My new “Pain Level Faces” header

Those familiar with rotator cuff surgery will be familiar with my new header. When I was being processed at the hospital for my surgery, the nurse gave a piece of paper with the above images on it. I had never seen anything like it before, but once you begin your journey into rotator cuff surgery, this chart will guide you as your therapist asks you each week (and sometimes more often than that) how your pain level is. They will ask you what your pain level has been in the last 24 hours – the best and the worst.

When Jason (my therapist) would ask me how my pain level was, I used to ask him whether he wanted the pain level without the pain meds, or the one with the pain meds. There is a huge difference between the two. Click on the image below to see the whole pain level scale. It ranges from 0 – 10.


When Jason is working on me, my level is anywhere from 4 to 8, especially now that he has ratcheted up the exercises. When I’m not at therapy, either at home or the center, my worst pain occurs at night – when I’m trying to get some sleep.

So, when people at the therapy center ask me how I’m doing, I’ll say, “Oh, about a 4 today,” but if I’m having a really good day, it could be a 2. But, that is a LOT better than where I was earlier on.

This entry was posted in Medical, pain, pain level, physical therapy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My new “Pain Level Faces” header

  1. Gayle says:

    Thank you for this. It is very helpful. I really like the description of how your pain interferes with tasks and concentration. Great tool.

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