How Does the Pain Scale Help Indicate

The pain scale (from 0-10) is a guide. This is a helpful way to track and discuss the client’s pain severity. Here is the scale:

0 – Pain-free!

1 – Pain is very mild, barely noticeable.

2 – Minor pain. Somewhat annoying but manageable.

3 – Pain is noticeable and distracting, however, you can get used to it and adapt.

4 – Moderate pain. If active, the pain is distracting but can be ignored for a while.

5 – Moderately strong pain. You can manage it but you cannot ignore it.

6 – Moderately strong pain that interferes with normal daily activities. Difficulty concentrating.

7 – Severe pain. Significantly limits your ability to perform normal daily activities.

8 – Intense pain. Physical activity is severely limited.

9 – Excruciating pain. Physically noticeable and difficult to speak as a result.

10 – Unspeakable pain. Bedridden and possibly delirious.

Use this home care resource pain scale to assess a client’s acute or sudden pain. Speaking the same language when trying to describe pain can help in understanding the next steps in managing pain. If there is any level of pain that you feel is alarming or described in a way that doesn’t seem right – contact a doctor right away.

Have more questions about home care? See our FAQ page.


Pain Scale

Brief Pain Inventory