I know a woman who has such high pain tolerance that she didn’t realize that she was already undergoing labor for her second child. And I know one guy who absolutely refuses to admit he’s in pain. He once suffered a broken wrist and walked all the way to the ER some 6 blocks away by himself, his arm swollen to double its usual size.
No, I didn’t mention them to start a contest. My point is some people have unbelievably high pain tolerance. These people find no need to rush to the hospital for every ache, sore or twinge. However, if you’re serious about exercising and getting fit, there will be times that you will feel some pain. It’s important to be aware that some of these pains and aches are more worrying than you’d initially think.
Here are 7 pains that you definitely shouldn’t ignore.
- Sharp Ache between Shoulder Blades
Pay Attention: It could be a heart attack.
The usual sign of a heart attack is pressure on the chest. Many people know that. What they don’t know is that in at least 30% of heart attack cases, this classic sign is absent. In women especially, the following signs are more common: pain between shoulder blades, jaw pain, shortness of breath and nausea.
If you’ve been working out, or even if you haven’t, and suddenly feel any or all of them, consider seeing a doctor at once.
Plain muscle pain vs Heart attack pain: If the pain feels like a dull ache, it’s probably just muscle pain. If it’s more sharp and sudden, call 911.
- Thunderclap Headache
Pay Attention: It could be an aneurysm.
Headaches are commonplace. One can’t possibly go through life without experiencing it at least once. It could be a mild or moderate one. Some are unfortunate to get severe migraines and experience crushing pain.
If the headache is so sudden, however, or if you feel like it’s the worst you’ve ever got, seek medical attention immediately. You may have an aneurysm.
Aneurysms can rupture. When they do, bleeding happens. When it does that in the brain, the only way life can be saved is by sealing off the weakened spot through surgery. Ruptured aneurysms that bleed into the brain are difficult to treat at best and impossible at worst.
Migraines vs Aneurysm: People with migraines usually feel nauseous. There’s also sensitivity to light and sound that usually get worse the longer you nurse the migraine. An aneurysm will come with sudden instead of gradual pain.
- Dull Stomach Pain to the Lower Right of the Abdomen
Pay Attention: It could be appendicitis.
Appendicitis is dangerous. A ruptured appendix will let lose a torrent of bacteria into the bloodstream. This will infect the entire body.
How can you tell if you have appendicitis?
The pain will start at the center of the stomach. It will then move to the right gradually. If you press on the stomach and let go quickly, it won’t hurt very much. However, if you press even with the slightest pressure on the right side, the pain will be excruciating.
Another test you can do is to bring your knee to your head. Have someone push you down with resistance. If it hurts, then get yourself looked at.
- Piercing tooth pain
Pay Attention: You could be grinding your teeth in your sleep.
Is teeth grinding really a cause of alarm? Sure, it can be annoying for the person sleeping next to you, but is it really harmful?
The short answer is yes. Frequent teeth grinding can inflame the nerves within the teeth and wear away protective enamel. Some even end up cracking their teeth down to the roots. When that happens, extraction may be necessary.
- Middle-Back Pain with Fever
Pay Attention: It could be a kidney infection.
Okay. A slight fever, nausea and back pain could easily be a simple stomach bug. Sometimes, though, bacteria decide to join this little party and infiltrate the urinary tract. Then it spreads to the kidneys. Ending? A very severe infection.
Most of the time, people don’t even notice this until it’s too late. Symptoms start with pain during urination. That makes people think it’s just another case of urinary tract infection (UTI). Of course, UTIs are a precursor to kidney infection. If left untreated, kidneys can shut down.
- Menstrual Cramps
Pay Attention: It could be endometriosis.
Periods can be a pain, figuratively and literally. The literal pain, however, usually goes away by popping a pill. It’s when it doesn’t that it’s a concern. Sometimes the pain even gets worse. That’s when you have to consider endometriosis.
Endometriosis can impede fertility. It affects between 40% and 60% of women who feel pain during their periods. Oral contraceptives are the usual treatment but worst cases require the surgical removal of the tissue.
- Tender Spot on the Calf
Pay Attention: It could be deep vein thrombosis.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that happens deep in the veins. It’s usually characterized by pain in a small area of the leg. The spot may be red and warm to the touch.
DVT is more common in:
- people taking birth control pills
- people who recently took a long plane ride
- people who recently took a long car ride
What to look out for: swollen leg, pain that’s getting worse
The clot can increase in size or break off, travel to another area and impede blood flow. This is why it’s bad:
- clot to the heart = heart attack
- clot to the brain = stroke
The above pains may not seem severe, but when they are sudden or if they are accompanied by fever, err on the side of caution and seek immediate medical attention.