Nobody really likes pain, with the slim exception of masochists. So when we're in pain, especially when we don't know the cause, most of us go to a doctor; or we go to a dentist if it's a tooth that's bothering us.
Unfortunately, unlike voltage or velocity, it's difficult, maybe impossible -- to measure pain. It's too subjective. To get around this, healthcare staff routinely ask patients to rate their pain on scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being little or no pain, and 10 being unbearable pain. According to the Mayo Clinic, it should breakdown something like this :
0-1: No pain
2-3: Mild pain
4-5: Discomforting - moderate pain
6-7: Distressing - severe pain
8-9: Intense - very severe pain
10: Unbearable pain
But when you're sitting on the examination table after enduring days of enough pain to render you bedridden, you're ready to call it an 11, maybe a 14, if that will get them to prescribe a powerful enough pain-killer or make your medical condition their top priority.
When I find myself being asked that question, I always want an example for each level. Where does a bee sting fall? How much pain does slamming your finger in a car door rate? Biting your tongue? Eating ice cream with an expose dental nerve? And how could I be in the doctor's office if the pain was unbearable? How would I be bearing it?
Can't they just take my word for it: It really hurts! Now make it better.
Anyone out there with a better way to rate pain?