Every day I must ask patients how they rate their pain. It seems stupid and patients are frequently stumped.
ME: Where is your pain on a scale from zero to ten with ten being the worst pain you’ve ever experienced and zero being no pain.
THEM: It hurts.
ME: I know, but can you put it on that scale?
THEM: It freakin’ hurts a lot.
ME: So like an 8?
THEM: Whatever. Can you fix it?
A patient recently told me about the PAIN exhibit www.painexhibit.com The PAIN Exhibit is an educational, visual arts exhibit from artists with chronic pain with their art expressing some facet of the pain experience. The mission of the PAIN Exhibit is to educate healthcare providers and the public about chronic pain through art; and to give voice to the many who suffer in abject silence.
Some of the pieces on the website are awe-inspiring. Some truly disturbing. Most are poignent. Many are worth seeing.
Perhaps instead of pressing patients for a pain rating, we should hand some of them a box of crayons.
Dr. Brett Kinsler is a chiropractor in Rochester, NY