You can’t let every ache, soreness or twinge worry you to the point you have your health care provider or local hospital on speed dial. But there are pains that come on suddenly or accompany fever that you should never ignore.
A sharp ache between your shoulder blades
Could be: A heart attack
About 30 percent of people who have heart attacks don’t get the classic chest pressure. Pain between shoulder blades is common in women, as is jaw pain, shortness of breath and nausea. If you have these symptoms (you’ll likely have more than one), you need care ASAP.
Dull stomach pain to the lower right of abdomen
Could be: Appendicitis
The pain usually starts at the center of your stomach and gradually moves to the right. If the appendix does rupture, that can be a dangerous complication, with bacteria bursting into your bloodstream and infecting your entire body. If you feel this sensation, go straight to the ER. (Usually it gets more intense over a 24-hour period as it shifts location.)
A ‘thunderclap’ headache
Could be: An aneurysm, which is a balloon-like area in an artery
Most of us have experienced mild or moderate headaches — usually an over the counter pain medication makes the pain go away. But if you have the worst headache of your life and it comes on suddenly, call 911. Again, do not drive the hospital yourself.
How do you know it isn’t a migraine? With a migraine, you feel nauseous, are sensitive to light and sound and it’s a gradual progression.
Mid-back pain with fever
Could be: A kidney infection
Don’t assume that your temperature, nausea and back pain are just a stomach bug. This condition develops when bacteria that infiltrate the urinary tract spread to the kidneys, making the infection much more severe. You might start with urinary tract infection symptoms, like pain during urination, but some people don’t notice anything until later. You’ll likely need antibiotics ASAP, so call your doctor.
Tooth pain that wakes you up
Could be: Teeth grinding
Frequent clenching can cause the nerve within the tooth to become inflamed and the protective enamel to wear away. You might even end up cracking teeth down to the root, which leads to extraction. Call your dentist so he or she can figure out the problem. The complications from grinding, which is often brought on by stress, can be prevented by wearing a night guard