Managing Knee Osteoarthritis

Using the “Pain Scale” during Physiotherapy

Understand the Pain Scale

Many people are asked to explain the pain they are experiencing when they see the doctor. Pain is a subjective feeling and varies from patient to patient. This is why many practitioners have adopted the “pain scale,” so they can best understand each patient’s discomfort and assess the severity of the injury/issue.

The pain scale has an escalating number chart from 0-10. Here is a basic explanation:

0 = No pain at all
1-3 = Mild, annoying pain that doesn’t really interfere with daily activities.
4-6 = Moderate pain that may be ignored for a short amount of time, but can interfere with activities.
7-10 = Severe pain that cannot be ignored and may severely hamper important activities.

Be Honest

Using the “Pain Scale” during Physiotherapy

If you are smiling and having a good time talking with the doctor and then say you have a pain of 10, the doctor may be confused and unable to properly assess your situation. This hampers his/her ability to suggest treatment and an appropriate course of action. By not sticking to the pain scale descriptions, you may exaggerate the degree of seriousness, or underestimate it.


Using the “Pain Scale” during Physiotherapy

This is the best way to avoid confusion when choosing a number on the pain scale. Tell the therapist, doctor, or nurse who is evaluating you how you feel when the pain occurs. Don’t worry about judgement or criticism, simply convey how you feel and trust that you will receive the care you need.

At The Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Centres of Ontario, you can count on caring treatment that seeks to get the root of your problem. By discussing the severity of your pain and when/how it occurs, we can develop an individualized treatment plan just for you. Call us today to set up a consultation and/or appointment: (905) 579-9938.

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