What does pain feel like?


I often wonder how what I feel as pain compares to what others feel as pain.

Other people and myself use similar words to describe different types of pain, such as “a thin sharp knife piercing my hand” and “a gnawing grinding pain in my chest” so I know the pain I have is the same types of pains others have. Putting words to pain is helpful in this way, as doctors can get a sense of what could be going on according to the types of pain felt and where.

I am also getting better at categorising my own pains. Thudding pain, dull heavy ache and sparks of nerve pain are all very different in feeling and in how demanding they are of my attention.

However, the intensity of pain according to my own head’s reading of that pain is a lot harder to compare to how others interpret pain.

Pain scale

When someone else says they are in terrible pain and are at an 8, are they at 8 on my 1-10 scale of pain?

or would I call that a 6? or a 10?

Am I weak and basically a hypochondriac with all my whinging about pain?


Am I bearing a lot of severe pain, more than most would get up and go to work with?

or maybe somewhere in the middle?

Apparently my body perceives more pain that it should. That is part of fibromyalgia. I know that to be true because sometimes a child grabs me on the arm to gain attention and it hurts enough to make me wince and tell them not to, when it’s really an innocent action that is probably done to other teachers without this reaction. I bruise easily too, so I see the physical sign of that child’s grab as well.

Today the pain was bad, especially in my legs and hands. I think it really was bad and I perceived it as even badder. Double whammy. Maybe some of the worse pain I’ve had while at work and walking around. Like always, I didn’t explain it to anyone and I didn’t go home. I started walking more like a hip swinging waddling duck this evening. Feeling like I couldn’t cover it up started getting me down and made me feel small and unimportant.

The worst part of this is, the pain in my legs is becoming unbearable and I have no choice but to push through it and try to cover it up all over again tomorrow.

Hope is what gets me through. Hope that my current tests are going to show something. Hope that my Dr tells me something I can bear and hope he can give me some medication that helps. One thing is for certain, after tomorrow I have 5 days to recover and work all this diagnosis stuff out before I have to work again.

fibro and pain perception


About lisasretro

I'm a 41 year old teacher, single and have one adult son. I'm currently finding a new me and new style of living while learning to manage chronic illness. In short, my mind is over active and my body can't keep up. I love art, retro and vintage stuff, eclectic fashion and travelling anywhere and everywhere. I often also get all caught up in social justice issues, my fave being marriage equality, until it happens here in Aus. Bucket list enabled, hold on tight.

2 responses »

  1. I love your blog, I have just started reading it and I am so glad to find a fellow Chroic Pain Warrior! I am sorry that you are a member if this club, but I hope to learn from you and I hope I can somehow share things with you. I read this post and it was like reading something I say on a daily to so many people in person or online. I really enjoy your blog and I wish only the best for you as you go through life.

    Thank you for being such a fresh, lively spririt within you I hope and pray that you get more relief and you have many low pain and less flare days. I am so glad that we have meet

    Liked by 1 person

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