Some people have unbelievably high pain tolerance. While some others are just amazingly stubborn when it comes to admitting they’re in pain. And while you don’t need to rush to the hospital for every ache, sore or twinge, there are some pains that are more worrying than you’d initially think.
When these pains come suddenly or if they are accompanied by fever, it’s better to err on the side of caution and seek immediate medical attention.
Here are 7 of those pains that you definitely shouldn’t ignore if you value your health and your life.
1. A sharp ache between the shoulder blades
Why you should pay heed: You could be having a heart attack.
You may already be familiar with the usual signs of a heart attack, like chest pressure. What you may not know is that 30% of people who have heart attacks don’t get that classic sign. In women, the following signs are more common: pain between shoulder blades, jaw pain, shortness of breath and nausea. So if you feel any of them? You might want to see a doctor immediately.
How do you differentiate plain muscle pain and heart attack pain? The former is like a dull ache. The latter is sharp and sudden. If you experience that, call 911. Don’t risk driving to the hospital alone. Call and wait for an ambulance to arrive instead.
2. A thunderclap headache
Why you should pay heed: You could have an aneurysm.
Headaches aren’t anything new to a lot of people. Many get them, whether mild or moderate. There are even some who suffer the crushing pain of migraines periodically. But if the headache you get is so sudden and quite simply the worst you’ve ever had, call 911 ASAP.
Migraines are characterized by a feeling of nausea and a sensitivity to light and sound that gradually progresses. So if the pain is more sudden, it’s possible that you have an aneurysm, instead.
Swift action is needed because aneurysms could rupture and bleeding can happen. When it happens in the brain, your life can be saved only by sealing off the weakened spot. You have to undergo surgery right away, otherwise, you could actually die. Ruptured aneurysms bleed into the brain, making treatment difficult at best and impossible at worst.
3. Dull stomach pain to the lower right of the abdomen
Why you should pay heed: You could have appendicitis.
With appendicitis, the pain starts at the center of the stomach. This pain gradually moves to the right. Pressing down on the stomach won’t hurt as much as long as you let go quickly. But press even a bit on the right side and the pain can be excruciating.
Appendicitis is dangerous because if the appendix ruptures, bacteria will burst forth into your bloodstream and infect your whole body. So if you feel pain in your lower right abdomen, go straight to the ER.
You can also try doing this test to check if you have an irritated appendix: Bring your knee to your head. Have someone push down with resistance. If that hurts, then you definitely need to be looked at.
4. Piercing tooth pain
Why you should pay heed: You could be grinding your teeth in your sleep.
There are a lot of people who think grinding their teeth at night isn’t really cause for alarm. After all, besides being a minor annoyance to the person sleeping next to you, what harm can it do?
Really, the answer to that is a lot. Frequent grinding of teeth can inflame the nerves within the teeth. It can wear away the teeth’s protective enamel. One may even end up cracking his teeth down to the roots, thereby necessitating an extraction.
So if you have intense tooth pain, see a dentist immediately. You may need a night guard to prevent the grinding.
5. Pain in the middle of the back accompanied by fever
Why you should pay heed: You could have a kidney infection.
A temperature, some nausea plus back pain doesn’t always a stomach bug make. Sometimes, bacteria joins the party, infiltrates the urinary tract and spreads to the kidneys. When that happens, what you get is an infection that’s more severe. Sometimes, the symptoms start with simple pain during urination. Although more often than not, people don’t notice anything until it’s too late.
Women are usually more prone to UTI. UTIs, of course, are a precursor to kidney infection. Left untreated, it can result to the kidney shutting down. When that happens, pain can be too severe to ignore.
Treatment usually includes the use of antibiotics.
6. Menstrual cramps that isn’t helped by OTC meds
Why you should pay heed: You can have endometriosis.
When periods come with some pain, women usually just pop a pill and the pain goes away. Sometimes, though, the pain doesn’t go away with the over-the-counter drugs. In some cases, not only does the pain not go away, it actually gets worse. If that’s what’s happening, you could be looking at endometriosis.
Endometriosis, wherein the lining of the uterus grows elsewhere, can impede fertility. Unfortunately, it’s also more common than people think. Between 40% and 60% of women who experience pain during their periods may have it. Treatment usually includes oral contraceptives. The worst cases, however, may require the removal of the tissue surgically.
7. A tender spot on the calf
Why you should pay heed: It could be deep vein thrombosis.
Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a blood clot deep in the veins that’s characterized by pain in a small area of the leg that may also ne red and warm to the touch. DVT is more common in people taking birth control pills or those who recently took a long plane or car ride. If your leg isn’t swollen, you probably don’t have to see a doctor right away. But if it is, or the pain is getting worse, then a trip to the ER must be your priority. The clot can increase in size. IT could also break off, move to another area (like the lungs) and stop your blood flow. If the clot finds itself in your heart, you could suffer a heart attack. If it goes to the brain, you could have a stroke. So don’t dally and get to the hospital pronto.
The above pains may not seem too severe to you, but you should definitely pay attention to your symptoms. Just because you can take the pain doesn’t mean that your life isn’t in any danger.