Don't Ignore These 10 Mystery Pains

Don't Ignore These 10 Mystery Pains

Last update: 19 June, 2015

Ever had a phantom pain and thought, ‘I’ll just wait and see if it’s still here tomorrow’? This is why you need to know when not to ignore mystery pains. Most of us experience random aches now and again. More often than not, they disappear without consequence. Still, you can learn which 10 mysterious pains you should never ignore. We’ll give you the scoop now. Read on…

Here’s a clever analogy: these fleeting pains are a bit like those strange squeaks and rattles your car occasionally makes. You’ll suddenly hear something unusual, so you turn down your music to listen more intently. Nope. Not a trace. Not even after 30 minutes on the motorway. Should you be concerned? If you were a professional mechanic, you might be. As it is, you haven’t a clue. Similarly, your body may give you warning signs, but the deterioration is slow. That little niggle could represent an underlying problem that will develop over time.

We don’t want to alarm you. Not all such incidences are cause for panic. But there are some common mystery pains that you shouldn’t ignore. A visit with your GP isn’t exactly a jamboree, but if – after reading thoroughly through this article – you think you may have reason to worry, book an appointment! Early detection often leads to successful treatment. Now, let’s look at some symptoms.

1. Mystery pains in the chest

Would you know if you’re at risk of heart disease? Chest pain isn’t the only warning of such maladies. Picture this: you’re out in the garden on a warm day and you’re breaking quite a sweat as you pull those vines away from your lavender. When you stop to mop your brow, you notice that your jaw hurts. Odd, but you don’t really give it much thought. It’s not something that’s associated with heart trouble, anyway. There’s probably another explanation for it, anyway.

Think again. A painful jaw could mean that your heart is stressed. If you’re feeling a sudden and acute pain here, it may be telling you that a heart attack is imminent.

Pains that are most often associated with heart attacks are not relegated to the chest. You may feel them in your shoulders, arms, abdomen, lower jaw or throat. Whenever you notice sharp pains in your jaw or shoulder, tell someone immediately. Seek medical attention straight away.

2. Pain in the lower back

Back pain

Your back is a busy bee, so soreness here is common. It’s vital that you learn to tell the difference between aching muscles and something that’s potentially serious. For instance, kidney problems often cause pains in the lower back. It could be that you’ve developed a kidney stone. Normally, this will resolve itself, but it can be quite painful when it does so. A swollen or infected kidney makes back pain more persistent and pronounced. Kidney tumours will do the same. Stay vigilant and pay attention to the signs.

3. Acute abdominal pain

If you’re feeling pain in your gut that you can’t relate to a heavy meal or intense exercise, give it serious consideration. This is a complex region of the human body. The lungs, kidneys and uterus are all located here – and their problems can create stomach pain. If you’re feeling discomfort in the right lower quadrant, you may have appendicitis. This requires emergency intervention and surgery.

Gallbladder issues, on the other hand, present in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. Pain here or in the upper back can indicate pancreatitis, the condition that results from an inflamed pancreas. This also needs speedy treatment. If you don’t get it, tissues in the intestine begin to die off and create other troubles. Finally, if ever you feel excruciating pain in the area of the intestines, you may have liver inflammation.

4. Lower leg pain

Calf pain is another thing that can be attributed to specific physical activities. If you have been doing a lot of strenuous climbing, for instance, you could be forgiven for dismissing these aches. What if you have no explanation, though?

The system of arteries and veins in the legs is intricate – and vastly important. This network moves blood to and from the muscle and the heart. Those veins that you can see through your skin? They’re called superficial veins. They’re tributaries to deeper veins and they help to transport your blood. Clever things, too: they halve tiny valves inside that stop blood from flowing where it shouldn’t. If there’s a rupture, the blood can coagulate. This is known as deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and it can be agonising. It can also cause the legs to swell.

5. Tingling sensations in the arms and legs

Female legs

That familiar tingling in the legs and feet is often associated with staying in the same position for too long. You’ll sometimes feel it during a long flight or in the morning after a particularly deep sleep. It’s due to reduced blood flow and the sensation dissipates once we get up and start moving.

Be cautious, however. If you’re often feeling a tingle in your hands or feet, you might want to explore the possibility of nerve damage. When you can’t associate it with a static position, this numbness and burning could spell peripheral neuropathy. Your GP can guide you, so book an appointment if you recognise these symptoms.

6. Generalised aching

Diagnosis is easier when you can specify which part of your body is painful. This isn’t always the case. Some diseases such as fibromyalgia manifest themselves more generally. This illness tends to affect more women than men, making them more sensitive to pain and external pressure. The knock-on effect is difficulty in sleeping well.

Depression is another disease that can cause inexplicable and random aches in various parts of the body. You may experience back pain, migraines and increased physical sensitivity. See your GP if you think this describes you.

7. Pain in the testicles

Never, ever ignore testicular pain. Doing so could exacerbate an underlying condition. There are a few serious illnesses that can cause aching in the testicles – anything from a relatively minor hernia to serious cancer. There’s even a chance that the spermatic cord is twisted. This causes painful contortion in the testicles.

The epididymis is a spiral tube that is found in the lower part of each testicle. It is the sperm’s storage facility and delivery unit. If it’s damaged, it can cause testicular pain. When an odd feeling accompanies a twinge, you may have varicocele (varicose veins).

8. Heavy headaches

Sinus headache

Headaches often seem to come out of the blue. They can descend quickly and you’ll feel as though you’ve been hit by a bus. Mysterious and sudden pain like this could be a warning that needs your immediate attention. If blurred vision accompanies your headaches, you may be in danger of suffering a stroke or a transitory ischemic attack.

9. Pain during sex

Pelvic inflammatory disease may be the reason that you feel discomfort in your pelvic region during sex. A bacterial infection of the uterus or fallopian tubes, it causes swollen and burning tissue. Heed these signs seriously. The inflammation could lead to scarring and, in the worst cases, infertility.

Chronic abscesses of the pelvis can cause pelvic inflammatory disease. Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and other types of sexually transmitted diseases can also lead to this condition. Any source of bacteria that travels round the reproductive organs may be the culprits in a diagnosis of PID.

10. Prolonged aching of the joints

General wear and tear of the cartilage is to be expected as we age. Osteoarthritis can result when the bones to rub up against one another. Although this is a common cause for painful joints, it isn’t the only one. A disease called lupus is also associated with stiffness and swelling in the joints. It’s an illness that can flare up and then go into remission. Along with it, you may experience chronic fatigue, hair loss and fever.

Other things you may want to consider if you’re plagued by aching joints are hepatitis or rheumatoid arthritis. An auto-immune disease, rheumatoid arthritis causes the immune system to spiral out of control and attack its own tissue.

If you suspect that any of your unexplained physical complaints might be connected to some of the conditions here, please consult with your GP for a full and thorough examination.