If you’ve ever wondered when to call a doctor and when to wait it out, you’re not alone. One of the most common questions doctors receive is, “How do I know if a sickness or pain is serious enough to seek help?”
On the one hand, you want to ensure you care for your body. On the other hand, you don’t want to spend money on nothing or get a reputation of being the “boy who called wolf,” just to not be taken seriously when a real issue comes up.
While everyone is different and scenarios differ slightly from person to person, here are some general guidelines and tips for when it may be a good idea to get checked out.
Chest pain is a common symptom of heart disease or worse. If you’ve never had chest pain, you should see your doctor immediately, especially if you feel any of these symptoms.
- Pain that is sharp, sudden, and severe
- Pain that lasts more than a few minutes
- Pain that gets worse with deep breathing or coughing
- Pain that goes away when you sit up or lie down (but comes back again)
While, unfortunately, chest pain can mean there is an issue that can’t be fixed, there are times when it can save or at least prolong your life. Mesothelioma is life-threatening, but early treatment can mean more time. However, if the chest pain is ignored for too long, it may become too late.
Sharp Tooth Pain
Sharp tooth pain can be a sign of a dental problem, and you should see a dentist as soon as possible. Putting off seeing a dentist in this situation can lead to issues ranging from needing a root canal to having extensive surgery to heal an infection.
Generally, seeing a dentist every six months is good practice to stay on top of issues. Regular cleanings and X-rays can help you avoid a root canal or severe gum infection.
Lost Feeling in Part of Body
If you lose feeling in part of your body, seeing a doctor immediately is important. This can signify many conditions, including stroke and heart attack.
If you think that you are having a stroke:
- Call 911 immediately – even if someone else calls first.
- Remain calm while waiting for help; stay seated if possible; don’t try to walk or move around too much (this could make things worse).
- Alert family members of where you are. If 911 doesn’t respond, family members should be able to find you quickly.
Again, waiting around to figure out what is going on can be the difference between life and death. Losing feeling is not normal and should never be taken lightly.
Recent Injury Gets Worse
If you have recently been hurt and the pain worsens, see a doctor. This is especially true if the injury happens during physical activity or exercise. If something hurts after working out or playing sports, get checked out by an orthopedic specialist who can recommend treatment options based on their expertise in treating these kinds of injuries.
While exercise and physical activity are healthy, they often strain and put extra pressure on specific muscle groups that, if overused, can lead to injuries. Most injuries, if treated the right way, can be fully healed. You don’t need to see a doctor for being sore, tweaking an ankle, or other minor common injuries.
However, ignoring an injury that gets worse can lead to long-term pain that never recovers.
Always err on the side of caution when it comes to your health. If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, seeing a doctor as soon as possible is essential. It might not be anything serious, but it could also be something life-threatening that needs immediate attention.
Even if most of the time the visit may not have been necessary, remember that it only takes one time to get it wrong to put yourself in a hazardous situation.