Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

What's Causing Your Pain?

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Dec 4, 2017 2:32 PM

Pain is inevitable. It happens to everyone, but that doesn't mean it's something people must worry about. Sometimes pain comes and goes in the form of a pulled muscle, a stubbed toe, or even as a side effect of the common cold. It happens when a person is violently ill, pregnant, growing, and even just exercising regularly and taking care of their body.

Pain is not uncommon, but pain is not always something a person can brush off as natural. Sometimes pain is long-lasting. Sometimes it's a sign there is something else going on, and sometimes it's nothing. The problem is it's not always easy to tell where pain comes from, if it's serious, and how to handle it. Breaking down all the pain a person can feel is impossible, but there are some pains more common than others that are easily explained.

Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain is common, but it's not always easy to diagnose. A woman ready to begin her menstrual cycle might find herself experiencing abdominal pain. It's not uncommon, and it's described as cramps. It could be a stomach virus, a bug, or anything in between. If the pain doesn't go away after a day or two or after a person is feeling better, it might be more serious. If it's sudden, exceptionally painful, or it only gets worse instead of better, it might be appendicitis. It could be pregnancy pains. It could be anything, but it's wise to see a doctor if the pain is unbearable or it doesn't seem to subside after a day or two.

Back Pain

Back pain is not uncommon, and it can be caused by anything from a sports injury to a work injury. A fall, a car accident, lifting too much weight, being pregnant, or even turning too sharply one way or the other can cause back pain. It's also associated with menstrual cramps, and it's associated with more serious health problems. If back pain is persistent, doesn't subside with over-the-counter medication, or it cannot be explained by an injury or incident, it's time to call the doctor to rule out other problems. "Any kind of pain a person feels that doesn't have any explanation and grows worse as the days pass is an indication medical testing is required," says Dr. Shawn Khodadadian.


Headaches are caused by stress, by exhaustion, and even when someone strains their eyes after forgetting their glasses. Headaches happen all the time, and most people ignore them if they can take something to get them to go away on their own. However, they can mean so much more. They can indicate a bigger health problem such as swelling in the brain, tumors, heart problems, and even vision issues. Headaches that come on strong and fast, that don't go away, and that increase in frequency are something to discuss with the doctor.

Muscle Pain

Muscle pain comes most often from not warming up before an exercise or activity as well as overworking the muscles in any situation. However, muscle pain can be associated with a side effect of some illnesses and diseases, and it can be a side effect of certain medications. It's not easy to tell what's causing muscle pain without an exam. However, most muscle pain that's not serious or caused by injury subsides after a few days and eases with over-the-counter pain relievers.

Unexplained Pain

Unexplained pain is difficult to pinpoint without discussing it with a doctor. If a person is feeling pain they can't explain, they aren't sick, and they aren't injured, it could be a problem. There are many illnesses and diseases such as Lupus that affect the body in a way that doesn't feel the same each time it causes problems. It all depends on where the body is attacked, how it's being handled, and how the person is dealing with the situation. Unexplained pain is sometimes a starting point for doctors looking to diagnose a patient. It helps them know where to look even if the patient is only more confused by this type of pain.

If a person is dealing with pain they can't explain or that doesn't get better over time, a doctor can help. Even if a person thinks their pain seems normal but has an uneasy feeling about it, calling the doctor to run some tests and eliminate illness and disease are helpful. Pain is constant in life, but it's not always safe to ignore if it's chronic pain.

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