Why You Should Never Ignore Symptoms of Pain

Why You Should Never Ignore Symptoms of Pain - Seniors Today

Pain – anywhere in your body maybe indicative of some underlying health conditions that should not be left neglected.

When was the last time you thought of visiting a doctor due to a recurring pain? Often, people tend to self-medicate when they experience any kind of pain treating the symptom as a function of ageing. Until things go out of hand. Medical professionals have expressed concern that patients who put off seeing a doctor and neglect their pain, can put one in a life-threatening situation and the results can be devastating. 

Minor pain symptoms here and there are mostly overlooked by seniors; for instance, minor chest pain lasting over a couple of days, a swelling due to a fall in the bathroom, or a sudden persistent headache. By the time these are addressed it turns out to be a serious health issue. Any unexplained pain should be investigated by a doctor, even if its not severe. 

Here are a few pain symptoms that could need medical attention:

1. Headache – It could be one of the worst headaches of your life, and it becomes more concerning if it feels more severe than usual. A headache is also worrisome if it’s accompanied by neck stiffness, weakness or vision change, or if you’ve recently hit your head.  What compounds the issue is that if you are on blood thinners, simply bumping your head on a door frame can cause dangerous bleeding in your skull.

2. Pain in the eye – Eyes hurting suddenly could be caused by a blocked blood vessel, a viral infection that causes painful rashes, or acute glaucoma – a serious condition caused by increased pressure inside the eye. Any sudden onset of eye pain is an emergency and should get medical attention immediately.

3. Chest pain – A dull pressure or heaviness can manifest into a sudden sharp, crushing pain causing a heart attack. Other signs to look out for would be dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath while doing regular activities such as walking, going up the stairs or gardening. For seniors any kind of chest pain triggered by exertion should be evaluated by a doctor immediately. 

4. Severe, unexplained stomach-ache – If abdominal pain keeps getting worse and is accompanied by vomiting, swelling, fever – these could be symptoms of acute appendicitis or diverticulitis.  You know your body best, so be aware when symptoms are worsening. An unusual stomach condition that keeps getting worse with time should be checked urgently, by a gastroenterologist.

5. Pain after surgery – One common example of this is increasing pain in your calf after a prolonged period of inactivity, even if it’s not severe, can be a sign of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This dangerous type of blood clot is especially common in patients recovering from knee or hip surgery. If DVT is not treated right away the clots can travel through your bloodstream and block supply of blood to your lungs causing a serious condition known as pulmonary embolism.

6. Unable to move your legs – This is a type of pain with a functional aspect involved. If your legs are hurting but you can still walk, it could be a sign of sprain but if you are unable to move or wiggle your feet then it should be investigated immediately. This type of pain symptom could point towards a serious infection, a nerve injury, a fracture, or a loss of blood flow.

7. Minor wound that causes pain – How often are we concerned about minor wounds? Say you are planting a pot and a twig sticks in your hand or you cut yourself doing some home repair. If the pain from the wound, the one that is red and swollen keeps getting worse over a few days, that needs to be checked. This can be a sign of serious infection that can turn severe if untreated. A splinter under the fingernail may seem fine at the moment but can cause a raging infection after a couple of days.

Any kind of pain that is new and gets worse with time should not go unattended. Even though there may not be anything serious or life-threatening at the time, symptoms could progressively get worse, and may have an impact on your ability to move freely. The ill-effect of certain pain can be avoided; if you pay close attention to the warning bells and nip it in the bud, a stitch in time, will save you nine.

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