From headaches to neck pain, here are 5 types of pain you shouldn’t ignore
Don't bank on them to go away on their own
Recently, actor Sonali Bendre revealed she has been diagnosed with a high-grade cancer and is currently undergoing treatment. In a social media post, she wrote, ‘Sometimes, when you least expect it, life throws you a curveball. I have recently been diagnosed with a high grade cancer that has metastised, which we frankly did not see coming. A niggling pain led to some tests, which led to this unexpected diagnosis’. The unfortunate diagnosis serves as a rude reminder to not take those nagging pains and aches lightly, minor though they may be. We spoke to Dr Bharath Agarwal, consultant, internal medicine, Apollo Hospitals, Mumbai, about 5 kinds of pains you can’t afford to ignore.
If you feel a dull throbbing in your head that just doesn’t go away, it’s time to get it evaluated. “When there is constant, continuous headache, and sudden onset of severe headache, especially in those who are hypertensive, it is a sure sign to make a doctor’s appointment,” says Dr Agarwal. “It could mean that there’s bleeding in the brain. If you’ve been experiencing headaches continuously for a few months, it could also point towards a brain tumour.”
Lower back pain
It’s easy to get sucked into work but slouching at your office desk for hours on end isn’t doing your back any favours. “Poor postural habits could eventually lead to long-term health consequences. Typically, correcting the posture should help ease the pain when it is a postural problem,” he says. But if the pain still doesn’t go away, it may be time to see a doctor. “Persistent lower back pain is associated with lifestyle disorders such as osteoporosis and arthritis,” he adds. Osteoporosis causes your bones to become weak, so much so, that in serious cases, they could break from even sneezing and minor bumps.
This has become so common today that there’s even a modern term for it — the text neck syndrome. Peering into your smartphone or bending forward to type on your laptop for long stretches of time can leave you with the text neck. “In severe cases, the neck pain could snowball into a case of spondylitis, which is very hard to reverse. But, like other lifestyle diseases, neck pain can also usually be corrected with correcting the posture and angle of the neck,” Dr Agarwal says. Ideally, your eyes should look slightly downward while working on the computer, and your smartphone should be at eye-level.
It’s easy to confuse calf pain as a side effect of exercise but that may not always be the case. “Women are especially prone to deep vein thrombosis which presents as pain in the calves. Deep vein thrombosis is a condition when there are blood clots within the veins in the legs,” he says. Excess weight, standing or not moving your legs for long periods of time, oral contraceptive pills or sometimes just age could contribute to the development of deep vein thrombosis.
It would pretty much be foolhardy to ignore this type of pain. “Chest pain which occurs on exertion and onset of sudden chest pain or upper abdominal pain needs to be investigated right away,” says Dr Agarwal. While a sudden pain could be a symptom of a heart attack, a dull ache over time could also signify heart and lung problems.