9 Symptoms You Should Never Ignore If You Have Pain

1. Pain with loss of function 

If you hurt your leg but can still walk on it, it may be just a sprain. “But if you can't move it and you're having pain, that should be investigated immediately,” Leap says. Loss of function can indicate a fracture, nerve injury, loss of blood flow or a serious infection.

2. Eye pain that comes out of nowhere 

It could be caused by a blocked blood vessel, a detached retina, internal bleeding or acute glaucoma, a serious eye condition caused by increased pressure inside the eye. Eye pain can also be the first symptom of shingles, a viral infection that causes a painful rash, Hanak says.

3. Chest pain 

An older adult experiencing any type of chest pain should be evaluated by a doctor right away, says Hanak, who notes that a heart attack doesn't always manifest as sudden, crushing pain. “A lot of times, it’s pressure, heaviness or tightness with breathing.

4. Pain in one or both arms, your jaw or between the shoulder blades

These lesser-known symptoms of a heart attack are more likely to affect women, according to the American Heart Association. Nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, dizziness and light-headedness are other heart attack symptoms to look for. Severe pain between the shoulder blades can also be caused by an aneurysm or a tear in your aorta, a major blood vessel.

5. The worst headache of your life 

An occasional headache is usually nothing to worry about. More concerning is one that feels more severe than usual, Leap says. A headache is worrisome  as well if it's accompanied by neck stiffness, weakness or vision change, or if you recently hit your head. And know that if you’re on blood thinners, simply bumping your head on a door frame can cause dangerous bleeding in your skull.

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