Chronic pain by the numbers



March 12, 2019 - 10:12 AM

Dear Dr. Roach: Why is pain measured by numbers? I have severe pain, and doctors do not know what to do when I say it is an 11 on a scale of 1-10. My pain can’t be measured by numbers. It depends on the time of day, what I have done during the day and the weather.

I have arthritis in most of my joints, specifically my spine and hips. Having had five spine surgeries, epidurals and hip shots, I have pain every day. There is not much more that can be done but to take opioids. It can be hard to make the decision either to take an opioid and go out shopping or for coffee feeling like I am in a vacuum, or to go out in pain.

There is no chronic pain support group in my area, and no one can understand how I feel, even the professionals, unless they have gone through it. So when asked how I am, I say “fine.” Other people don’t want to hear about my pain.

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