This pain scaled was devised by Dr. J.S. Hochman MD, the founder of the National Foundation for the Treatment of Pain (NFTP). It is far better than the counterintuitive "1 to 10" pain scale as it uses descriptions of the patient's pain and functionality at various levels as well as the predicted efficacy of various meds at those levels. This is important, as perceived pain level is really a function of the physical sensation of pain, its impairment on your functionality, and the relative efficacy of various medications at relieving that pain, as few modalities work as quickly as meds to get pain under control and improve functionality. It overcomes the severe deficiencies of the numeric scale, particularly the bit about 10 pain being "the worst pain you can imagine," as no matter how bad your pain is, you can always imagine it being worse so in theory level 10 pain doesn't exist. This is a loophole that I've seen some doctors cite in ridiculing patients who claim level 10 pain, so being able to say your pain is level 10 because it is unbearable, and not "the worst you can imagine" seems more reasonable and defensible. Studies show that 65 percent of people with chronic pain will not go to a doctor until their pain becomes "unbearable," so defining pain like this also helps to explain the large number of people presenting to the ER claiming level 10 pain, because "unbearable" is how we intuitively think of level 10 pain, and why people will claim levels of 12 or 15 for pain that goes way beyond merely "unbearable," like that of CRPS, for example. I have taken the liberty of creating a PDF of this file so you can print it out and bring it to your doctor if you feel it accurately reflects the realities of your condition. Anyway, enough of my yapping, here's the scale, which I found at Our Chronic Pain Mission:
0 No pain
1. Occasional pain effectively managed by Aspirin, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, one tablet, three times a day or less - or by opioids with no limitations on activities of daily living.
2. Frequent pain, managed only by 1 or more tablets of ASA, acetamenophen, ibuprofen, every four hours - or by opioids with slight impairments of actitivities of daily living.
3. Frequent pain, not effectively managed by NSAIDs, requiring an opioid medication, but not restricting daily activities of living
4. Frequent pain, moderately affecting activities of daily living, but still controlled by opioids medications
5. Frequent or almost constant pain. Contained by opioids, but still causing significant limitations on activities of daily living and occasionally causing the patient to be house or bed confined
6. Constant pain, moderately contained by opioids, but with frequent limitations of activities of daily living. Frequently causes confinement to bed or the house.
7. Constant pain, only partially contained by opioids at the doses prescribed, with continuous limitation of activities of daily living
8. Constant pain, frequently disabling, making most activities of daily living difficult if at all possible
9. Constant pain, uncontained by prescribed medications and doses, completely disabling of activities of daily living, requiring interventions or assistance by others, preventing any form of employment and fully qualifying the patient for Social Security Disability
10. Intolerable pain requiring emergency room treatment, generally with opioids injections.