No matter what kind of pain you have, it can be frightening and stressful. You may wonder what aches and pains are normal and when you should call the doctor. Call your family doctor if:


  • You experience any unusual ache or pain that starts gradually and becomes worse after a few weeks.

  • You have arthritis and your arthritic pain is worse than normal or interferes with your usual activities.

  • You feel any sudden severe pain.


What do you do if you feel pain? First, admit that you have pain. Although you may not want to worry your family or friends, you’ll need to ask for help and support from your health care team. Tell them where the pain is and how it feels. Try to answer these questions:


  • How long have you had your pain?

  • Has your pain been getting worse, staying the same or getting better over time?

  • What does your pain stop you from doing?

  • Does your pain wake you from sleep?

  • What are you usually doing when your pain starts and stops?

  • Does your pain start up without any warning?

  • Does your pain stay in one place or move around?

  • Is the pain sharp, dull, hot, cold, burning, aching or throbbing?


There are different ways to manage pain involving medicine and non-medical treatments such as emotional support and counseling, skin stimulation and acupuncture. Talk to your health care team to learn more about managing your pain.