by APRIL McCARTHY; PreventDisease
Popping a few pills might temporarily alleviate pain in the short-term but ignoring the symptoms for long can prove harmful to your body. Pain is a warning sign that something is wrong. It's when you don't heed what the body is saying, that you suffer adverse consequences. Knowing the common pains that you need to watch out for will ensure that you won't regret having missed the signs when you develop a more complicated condition later on.
1) CHEST PAIN
There are many possible causes for chest pain. Some are mildly inconvenient such as heartburn, reflux, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease ) while others are a lot more serious.
Lack of exercise or obesity can lead to chest pain when you exert your body too much. But if you are generally fit and yet experience discomfort in the chest even after a little exertion, that's when you need to worry. Pain, pressure, or a squeezing feeling in your chest is a classic sign of a heart attack. It means your heart isn’t getting enough oxygen from your blood. It usually hurts worse when you’re active. "Sometimes people will describe it as an elephant sitting on their chest," says Pam R. Taub, MD, a cardiologist in San Diego, CA. "It's a heaviness, and a very severe pain, and it’s often associated with shortness of breath." Of course, not all pains in the chest or arm are pointers to heart attacks, but it makes a lot of sense to consult a doctor to rule out heart attack if you have pain in the chest, arm or jaw. If you often feel tired or breathless even after walking for a short distance, do consult a doctor.
Generally, discomfort associated with heart diseases affects the upper chest, left side of the chest, throat, jaw, left shoulder or arm, and might be accompanied by nausea and sweating. If you are a diabetic, there is an urgent need to be cautious. Diabetics are known to suffer from heart attacks without the classical symptoms mentioned above.
2) MILD, FREQUENT HEADACHE
Headache is an often neglected problem. If the pattern of headaches changes considerably or the headache is new, then it needs to be evaluated. Headache which follows a fall or an injury (even momentary loss of consciousness), needs to be investigated.
"Most people worry that it's a brain tumor," says Gretchen E. Tietjen, MD. She’s chair of neurology at the University of Toledo Medical Center in Ohio.
But chances are, it’s not. "A lot of the brain doesn't have nerve endings," Tietjen says. "So most headaches are going to be caused by something else."
Constant headache that grossly disturbs your daily routine should not be ignored. Severe headache is generally associated with nausea and vomiting. Pins and needles sensation (tingling, numbness) along with some weakness in hands or fingers, herald the sign of an impending stroke and should be promptly evaluated. If the headache is accompanied by a cold, it might be a sign of a sinus headache.
3) BACK ACHE
It is probably the commonest and the most ignored of the lot. Most of the time, backache is a consequence of faulty sitting position. It usually resolves on its own. If the pain persists despite routine efforts to alleviate the pain or if it disturbs your lifestyle, you need to be careful. Pain experienced while climbing up or down or passing blood in urine, are early signs of kidney stones. Repeated back pain may be a sign of a spine problem, problems with internal organs or a preliminary sign of slip disc.
Often, back pain comes from normal wear and tear on your muscles. But in serious cases, it can also be a sign of these conditions:
- Ruptured disc
- Kidney stones
Similarly, if you feel a tingling sensation or numbness or a needle like sensation in your legs, accompanied by muscle weakness, don't delay in going to an orthopaedician or back specialist. These symptoms, if treated on time, give much better results than when treated later.
4) UPPER NECK PAIN
By far the most common cause of a stiff neck is a muscle sprain or muscle strain, particularly to the levator scapula muscle. But when we ignore the slight tingling in fingers or muscle weakness. But when the pain becomes too much to bear, cervical spondylosis is always something that must be suspected. The early signs are ominous enough. You might be doing some regular activity, say making tea, when suddenly you feel weak and unable to hold the cup. By and by, the pain increases and you feel weakness in your hands accompanied by some pain in the neck.
5) ABDOMINAL PAIN
This type of pain is frequently a benign complaint, but can also herald serious acute pathologies. At least some type of abdominal pain is present in more than 60 percent of an otherwise healthy adolescent and adult population.
Abdominal pain is commonly felt among women during their menstrual cycle. Most people simply take a painkiller or anti-spasmodic tablets to quell the cramps, but in the long run, the habit can cause harm to the kidneys. It is best to consult a gynaecologist if the pain is persistent and take longterm medication than go for short cuts. Apart from this, pain in the abdomen can range from serious ailments such as acute appendicitis or less threatening conditions such as heartburn, reflux, gastroenteritis etc. Severe abdominal pain may also be a sign of intestinal blockages, stomach ulcers or pancreas and gall bladder problems.