8 Warning Signs of Pain When Your Body Is Trying to Tell You Something

Sep 24 2013 - 10:42am
Pain management

Do you ever have a nagging headache, backache or stomachache that you tend to ignore and just "tough it out" by waiting for it to go away without doing something about it? Well, according to a recent episode of The Dr. Oz Show, ignoring pain that you may be feeling could be ignoring warning signs that your body is trying to tell you something about your health that needs to be taken care of immediately.

Listed below is a summary of 8 warning signs of pain that Dr. Oz tells his viewers that you cannot afford to ignore:

Pain Warning Sign #1: Sudden Severe Headache

If you ever develop a sudden onset of a severe headache that goes beyond any headaches that you normally experience, you may be developing a ruptured blood vessel that is responsible for feeding oxygenated blood to the brain―a condition that doctors refer to as a brain aneurysm.

If you experience this type of pain, then there is no time to make an appointment to see your physician--call 911 and get rushed to the hospital as soon as possible.

Pain Warning Sign #2: An Achy Calf

An achy pain or cramping sensation in your calf could be a sign that you have developed a blood clot in a deep vein in one of your legs—a condition doctors refer to as deep vein thrombosis or DVT.

The danger here is that not only is the clot blocking normal circulation that along with the pain can result in redness and swelling of a foot and/or lower leg, but the clot could break free and make its way to the lungs where it can then result in chest pain, difficulty breathing and a heart attack.

If you experience this kind of pain you should seek medical help immediately to assess your condition for this lethal sign of pain.

Pain Warning Sign #3: Burning in Your Chest or Abdomen

We all experience heartburn at some time in our lives—especially following a heavy, spicy meal and too much to drink. But if your heartburn persists and does not respond to OTC medications for treating indigestion and you notice that you have dark tarry stool and may be losing weight, then you could be developing an ulcer.

Peptic ulcers literally are eating a hole through your stomach and need to stopped and your stomach given time to heal. When left untreated, that minor heartburn may increase and lead to more damage that can escalate to heavy internal bleeding, infection and even cancer.

While not usually an immediate condition requiring a trip to the ER, if you do have persistent heartburn you should schedule an appointment with your physician to have it evaluated.

Pain Warning Sign #4: Arm or Shoulder Pain

A sign of pain that most people associate with a heart attack is pain in the chest referred to as "angina" that results when blood is not making it through a blocked artery that is responsible for feeding the heart muscle.

However, other signs of pain and discomfort include:

• Arm pain that feels like it is shooting from your chest to your arm, and typically on the left side
• Profuse sweating
• Pressure in the chest
• Pain radiating to the jaw or ear
• Fatigue
• Shortness of breath
• Lightheadedness and/or nausea

If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Studies have shown that the most important factor for surviving a heart attack is the time it took to get medical attention to limit the amount of damage done to the heart muscle.

Pain Warning Sign #5: Upper Right Abdominal Pain

Experiencing pain in the upper right side of your abdomen under your ribcage could be a sign of a gallbladder problem often due to gallstones that block the gallbladder's duct. If the pain persists and is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or fever, you could have “cholecystitis”―an inflammation of the gallbladder.

A more serious sign of gallbladder trouble is that of jaundice―a yellow discoloration of your skin or the whites of your eyes that may indicate a serious infection of the common bile duct called “cholangitis.”

Both cholecystitis and cholangitis are medical emergencies that typically require surgery immediately.