What pain looks like

Pain is the least understood element of medicine; there’s too much subjectivity. What is 6/10 for one might be 4/10 for someone else. We ask this question of our clients every consult and virtually everyone says something along the lines of, “I’m not very good at answering that sort of thing” or, “I’ve got quite a high pain threshold”.

There’s nothing wrong with either of those statements but it seems to imply that we all consider our pain in context with everyone else; the woman in labour, the wounded soldier, the dying patient.

But it’s not, it’s just a marker. If you calmly express that you’re in 10/10 pain, you probably don’t understand pain. I can spot a 10/10 without asking. It tells us how you feel about your pain. It’s actually a pretty useful thing to ask someone.

Anyway, here’s a video of me crossing the finishing line of a half marathon in 4/10 pain – but then again, I am a wimp.


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