Last Saturday I attended a birthday party for my Father. I was having a great deal of widespread breakthrough pain. I brushed it off as being just increased pain due to the ever changing weather patterns we have been having. My Mother then asked this question, “Would you know if the pain you are having is more than just your everyday chronic pain? Would you know if it was something more serious?”

Mom’s question reminded me of something that had happened several years ago. I had a couple episodes of back pain doubling me over to the floor. I brushed it off as muscle spasms. After the fourth attack in two days, my family insisted that I go get it checked out. They found that my gallbladder had stopped functioning and needed to be removed immediately. The surgeons ask me why I didn’t realize something was wrong. My answer: I thought it was just severe muscle spasms from my underlying back issues.

Now that my mother brought the subject back to my attention, I am somewhat concerned. Would I be able to tell if I were having a serious or life threatening issue or would it be like the gallbladder attack?

I spoke with a friend who is a registered nurse regarding this subject. Her advice was that if I find that I am having pain that gives me reason to pause, I should reflect back on my activities. Did I overdo when cleaning the house or shopping? If I can’t find a logical explanation for the pain, then I should go see my healthcare provider or seek medical treatment if the symptoms appear they could be life threatening.

Do you think you would know if it was something other than your daily chronic pain? Do you ignore new pain and brush it off as breakthrough pain? If not, how do you know that it is something more serious and needs to be checked out?

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