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 7 Pains You Cannot Ignore

Experts describe the types of pain that require prompt medical attention.


No. 1: Worst Headache of Your Life

Get medical attention immediately. "If you have a cold, it could be a sinus headache," says Sandra Fryhofer, MD, MACP, spokeswoman for the American College of Physicians. "But you could have a brain hemorrhage or brain tumorbrain tumor. With any pain, unless you're sure of what caused it, get it checked out."

No. 2: Pain or Discomfort in the Chest, Throat, Jaw, Shoulder, Arm, or Abdomen

Chest pain could be pneumoniapneumonia or a heart attackheart attack. But be aware that heart conditions typically appear as discomfort, not pain. "Don't wait for pain," says cardiologist Jerome Cohen, MD. "Heart patients talk about pressure. They'll clench their fist and put it over their chest or say it's like an elephant sitting on their chest."

No. 3: Pain in Lower Back or Between Shoulder Blades

"Most often it's arthritis," says Brangman, who is professor and chief of geriatrics at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y. Other possibilities include a heart attack or abdominal problems. "One danger is aortic dissection, which can appear as either a nagging or sudden pain.

No. 4: Severe Abdominal Pain

Still have your appendix? Don't flirt with the possibility of a rupture. Gallbladder and pancreas problems, stomach ulcersulcers, and intestinal blockages are some other possible causes of abdominal pain that need attention

No 5: Calf Pain

One of the lesser known dangers is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot that can occur in the leg's deep veins

No. 6: Burning Feet or Legs

Nearly one-third of the 20 million Americans who have diabetes are undiagnosed, according to the American Diabetes Association.

No 7: Vague, Combined, or Medically Unexplained Pains

"Various painful, physical symptoms are common in depressiondepression," says psychiatrist Thomas Wise, MD. "Patients will have vague complaints of headaches, abdominal pain, or limb pain, sometimes in combination."

 

 

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