We are all affected by pain, whether it’s pains and minor aches or some longer-lasting, chronic condition. And though we all have occasionally little ache here or some little twinge there — and especially as one gets older — it is important knowing that when we could treat it by our own self and could be sign of some serious ailment.

Whenever suddenly pain strikes and there’s no clear explanation, then it is hard avoiding worrying it can be some serious condition or cancer.

Stephanie Haridopolos, M.D., one family physician who is board certified in Fla., Merritt Island, says that as general rule, whatever that lasts above 6 weeks is red flag.

There is no common standard to determine when should pain’s medical treatment be sought, though there’re questions for asking that  would help one take that decision, according to Dr. Haridopolos. Pain which occurs right in morning generally tends to be less serious compared to the pain late at night; the pain which does not improve even with rest needs to be examined by some physician as well as the pain which is worse when you happen to be in some specific position, according to her.

Dr. Haridopolos said that if someone has stiffness which gets better, then one doesn’t need to visit the doctor but if it is something which does not improve even with trying  things as usual drugs, then seeing a doctor  becomes necessary.

Most often, pain of muscle is linked to muscle injury due to exercise or any work that is physically demanding or linked to some tension, according to National Institutes of Health. Though, it also could be symptom of a more serious disease.

Back and neck: Dr. Haridopolos suggests to pay particular attention towards pain in one’s back or neck. She said,

“If it’s accompanied by weakness in the extremities, pain, or numbness that radiates down your arms or legs, or a burning sensation, that’s also a red flag.”

Headaches at night: Pain that is accompanied by the “systemic symptoms,” like night sweats or fever, can be sign of some malignancy or infection and one should see a doctor, according to her. Likewise, the headaches in middle of night, along with change in the vision or even vomiting, require care immediately.

Is this Cancer? Some pains, particularly the back pain happens to be speculated as one gets older, said Dr. Haridopolos. For example, from age of 20-50, men should not be alarmed when they experience back pain in morning, but by exercise and stretching, it should be better. But you need to see doctor immediately when you start experiencing pain in back at the age of 50 or more or if there is a history you have of osteoporosis, steroid use, cancer or alcohol or drug abuse.

In younger years of life, the rheumatoid arthritis starts slowly with the morning stiffness, fatigue, and pain mostly in wrists, knees, fingers, feet as well as ankles, as said by Dr. Haridopolos. Usually, osteoarthritis appears by the middle age and is result of the aging and the joints’ disintegration, and it could be source of the pain, particularly during early morning. The Psoriatic arthritis, on the other hand, could produce the pain at end of toes or fingers along with other joints, which include the spine. She said that this disease requires treatment.

When the pain is not chronic and is due to some serious disease, there’re steps of common-sense that one could take in order to be comfortable even more.

Recommendation by Dr. Haridopolos:

  • Stretching as well as exercising for the muscle stiffness and pain
  • Maintaining the index of body mass in normal limits. Try to avoid becoming obese or overweight, since these extra pounds do put stress over one’s legs, back and the other parts of body.
  • Cutting down over sugary foods. Avoid the foods that have increased glycemic index that causes water retention, joints’ swelling, as well as discomfort. Decreasing intake of processed foods.
  •  By using some topical treatments such as Biofreeze or Aspercreme. Use the Epsom salts during any warm bath.
  •  By using anti-inflammatories drugs that could not be taken over counter, although the topical treatments tend to be safer than the oral medications.