The 7 Types of Pain Men Should Never “CHOOSE” to Ignore!

Your average man – especially those of us that are middle-aged – just can’t be bothered to bother the doc when something is not quite right with our health, much to the detriment of many it has to be said. But ignoring the body’s health warnings, be they physical pains or mental suffering of some sort, is a dangerous game to play – though play it we do!

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Man with Chest PainsThe Stubborn Reluctance of 21st Century Men

Perhaps the older man’s hesitancy to visit a health professional is because he’s genuinely concerned about taking up the valuable time of a busy general practitioner (GP)? Or maybe it’s because he likes to appear manly and weather whatever potential harm might be trying to fester, hoping against hope that whatever it is will go away on its own?

But ask a woman and she’s likely to say that underneath it all, she believes that men are just big babies and it is fear, not courage, that keeps them away from health clinics and hospitals.

“It wasn’t the cough that carried him off. It was the coffin they carried him off in.”

This old English saying dates back to Victorian times. It basically meant that if you didn’t look after yourself properly, even a common cough or cold could head straight to the chest.

Once in the chest it might turn from pneumonia into double pneumonia (affecting both lungs). Back then penicillin hadn’t been discovered and victims could be dead within a fortnight.

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When you think about it, today is no different from Victorian times if a man doesn’t take proper care of himself and chooses to ignore his body’s warning signals when something is not quite right (this includes minor pains and irritations). Even with so many advances in medicine and medical know-how, it could all prove to be totally worthless if an unknown health issue is left unattended and undiagnosed for too long.

Every year the world over, men can and do die through their stubborn reluctance to get checked out when there’s a need. Women – generally speaking – are far better at taking care of themselves than men. They always have been and most probably always will be.

7 TYPES OF PAIN MEN SHOULD NEVER IGNORE

1. The Headache from Hell

Unless you know the root cause of your headache, e.g. severe hangover from a heavy drinking session, or you got badly dehydrated for whatever reason, then get it checked out without delay if your usual method of pain relief does little or nothing to alleviate the hurt.

You never know with headaches what the cause might be. There’s always the ‘potential’ for a brain hemorrhage (bleeding), or a brain tumor. When a person complains of a headache that’s worse than any they’ve ever had before, they just might be suffering the symptoms of a brain aneurysm. Chances are the headache from hell is perfectly treatable and non-life-threatening, but hey, it’s better to be safe than sorry – right?

2. Painful Chest, Jaw, Throat, Shoulder, Arm or Abdomen

When we talk of chest pain, most of us think about pneumonia and heart attack. However, with heart conditions it’s quite common for men to experience discomfort, or mild aching, more so than actual chest pain. Pain may follow discomfort (typically experienced as pressure, or a tightening up), if that discomfort goes ignored.

Other indicators of heart disease can produce discomfort in the following areas: upper chest; throat; jaw; left shoulder or arm, and the abdomen. In some cases, these symptoms might also be accompanied by nausea. As with any other unexplained pain or discomfort, the only surefire way of knowing what something is for certain is to get examined by a medical professional.

It’s not so uncommon for heart attacks to start slowly, and sometimes very subtly, so don’t ignore any of the potential symptoms. Whether the discomfort is persistent or intermittent, unless a man knows what it is, these possible warning signs should NOT be disregarded. Remember, the older a man gets, the higher the risk of heart attack becomes.

3. Acute Abdominal Pain

Acute abdominal pain is best characterized as the onset of persistent and severe pain in and around the stomach area. Men that still have their appendix could possibly be experiencing a rupture if an inflammation of the appendix is taking place. This is what’s known as appendicitis. Other possible causes of acute abdominal pain could be:

4. Burning Feet and or Legs

Any man experiencing an unpleasant burning, pricking, or tingling type sensation in the feet or legs (not unfamiliar to pins and needles), might have a condition called neuropathy, which is a disorder caused by nerve damage in the legs. This burning feeling may be intensified while standing or walking. Neuropathy can also be one of the first signs of diabetes. There are millions of men – and women – around the world that have undiagnosed diabetes.

Once again, such pains or discomforts should be seen by a doctor without delay.

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5. Calf Pain

Deep vein thrombosis, aka deep venous thrombosis (DVT), is where a blood clot forms in the leg’s deep veins. A deep vein is a larger vein in the leg which runs through the muscles of the thigh and calf. If gone undiagnosed DVT can be life-threatening. Why it’s so dangerous is because there’s always a risk that a piece of the blood clot could break loose, travel through the blood stream into the lungs, and cause what is known as pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism is when a clot blocks one of the blood vessels in the lungs.

Like most of life’s threats, this is yet one more of those things that becomes more common with age. Needless to say that Middle-aged men and older have to be more vigilant of of the warning signs than younger guys. So any swelling (with or without pain), or persistent aching in the calf muscles, needs to be heeded.

Common risk factors of DVT include: Family history of thrombosis, cancer or heart failure, overweight/obese, or immobility due to prolonged bed-rest or long-haul travel.

6. Lower Back Pain or Between Shoulder Blades

Persistent pain that gnaws away at the lower back or between the shoulder blades can cause mood swings as well as physical hurt. These pains might be down to musculoskeletal causes, but the reasons can be many. Arthritis is another probability, as is angina, reflux, lung infection or pleurisy, and abdominal problems. Needless to say that anyone experiencing pains in the lower back or shoulder blades, ought to get a professional examination and diagnosis.

7. Vague Unexplained Aches, Pains, and Irritations

These are the little things that linger which men often fail to get looked at, or at least not until they’ve become much bigger problems. It might be a stiff neck, aching wrist, ear irritation, irksome rash, constant headache, mood swings, persistent fatigue, ad infinitum.

Whenever a man feels something is not right with his physical or mental health and it shows no signs of getting better, nor does he know what’s causing it, then it’s time to get a professional diagnosis. Just because something might be more irritating than agonising, the underlying reason(s) could be more serious.


If you want to have your say on this topic, please leave your comments below ;)

About Andy Aitch

Musician, writer, netentrepreneur and founder of 50ish.org, the site created for uniting middle-aged men the world over.

Motto: a man is not old until his dreams become his regrets

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Readers Comments

    JD says:

    Jeezus – if I ran off to the doc every time I had “vague unexplained aches, pains, and irritations” I would never leave! This line is a cracker too – “something is not right with his physical or mental health and it shows no signs of getting better” – I thought that was called ‘getting old’… Everything f**kin hurts these days. Now that I am the wrong side of 40 I keep thinking of that film ‘Logan’s Run’ and wonder if it had a point…


      Andy Aitch says:

      Hi JD and thanks for your remarks.

      I actually wrote the piece. It was based on comments made by various doctors, mainly from American Schools of Medicine. I write these things because they are topical, but moreover, it’s a fact that many men do actually get sicker than they need to – or worse – because of their reluctance to visit the doctor when there’s something wrong with their health.

      Having said that, one has to be careful not to become a hypochondriac and worry about stuff needlessly. I think the internet can, at times, contribute to hypochondria. I’m over 50 and I can’t remember the last time I went to the docs office, and I probably won’t go even if there are times when I perhaps should. Yes, I am guilty as charged when it comes to avoiding all things medical.

      Even so, the above post does highlight real symptoms of potential health problems, so it’s not wrong to highlight such things and encourage men to be more vigilant of their health (including myself!).

      As for the movie ‘Logan’s Run’ where life must end at 30, well, I think that’s a bit extreme – don’t you? Researchers from Exeter University in the UK said that old age is a state of mind as much as the body. They found that people who have a younger outlook on life are generally a lot more healthy as they age.

      One third of all babies born today – in the industrialised world – will live to see their 100th birthday, that’s according to the investment firm Scottish Widows. I wouldn’t mind betting that a high percentage of those centenarians are going to be women. Okay, so women live longer than men anyway, but they are also twice as likely as men to seek medical help when they think something is not right.

      There have been numerous studies over the years which revealed fewer men than women go to dentists too. In addition, men are less likely to ask a pharmacist for advice and information. Consequently, we men do end up in hospital unnecessarily at times purely because we delay on health issues for far too long. These are just facts ;)

      You do raise some good points also JD, and I thank you for them ;)

      Andy Aitch


    Mad Dog says:

    Striking the right balance is the key to good health. I do think women take time to get familiar with their bodies more so than men tho. This probably suggests that they intuitively know when something is not right.

    Stephan


    Skinnyribs50 says:

    Hiya :) Well I for one found the article very interesting. If men educated themselves more on how to take care of themselves this article and others like it wouldn’t exist. As for the film Logan’s Run that was mentioned in the first comments, it sort of insinuates that people become a burden after a certain age.

    I want to live as long as I possibly can, but not for the sake of staying alive, but to live well and still be able to contribute in some way. Too many men die too soon through neglect and self-destructive lifestyles and that’s just plain daft.


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