Pain Scale for Back Pain

No Pain
No Pain

Mild Pain Level / Pain Score:

Does not interfere with most activities and is easy to manage both physically and psychologically.  You can adapt to these levels of pain with low doses of medication (eg. acetaminophen) or mild aids such as pain patches, ice packs, or heating pads.



  • Back abrasions
  • Back abrasion
  • Muscle spasm

Faint Pain:

Your mobility and activities of daily living are in no way impacted.  You feel no need to seek treatment or medical attention.


Mild Pain:

You are aware of the back pain but it is very easy to ignore.  You do not notice any restriction in movement of your back.


Moderate Pain:

Uncomfortable but tolerable level of pain in your back that is noticeable but easy to forget or ignore over time.  You are able to continue daily activities and your quality of life is not yet impacted. 

Uncomfortable Pain Level / Pain Score:


Interferes with many activities of daily living and requires changes to daily lifestyle to manage pain symptoms.   back pain is more noticeable and it becomes increasingly important to seek treatments.



  • Deep lumbar pain
  • Deep muscle strain
  • Piercing ligament strain
  • Microscopic muscle tear
  • Sacroiliac joint disease

Uncomfortable Pain:

This level of throbbing back pain that is constantly on your mind.  Over time and untreated, this level of pain will impede your ability to live a normal life.  Pain that has started in your  back may now be spreading to your hips, groin, arms, legs or upper back.


Distracting Pain:

Strong deep, penetrating leg pain that makes it difficult to manage your activities of daily living.  The pain becomes consistently noticeable and you become more anxious and psychologically impacted by your pain symptoms. 


Distressing Pain:

Intense pain that controls your mindset and psychological outlook on your body's ability to recover.  Severe joint pain in the knee, thigh, calf or foot may fall into this category of pain.  At this pain score, you are likely seeking clinical expertise for a diagnosis and treatment regime. 

Severe Pain Level / Pain Score:


At this stage you are no longer able to engage in normal activities and seeking support from a caregiver, stronger medications, are in the market for potential surgery, or are seeking less invasive surgical solutions like spinal cord stimulation to help improve your ability to function independently.



  • Bulging disc
  • Cauda equing syndrome
  • Crushed back
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Crushed vertebra
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated disc
  • Severe fall
  • Severe car accident
  • Slipped discs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spinal trauma

Intense Pain:

The level of radiating back pain is completely dominating your mindset and outlook on recovery.  You are reaching a point where your pain level is impeding your ability to operate daily functions and cognitive thinking.  Management of this level of pain requires more medical expertise, prescription drugs, and the level of severity has you considering surgery (eg. spinal cord stimulation) as a treatment option.


Unmanageable Pain:

Your pain is so intense that you can no longer think clearly and are experiencing personality changes.  Your back is experiencing shooting pain that results in numbness, tingling, and extreme discomfort where it impedes your ability to be mobile and active. 


Severe Pain:

This level of excruciating pain is so intense that you are unable to tolerate the level of pain and are seeking stronger medications, surgery, and emergency psychological intervention to manage the pain.


Debilitating Pain:

This unimaginable level is so intense you may go unconscious.  This type of pain is likely incurred during a severe accident (eg. spinal trauma) and your body is unable to recover on its own.  Emergency treatment is needed.