For all that experience, I have never had a good grasp on the dreaded "pain scale," that row of happy through sad faces that's supposed to represent my current levels of pain in answer to the care giver's inquiry.
Finally I found point-by-point explanations of each and every point on the scale. I wish every hospital, every doctor's office, across the country, had a laminated copy of this exact chart, hanging in the office, to put in our hands when asking this question. I believe we all would receive much better quality of care if we all were "speaking the same language" when it came to our pain!
To my surprise, after being told countless times that I have an unusually high pain threshold and tolerance, I found that I often report my pain level as "too high, according to this chart that rates unmedicated natural childbirth as a solid 8. I figure if I often mis-report, you likely do too!
It was also vindicating to see several areas where I, trying to rate my pain purely on a "sliding scale" of percentages of raw pain as relevant to other experiences of pain, also have inaccurately "undervalued" my entire pain experience.
I've printed this out to carry in my purse. Next time I'm asked this question, I can point to a precise answer and let my care-giver see exactly what my answer means.
Thank you Pro Health (link to this image in full size)!!! Take time to read the "pitfalls" information at the end please, too.