Pain that signals a life-threatening condition is usually intense, starts abruptly, and is associated with a number of other symptoms and signs. Here are six pain symptoms that require immediate attention.
by Reader’s Digest Editors
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A quick-onset headache
If the pain in your head occurred suddenly and is unbearably bad, you could have a burst blood vessel in your brain. Call the ambulance immediately.
Pain that spreads across your chest
If the pain is moving toward your jaw or shoulder, you could be having a heart attack. Call the ambulance immediately. Here are more silent signs of a heart attack that are all too easy to miss.
Pain that starts in the lower back and affects the legs
If there is also weakness in your legs, loss of bladder sensation, or new urinary incontinence, you could have cauda equina syndrome. Seek urgent medical assessment.
Pain in the lower right of the gut
If there is also fever, nausea and/or vomiting, you could have appendicitis. Visit your doctor, who may send you to the hospital for surgery.
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Achy or cramping pain in the leg
If the pain is accompanied by redness, warmth and swelling, you could have a blood clot known as a deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). Visit your doctor, who will arrange for you to have an ultrasound. Do NOT massage the painful area, as this might cause the blood clot to travel to your heart or lungs.
Constant pins and needles in your feet
If your feet are numb, burning or tingly, you could have nerve damage cause by diabetes. Visit your doctor, who will send you for a blood glucose test. Here are more silent signs of diabetes you might have missed.