Seven Types of Pain You should Never Ignore

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Seven Types of Pain You should Never Ignore
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We often try to avoid visiting the doctor for life’s little aches and pains. After all, some amount of pain is to be expected over the course of our lives, whether due to injury or illness or simply over-exerting ourselves while exercising or going about daily tasks like gardening.

In many cases, small amounts of pain due to exertion or other normal causes will ebb and flow on their own, without any need for medical intervention. However, there are seven types of pain that should never, under any circumstances, be ignored. Let’s take a look at them.

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Pain #1: Burning Pain or Numbness in the Legs or Feet

A burning pain in the legs or feet could be neuropathy, and specifically, diabetic neuropathy.

Nearly a quarter of the 23 million Americans who have diabetes are undiagnosed, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Some of the symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Constant thirst and hunger
  • Itchy dry skin
  • Slow-to-heal wounds or cuts
  • Frequent and urgent urination
  • Blurred vision

For other signs of diabetes, read my article about the 13 early warning signs of diabetes you shouldn’t ignore.

If you have any of these symptoms and also have a burning sensation or a numb/tingling sensation in the legs or feet, you could be diabetic—bring your concerns to your doctor’s attention as soon as possible.

Pain #2: Unexplained, Persistent Pain in the Chest, Throat, Jaw, Arm, or Belly

Most people are well aware that chest pain could mean a heart problem and even a heart attack (you need to be aware of the 10 symptoms of heart attack).

However, pains—even minor discomforts—in the chest, throat, jaw, arm or belly could also indicate serious cardiac problems.

Some people with heart problems mistake their initial symptoms for stomach or intestinal problems. Heart trouble can even mimic simple acid reflux. If you experience unexplained, persistent discomfort in any of these areas, and you know you have high risk of cardiac problems, please visit a doctor.

Pain #3: An Excruciating Headache

Let’s be honest: headaches are a nuisance that we all have to live with at some time or another.

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Often, headaches happen due to easily remedied issues like dehydration, sinus congestion or tension, and can be solved with drinking lots of water, using a neti pot, and taking a time-out to meditate on a regular basis.

However, if you’re gulping down fluids and keeping calm but your headache still isn’t going away, it’s best if you mention it to your physician. An awful headache (the worst headache of your life) that just won’t budge may be a sign of brain bleeding, which requires immediate emergency care.

Pain #4: Sudden or Nagging Back Pain

We’ve all had back pain at one time or another, due to sitting long time on the computer, poor posture, working hard in the garden or starting a new excessive program. Backache is one of the most common physical complaints, and many people suffer from it chronically. I mentioned in the past the best 13 exercise to prevent back pain.

However, a sudden ache in the lower back or the area between the shoulders could indicate a deadly tear in the aorta, the main blood vessel running to the heart.

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Such a tear—called an aortic dissection—is critically serious, and needs to be attended to by medical professionals right away. If you have a backache or a pain between the shoulders that can’t be accounted for and you are at risk of having conditions such as high blood pressure, circulation problems, smoking, and diabetes, please see a doctor immediately.

Pain #5: Extreme Abdominal Pain

Sudden, sharp and extreme abdominal pains should be investigated by a doctor right away.

Conditions like gallbladder issues (including gallstones), pancreatitis, a stomach or intestinal ulcer, and an inflamed or burst appendix can manifest as difficult abdominal pain.

These are not issues that can be ignored away, and require treatment—in the form of medication or surgery—in order to correct. Don’t gamble with your health. If you have this symptom, talk to a doctor.

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Pain #6: Pain or Swelling in the Calves

An annoying calf cramp happens to everyone once in a while, and I wrote about it in my previous article about nighttime leg cramps. However, when it is accompanied by swelling or remains as a constant ache, calf pain can indicate something far more nefarious than a simple “charley horse” (the common name for a muscle spasm), it could be deep vein thrombosis, or DVT.

DVT is when a clot forms in one of the leg’s deep veins, and the danger arises when the clot breaks away from the leg vein and travels to the lungs, becoming a pulmonary embolism—a condition which can turn deadly at the drop of a hat.

If you have pain or swelling, or both, in your calves, please see a doctor to rule out DVT (especially if you’ve been flying as DVT is one of the 10 harmful things that flying does to your body).

Other warning signs of DVT include:

  • Warmth in the skin of the affected leg.
  • Red or discolored skin in the affected leg.
  • Visible surface veins.

Pain #7: Odd, Vague, Unexplained Pains or Combined Pains

A combination of subtle yet chronic pains or odd pains that can’t be medically accounted for could indicate a problem lying beneath the surface of the skin and bone: depression.

Depression can cause strange pain sensations to arise in the body, and although these pains can’t be explained by other medical phenomena, depression is a common cause of chronic pain.

If you have annoying pains that have no cause or a combination of pains that arise for no apparent reason, you may be suffering from clinical depression. Other symptoms of depression must be present before a diagnosing depression, such as losing interest in activities you used to do, inability to work or think effectively or not wanting to socialize.

Talk to your doctor to learn more about resources you can turn to in case of depression, such as counselors who can point you in the right direction and help you become pain-free.  You can also read my article about the best natural treatments for depression.

Read these related articles:
1. Lower Left Abdominal Pain – Causes and Possible Treatments
2. Ovary Pain and Lower Pelvic Pain – 13 Possible Causes
3. The Top 16 Essential Oils to Relieve Pain and Inflammation

Resources:
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7 Responses to Seven Types of Pain You should Never Ignore

  1. Angela says:

    i have chronic pain issues from old injuries post MVA. when something serious comes up, it’s hard to tell through the chronic pain. i recently had a low back MRI for serious low back pain and falls. turns out i have some kidney issues going on including a 2cm stone in my R kidney and cysts in both. just found out this week so i’ll see what my PCP is going to do.

    • Helen says:

      I had pain that was disabeling all over and was diagnosed with PMR and was put on Cordesone 40mg’s
      I would ween off to 20 15 10 and maintain on 5 mg’s a day If the pain comes back 40mg’s
      This was the temporary cure in a week but had to stay on it after a biopsy of my arteries in my
      temple.. POLY MYALGIA Rumatica. You don’t mention this and it is often mis diagnoised as depression.. I was never drpressed and I was sent to an arthritis specialist.. I have had a reacurrance 2 times.. This is missed alot in women 50 and older.. Please write up on this…It is very previllent in Slovic women more so than men…although they can get it also… I bless the PA who diagnosed it.

  2. Ingrid says:

    Was good reading your article, just realising how much pain I’m in everyday of my life for over ten years. Specialist still can’t find out what the reason is for all the pain and swelling in my legs and feet after I was involved in a vehicle accident. Someone told me it could be my spinal injuries that works in the legs.

  3. Jeny says:

    Thank you for all the information, it is very useful. For the past 3 to 4 years or so I have been suffering from an unexplained pain in my chest which has increased in the length of time it lasts each year. And its been about a year that I go through sudden backpains. Can you please suggest any home remedies that I could include in my diet and any exercises that strengthen the heart and the back. Thank you..

    • Jenny Hills says:

      Hi Jeny, you must remember that I’m not a doctor, so it would be a good idea to check your pain with your doctor to rule out any serious condition.
      1. As for exercises to strengthen the heart – See what WebMD website wrote about it HERE.
      2. Exercises for the back – see my article with illustrations HERE. I have exercises for other body parts (inc. illustrations) which you can do at home. Use the “search” option in the website.
      3. Read my article about The Best Foods and Herbs for Healthy Heart.

  4. Regina says:

    I experienced severe pain in my chest and back that caused me to be hospitalized fir one day. The doctoronly gave me BIOGESIC. No diagnosis was presented to me but was given hepertensive meds and for my cholesterol. However, a second opinion indicates that I have COSTOCHONDRITIS. I gave my other doctor the idea since it appears that my upper chest is swollen. He agreed and gave me meds for pain and inflamation.

    The need to continue my meds for hypertenstion is given. But my main concern regarding the pain I experience when I’m exhausted after doing physical activities gives me a feeling of uncomfortable and fear. Fear that it might be heart problem.

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