Pain Scale Chart: 1 to 10 Levels

Pain: Acute and Chronic

Ian C. Langtree - Content Writer/Editor for Disabled World
Published: 2016/05/20 - Updated: 2024/06/25
Publication Type: Charts, Graphs, Tables
Contents: Summary - Definition - Introduction - Main - Related

Synopsis: Pain scale diagram and chart that includes an explanation of each of the one to ten classified pain levels. Pain is mediated by specific nerve fibers that carry the pain impulses to the brain. One of the hardest things about chronic pain is that only YOU know just how bad your pain feels. Our pain scale diagram and chart includes an explanation of each of the pain levels that can help you better describe to others the pain you are feeling.


Pain is the most common reason for physician consultation in most developed countries. It is a significant symptom in many medical conditions and can interfere with a person's quality of life and general functioning.

Main Digest

Types of Pain Include:

Psychogenic Pain

Also called psychalgia or somatoform pain is physical pain caused, increased, or prolonged by mental, emotional, or behavioral factors. Headache, back pain, or stomach pain are some of the most common types of psychogenic pain.

Phantom Pain

The pain sensation from a limb or organ that has been lost or from which a person no longer receives physical signals. Phantom limb pain is an experience almost universally reported by amputees and quadriplegics. Phantom pain is neuropathic pain.

Acute Pain

Pain that comes on quickly can be severe but lasts a relatively short period. Unlike chronic pain. Acute pain warns of disease or a threat to the body.

Chronic Pain

Defined as pain that persists longer than the temporal course of natural healing, associated with a particular type of injury or disease process. Chronic pain impairs the ability to direct attention, particularly compared to peers with low intensity or no chronic pain; people with high-intensity chronic pain have significantly reduced ability to perform attention-demanding tasks.

One of the hardest things about chronic pain is that only you know how bad the pain feels. There are no tests that reveal how much you are suffering. Often, no outward signs show how much a person is in pain.

Pain Scale

A pain scale measures a person's pain intensity and is based on self-report, observational (behavioral), or physiological data. Various pain scales are available for neonates, infants, children, adolescents, adults, seniors, and persons with impaired communication. Pain assessments are typically regarded as "the 5th Vital Sign."

Universal pain screening is an increasingly common practice because of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) requirement that accredited hospitals and clinics routinely assess all patients for pain. Pain screening is intended to improve the quality of pain management by systematically identifying patients with pain in clinical settings.

Pain Scale Table

Service Personnel and Veterans may be better suited using the Defense and Veterans Pain Rating Scale DVPRS 2.0 - a pain assessment tool using a rating scale, word descriptors, color coding, pictorial facial expressions that match pain levels.

The basic pain scale chart below provides examples of the various levels that define the 0 to 10 pain scale.

Comparative 0 to 10 Pain Scale
Continued below image.
Pain scale assessment chart.
Pain scale assessment chart.

See our printable pain scale assessment chart you can print and use for your own use.

No Pain

No pain icon
Pain Level 0

No pain at all; you feel perfectly normal.

Minor Pain Levels
Mild pain icon

Minor pain levels generally do not interfere with most day-to-day activities. Able to adapt to pain psychologically and with medication or devices such as cushions.

Pain Level 1

Pain level one means very light, barely noticeable pain, like a mosquito bite or a poison ivy itch. Mostly, you never think about the pain.

Pain Level 2

Pain level two is minor discomfort, like lightly pinching the fold of skin between the thumb and first finger with the other hand, using the fingernails. People can react differently to this self-test.

Pain Level 3

Pain level three is tolerable but very noticeable, like an accidental cut, a blow to the nose causing a bloody nose, or a doctor giving you an injection. The pain is not so strong that you cannot get used to it. Eventually, you don't notice the pain as you have adapted to it.

Moderate Pain Levels
Moderate pain icon

Moderate pain levels interfere with many daily activities. These pain levels usually require lifestyle changes, but you can remain independent. However, you are unable to adapt to the pain.

Pain Level 4

Pain level four is a distressing strong, deep pain, like an average toothache, the initial pain from a bee sting, or minor trauma to part of the body, such as stubbing your toe hard. So strong, you constantly notice the pain and cannot completely adapt. This pain level can be simulated by pinching the skin fold between the thumb and first finger with the other hand, using the fingernails, and squeezing hard. Note how the simulated pain is initially piercing but becomes dull after that.

Pain Level 5

Pain level five is a very distressing strong, deep, piercing pain, such as a sprained ankle when you stand on it wrong or mild back pain. Not only do you frequently notice the pain, but you are now so preoccupied with managing it that your normal lifestyle is curtailed. Temporary personality disorders are frequent.

Pain Level 6

Pain level six is an intense pain that is strong, deep, and piercing. The pain is so strong it seems to partially dominate your senses, causing you to think somewhat unclearly. At this point, you begin to have trouble holding a job or maintaining normal social relationships. Comparable to a bad non-migraine headache combined with several bee stings or a bad back pain

Severe Pain Levels
Severe pain icon

Severe pain levels mean you cannot engage in normal activities. The patient is considered disabled and unable to function independently.

Pain Level 7

Pain level seven consists of very intense pain. Much the same as level 6, except the pain, completely dominates your senses, causing you to think unclearly about half the time. At this point, you are effectively disabled and frequently cannot live alone. Comparable to an average migraine.

Very severe pain icon
Pain Level 8

Pain level eight is horrible pain. The pain you feel is so intense you can no longer think clearly and have often undergone severe personality changes if the pain has been present for a long time. Suicide is frequently contemplated and sometimes tried. Comparable to childbirth or a horrible migraine.

Pain Level 9

Pain level nine is excruciating pain, so intense you cannot tolerate it and demand painkillers or surgery, regardless of the side effects or risk. If this doesn't work, suicide is frequent since there is no more joy in life whatsoever. Comparable to throat cancer.

Terrible pain icon
Pain Level 10

Pain level ten means unimaginable pain. This pain level is so intense you will go unconscious shortly. Most people have never experienced this level of pain. Those who have suffered a severe accident, such as a crushed hand, and lost consciousness due to the pain and not blood loss, have experienced level 10.

Measuring Pain

Pain tolerance is the maximum level of pain a person can tolerate without passing out. Pain tolerance differs from the "pain threshold," which is the point at which pain begins to be felt.

The threshold of pain (pain threshold) is the point along a curve of increasing perception of a stimulus at which pain begins to be felt. Pain threshold measurements include:

What is a Dolorimeter?

Dolorimetry has been defined as "the measurement of pain sensitivity or pain intensity". A dolorimeter is an instrument used to measure pain threshold and pain tolerance. Dolorimeters apply steady pressure, heat, or electrical stimulation to an area. Sometimes, the pressure applied uses a blunt object, or by increasing air pressure on an area of the body, and sometimes by pressing a sharp instrument against the body to move a joint or another body part to determine the level of heat, pressure, electric current, or amount of movement produces a sensation of pain.

Several types of dolorimeter have been developed. A dolorimeter known as the Sonic Palpometer was developed at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. The Sonic Palpometer uses ultrasound and computer technology to automate the technique of palpation to determine the sensitivity of an area of the patient's body.

What are the Most Painful Things You Can Experience?

List is in alphabetical order, not by pain severity level:

Related Publications

Share This Information To:
𝕏.com Facebook Reddit

Page Information, Citing and Disclaimer

Disabled World is an independent disability community founded in 2004 to provide news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, their family and carers. We'd love for you to follow and connect with us on social media!

Cite This Page (APA): Langtree, I. C. (2016, May 20 - Last revised: 2024, June 25). Pain Scale Chart: 1 to 10 Levels. Disabled World. Retrieved July 18, 2024 from

Permalink: <a href="">Pain Scale Chart: 1 to 10 Levels</a>: Pain scale diagram and chart that includes an explanation of each of the one to ten classified pain levels.

Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are never meant to substitute for qualified medical care. Any 3rd party offering or advertising does not constitute an endorsement.