Some people are used to going to the doctor for every little ache and pain. Others avoid going until the problem has gotten much worse and needs immediate attention. Most people fall somewhere in between.
With doctors scheduling out so far and high costs, it does make sense to think about when you really need to get medical attention. Being in touch with your body can help you figure out when you should wait to see if a minor issue will resolve on its own, or whether you should get medical help.
Regular Pains or Warning Signs?
The human body is made up of many different systems. There’s a lot that can go wrong! But it’s important to note that not every pain you feel is something serious. We all have aches and pains from time to time that typically resolve quickly.
It can be difficult to know when you’re experiencing routine aches and pains or a sign of something more. Many symptoms can be nothing or can indicate a serious health issue. So how can you tell the difference?
Well, some types of pain are more concerning than others. It’s a good idea to take note of pain that you shouldn’t ignore so that you don’t miss the early warning signs of a severe medical problem.
Some key pain types that can indicate more serious underlying conditions include chest pain, tingling in the extremities for more than an hour, dizziness that persists, numbness, excessive sweating, unexplained swelling, and a tearing sensation.
There is a range of issues that these types of pain can indicate. A heart attack, stroke, diabetes, or aorta rupture are just a few of the possibilities. In short, these pain types can be early signs of a life-threatening medical condition and getting treatment right away can help to improve the odds of a full recovery.
Other minor aches and pains can usually be left alone to improve on their own unless you are really concerned. Being in tune with your body means getting to know its rhythms so you can tell when something is off. If you’re worried about something that might be minor, there’s no harm in calling your doctor or nurse line.
Headaches, Stomachaches, and Other Pains to Note
Just about everyone knows how hard it can be to concentrate when you’re dealing with a headache or stomachache. These issues can occur for many different reasons.
You might get a headache when you haven’t slept well or you’re experiencing caffeine withdrawal. Stress can also be a leading cause of headaches. In most cases, over-the-counter pain relievers, sleep, or other at-home remedies are enough to resolve the problem.
But there are also different kinds of headaches. Migraines, for instance, can be more disruptive to daily life and often have no clear trigger. For some people, they can become debilitating, affecting their ability to work or participate in normal activities.
People who get migraines frequently should consult with a doctor on strategies for coping and reducing migraine symptoms. There are many different treatments available that can significantly improve a person’s quality of life and reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.
Just as headaches can have many different origins, so can stomachaches and other stomach problems. You might get a stomachache when you eat something that doesn’t agree with you or you just eat too much. Nausea and other stomach problems can occur due to pregnancy, a new medication, or another cause.
Diarrhea can also be nothing to worry about if it resolves quickly. But if you’re experiencing chronic stomach issues, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as you can.
Other Minor Health Issues
Problems like a cold or fever are common enough and usually pass on their own. If you go to the doctor, they’re likely to just tell you to drink fluids and get some rest. But if your symptoms don’t improve over a few days, it’s worth calling up your doctor just to make sure nothing more serious is happening with your health.
Maintaining Optimal Health
It’s easier to be in tune with your body and to know when to seek help from a doctor when you’re making an effort to take care of your body. Healthy habits can go a long way toward eliminating common sources of pain and discomfort.
Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and stress relief activities like meditation and deep breathing can all help you maintain optimal health. When you are healthy, you should have fewer aches and pains and it will be more obvious when there’s a problem that needs attention.
Beyond helping you to be in tune with your body, maintaining your health will allow you to thrive and be more productive. You will need to see the doctor less overall and you will be less likely to suffer from common problems like high blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar. Healthy habits will also help regulate your mood.
When in Doubt, See a Doctor
Sometimes, it can be hard to justify going to the doctor, especially if your health plan doesn’t offset many costs. However, it’s always a good idea to see a doctor if you are in doubt about an issue you are experiencing.
Some medical providers offer a nurse helpline that allows patients to call in with questions. If you have access to this service, use it! The nurse can help you decide if you need to schedule an appointment to see your doctor or to visit a local urgent care office. In an emergency, you should dial 911 or head to your nearest emergency room right away, however.
No one is going to feel great 100% of the time and you don’t have to rush off to the doctor every time you feel a little “off.” But when pain and discomfort become a frequent concern or you have doubts about what you are experiencing, it may be time to see a doctor.
You shouldn’t suffer needlessly when there may be simple solutions that can help you live a more comfortable life. Getting in touch with your body can help you make smart decisions for your well-being.