How I Score My Level of Sickle Cell Pain | Sickle Cell Diaries

Sickle cell sufferer in pain

Sometimes you need to let others know how severe your sickle cell pain is, particularly if you are in Hospital. I seldom get pains that require me to be be hospitalised, which works great for me as I prefer to treat my pain as much as I can before seeking any kind of help. However, I do get many aches and pains throughout the week that come and go, and these pains range from low to high in severity.

As I’ve started keeping a pain diary to show my consultant, I’ve come up with a scoring system for logging my level of pain. When you’re in hospital they’ll usually ask you to score your pain level from one to ten, and in that case it’s easier to just give them a number. But in my personal pain diary I simply this process by noting Low, Medium or High. Each of those scores corresponds to a range of numbers from the 1-10 scale.

Here is how my Low, High and Medium summarises my 1-10 scale.

Low = 1-3
Medium = 4-7
High = 8-10

Obviously, If I am in hospital I will give the specific number. But for the purpose of my diary summarising from low to high helps. It can also help in reverse; this is because now that I know roughly what the severity of each number range feels like.

Previously when I was asked how to score my pain in hospital, I found it hard to attribute it to a number. Sickle Cell pain is so hard to explain to people that assigning a simple number can be difficult. Not to mention that the pain is also unpredictable. It can escalate from a 4 to a 10 in a matter of seconds. Communicating how your sickle cell pain feels will never be simple, but because I’ve been summarising my pain levels from low – high in my diary, I have a better understanding of what each level feels like and it helps me pin-point a number faster when I’m asked to score my pain.

Also, there are cases when a pain feels more sever when I move than when I sit or lie still. In this case I would score the pain based on how it feels when I move, as that is the most severe level of the pain at that moment. Sometimes it’s important to give an accurate score for your level of pain as this may determine what level of treatment you’re given. But if your pain is in the high category, it’s likely that everyone around you will know it.