Not every pain requires immediate special attention, but there are some that require immediate attention, especially those accompanied by fever or that suddenly occur. Here are some pains that should be cause for immediate concern and medical attention:
• Severe/thunderclap head pain
Could be: An aneurysm, a swollen area in an artery
Unlike a normal headache that usually goes away with over-the-counter medicines, the worst headache you have had needs immediate attention. Call 911 as a burst aneurysm can damage your brain within minutes and can be fatal. Don’t drive yourself to the hospital.
How can you tell it isn’t a migraine? A migraine makes you feel nauseous, sensitive to light and sound, and progresses gradually.
Your doctor will probably take a CT scan to check for bleeding in your brain, if it appears to be hemorrhaging you will need immediate surgery to repair the blood vessel.
Don’t swallow aspirin as it can increase bleeding.
• Sharp ache between the shoulder blades
Could be: Heart attack or Arthritis
This is more common in women and can be accompanied by jaw pain, shortness of breath, and nausea. A muscular pain is a dull ache while the pain of heart attack is sharp, sudden onset. Call an ambulance immediately as they are set up to do triage immediately. Don’t drive to the hospital yourself, call an ambulance.
• Middle back pain with fever
Could be: Kidney infection
Don’t take back pain coupled with fever and nausea lightly. This happens more often in women when bacteria from the urinary tract spreads to the kidneys causing a severe infection. This might start with UTI symptoms, like pain during urination, which is often ignored. If it stays untreated it may damage your kidneys, call your doctor for a simple test and possible antibiotic therapy.
• Dull pain that moves to the lower right of the abdomen
Could be: Appendicitis
If you have this pain go immediately to the ER. Usually the pain will start from the center and gets worse over a period of 24 hours as it moves to the right. You may require immediate surgery for your appendix. You should know that if your appendix bursts, bacteria from your colon can spread to the abdomen, infecting your entire body.
• Menstrual cramps that don’t improve with medication
Could be: Endometriosis
If medication offers no relief it could be due to the lining of the uterus growing outside of it, this condition is common and can hamper fertility. Women who suffer from severe pain during their periods may have it. Consult your doctor right away as it is a serious issue. If pain persists even after taking medications, you may need to have the tissue surgically removed.
• Tooth pain that wakes you up
Could be: Teeth grinding
Regular clenching can cause tooth nerves to become inflamed and enamel to rot away. This can also lead to cracked teeth down to the root which leads to extraction. You should call your doctor ASAP to treat this condition, which is often caused by stress. Your doctor may want you to wear a night guard to prevent clenching. If your tooth is already infected you might need a root canal to remove the bacteria.
• Back pain with tingling toes
Could be: Slipped disc
This pain can’t be treated with heating pads and your toes often feel numb or tingling. This can happens when you lift a heavy object, like furniture. If the heating pad does not seem to be working you could have a disc (one of the spongy rings that cushions the bones in your spine) pressing on the spinal nerve. If it stays untreated it may cause permanent damage to the nerve. See your healthcare professional right away.