Pain Levels

I have always been interested in the differences people experience in their pain tolerance. I have 2 daughters that are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. My oldest daughter has a very low pain tolerance. Ex: as a kid she would scream bloody murder over every scrap and bruise, and as an adult (she’s 21) she is still the same way. She had an abcess and spent three days in bed! Now I have no doubt that the abcess hurt, but I’ve experienced abcesses and know how they feel. I also know that her pain was real. My youngest daughter is the complete opposite and has an unusually high pain tolerance. As a kid a dislocated elbow didn’t get anything more than a wimped, as a young adult (she’s 17 - 18 next month) doctors have commented on it as it generally leads to her becoming extremely sick before she even mentions it to me. Recently she complained of a sore throat, the next day she said she was dizzy and was running a fever. I took her to the local clinic thinking she needed some antibiotics. Turns out she had strep throat that had gone so long that her throat had dried out, cracked open and was running green puss. The doctor just kept saying “doesn’t that hurt?” and she said it was just a little scratchy!

Now as the mother of these two opposites, I know that they are in pain when I look at their faces (as all mothers can tell). How is it possible to have two such opposites? My hubby has a very high pain tolerance to traumatic injuries (shot in the hand with an airnailer through the bone and pulled it out himself as the er dr couldn’t get a good grip, doesn’t do freezing when having a tooth hauled cause he doesn’t like the feeling of being frozen). But he becomes a baby when he’s sick with the flu or a head cold (luckily it doesn’t happen often).

I sometimes wonder were I fall into the scale. When rating pain for a doctor I class a 0 as me in my healthy indestructible 16 year old body and a 10 as the moment during natural child birth when the doctor decided the baby needed to be turned. But where in the pain scale does chronic pain come in? Somedays if I’m luckily a 1 and somedays I would give it a 7 or an 8. On the days that it’s that high I will take painkillers half way through the day just to get a break from it, then I can go back to dealing with it.

What are exceptable pain levels in chronic illness? Should we all be happy to stay below a five? Maybe a 2? Pain is so subjective! I personally (from my experience as a momma, think that if you have a low pain tolerance it doesn’t make your pain any less real. Anyways, now that I’ve rambled on and on…what are your average daily pain levels at?

i just saw this and i think it is really interesting. I live at a constant pain level of 3---i don't remember pain free. I take pain meds if I can't "relax around the pain"--if I can't s;eep or function/ see or hear or can't stop throwing up.

i read a great article about pain one day and i wish i could remember where. Doc's always ask us to rate our pain, but don't tell compared to what: to how i felt when pain was not constant? pain when i am tired? pain when I feel sad and hope;ess, pain that i know will end in a blessing (like a baby)--pain compounded by guilt and shame?

pain that others repspect and do not judge me harshly for?

there are so many variables. Maybe we can come up with a more acurate way to measure pain...i'm goin to think about it. today my pain landscape looks like this:

head: clear with brief episodes of fogginess...full of thought and sad about a member leaving.

torso: slight pain in liver area, as if i have been pinched; I feel as though I can't get enough air which causes the pain of panic, not really physical pain, but distress all the same. rate it at 4. rest of torso, nuetral.

arms: left sided weakness and numb feeling, righty is fine.

legs: normal 10 on the "omg this will kill me scale if I step the wrong way", some weakness in left leg and feet and ankles swollen and ...miserable/cranky feeling---like a fussy baby that can't get comfortable or tell what hurts.

Soul: 8. the pain is 8. It IS hard to deal with but it drives me to pray and that will make feeling this way worth the trouble, so the value of this pain levels out at a 2 when I factor in the reward (prayer time)--

if 0 were perfect balance and 8 tipped the pain scale to the right of the equation, but 6 pulled it back by its positive weight, i'd only be at a 2 on the soul-pain chart....or is it the other way around? Ha lol idk i just went off on a tangent, but it did make my soul pain less burdensome. lol

I wonder what a doc would do with that?

thank you for posting this pain thing!

Well that’s just what I mean…if my oldest daughter was asked to rate that abcess…she would give it a high number, I might rate it as a 2, my youngest would probably go with a zero! So what is the point of the pain scale? Is it just to assess our perceived level of pain? I just find it interesting since I my kids are polar opposites. I also worry that my youngest is going to end up in serious trouble because of her very high pain tolerance.

janice said:

i just saw this and i think it is really interesting. I live at a constant pain level of 3—i don’t remember pain free. I take pain meds if I can’t “relax around the pain”–if I can’t s;eep or function/ see or hear or can’t stop throwing up.

i read a great article about pain one day and i wish i could remember where. Doc’s always ask us to rate our pain, but don’t tell compared to what: to how i felt when pain was not constant? pain when i am tired? pain when I feel sad and hope;ess, pain that i know will end in a blessing (like a baby)–pain compounded by guilt and shame?

pain that others repspect and do not judge me harshly for?

there are so many variables. Maybe we can come up with a more acurate way to measure pain…i’m goin to think about it. today my pain landscape looks like this:

head: clear with brief episodes of fogginess…full of thought and sad about a member leaving.

torso: slight pain in liver area, as if i have been pinched; I feel as though I can’t get enough air which causes the pain of panic, not really physical pain, but distress all the same. rate it at 4. rest of torso, nuetral.

arms: left sided weakness and numb feeling, righty is fine.

legs: normal 10 on the “omg this will kill me scale if I step the wrong way”, some weakness in left leg and feet and ankles swollen and …miserable/cranky feeling—like a fussy baby that can’t get comfortable or tell what hurts.

Soul: 8. the pain is 8. It IS hard to deal with but it drives me to pray and that will make feeling this way worth the trouble, so the value of this pain levels out at a 2 when I factor in the reward (prayer time)–

if 0 were perfect balance and 8 tipped the pain scale to the right of the equation, but 6 pulled it back by its positive weight, i’d only be at a 2 on the soul-pain chart…or is it the other way around? Ha lol idk i just went off on a tangent, but it did make my soul pain less burdensome. lol

I wonder what a doc would do with that?

thank you for posting this pain thing!

I do actually have a little chart that i use to "check in " to see how I am doing---for onr thing it makes me feel like someone who cares is asking (will explain another time) and the other thing is that is often gives me clues as to what might make me feel really well---like if a baby is crying I (would never do this, but for the analogy, forgive what I say) shut the door and leave the house--I wouldnt hear the cry, but it would cause a lot of ever more complicated problems. Or, I can look closely at the baby and listen and really care to find out what the problem is so I can really fix it.

That is what my little process does. you can see it on journalingcompanion.webs.org if you want to take a look. it is called A.L.E.E.A. or you can see ot on my page.

great talking with you--cant wait to hear more!