Pain Scale for Neck 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.

  • Mild headache
  • Mild nonspecific neck pain
  • Neck stiffnessa
No Pain
Faint Pain

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

Mild Pain

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

Moderate Pain

Uncomfortable but tolerable level of pain in your neck 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. At this point you should evaluate your posture throughout the day.

Uncomfortable Pain Level / Pain Score
Interferes with many activities of daily living and requires changes to daily lifestyle to manage pain symptoms. Neck pain is more noticeable and it becomes increasingly important to seek treatments.

  • Degenerative neck disease
  • Migraine
  • Osteoporosis of the neck
  • Piercing neck pain from injury
  • Tension headache
  • TMJ disorder
  • Whiplash
Uncomfortable Pain

Moderate level of neck pain that is constantly on your mind. Over time and untreated, this level of pain will impede your ability to live a normal life.

Distracting Pain

Strong deep, penetrating neck 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 neck pain that controls your mindset and psychological outlook on your body's ability to recover. At this pain score, you are likely seeking clinical expertise for a diagnosis and treatment regime (eg. physical therapy, pain killers, pain injections).

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.

  • Disabling pain
  • Neck immobility
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Radicular pain of the neck
  • Severe migraine
  • Severe vertebral osteoporosis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spinal trauma
  • Severe whiplash
  • Wry neck
Unmanagable Pain

The level of radiating neck 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.

Intense Pain

Your pain is so intense that you can no longer think clearly and are experiencing personality changes. Your neck is experiencing shooting pain that results in numbness, tingling, and extreme discomfort where it impedes your ability to be mobile and active. Controlling this pain could be difficult as there may be neuropathic pain (nerve damage).

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.