Some of us push our limits. “Make it until you break it” some would say. Waiting until the last minute to see a doctor about your pain or other ailment is not always the best idea. Going to the doctor can sometimes be a life or death situation. Catching a serious illness early when the symptoms first occur is usually the best scenario. So when is it time to go to the doctor when for pain? Maybe not right away, but if pain persists, it’s always a good idea to get it checked out.
Let’s say you were going on a hike and you slipped and fell. The next day, your knee hurts when you walk up or down the stairs. You take some ibuprofen for swelling and pain and hope it goes away. For many, this pain will subside. For others, though it could become a chronic pain condition. This small slip could lead to pain for weeks, months, or even long-term. Knowing when to go to the doctor can be difficult. You’d like to get checked out right away to detect possible damage and start treatment early, but sometimes this can be tough to do. Assessing the severity of your pain is important. If you are able to function normally with some pain that goes away after several weeks, a doctor is not necessary.
If you pain worsens, though and you can no longer participate in your normal routine or daily activities, it is time to go to the doctor. Don’t wait too long. Waiting too long could lead to chronic pain. Staying on top of continued or worsening pain can prevent the life-changing effects of chronic pain, save you money, and, spare you much heartache.
If you have had pain that’s lasted for more than three months with or without a clear reason, it is time to call a doctor. You can start with you primary care doctor and then move on to a pain specialist, if necessary. Pain can worsen sleep and insomnia worsens pain. Let your doctor know about your sleep patterns too. Sleep deprivation leads to increases in inflammatory molecules called cytokines. Sleep loss can worsen symptoms of fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, for instance. But, sleep helps to restore cytokines to normal levels and can speed recuperation. Finally, if you’ve had a past injury or illness which has healed, but there is pain that lingers, have it checked out by a doctor.
Don’t brush off lingering pain thinking that it will disappear on its own. It might be a treatable pain condition and it’s important to know your options. So go to the doctor… It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Remember, no one is immune to pain, but anyone can overcome it.