For most of us it seems easy to identify heart attack, pancreatitis and other serious conditions, as they usually cause typical symptoms.
Chest discomfort is probably related to heart problems because the heart is situated in the chest. And appendicitis becomes apparent in sharp pain in the lower right abdomen, where appendix is normally located. Sounds logically, isn't it?
But in reality, everything is a bit more complicated.
It's completely possible that your discomfort and pain in the jaw has nothing common with teeth but is caused by heart problems.
This phenomenon is medically called referred pain. It means that you feel pain in other area than where the main damage occurs.
The reason is that nerve fibers that carry pain impulses from different internal organs to the nerve centers can converge, sending information to the same neurons. As a result, your brain may “confuse” exact location of the pain stimulus.
It's really important to understand that your pain in the arm or other part of the body may indicate problems in another, distant areas.
Here are the most common health troubles which may cause painful sensations out of the primary trigger:
#1. Heart – tightness in the chest is not the only sign of heart attack. High number of people who experience myocardial infarction complain of pain in the left shoulder, blade, neck and/or jaw.
#2. Lungs – it's not uncommon that lung issues like pulmonary embolism and cancer, cause aching in the shoulder blades.
#3. Pancreas – nearly half of patients with acute pancreatitis have intensive pain in the middle of the back.
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#4. Gallbladder – this pear-shaped sac is located in the upper right part of your belly, just under the liver. It stores and delivers bile in order to help you digest foods. Sometimes hard deposits called stones may be created inside the gallbladder. When they block the duct and stop releasing of the bile, a person may suffer from sudden heavy pain in upper right abdominal area, center of the belly, right shoulder and back.
#5. Kidneys – stones may be also formed inside the kidneys, especially if your urine contains a lot of crystals like calcium, uric acid and oxalate. Kidney stones may stay symptomless until they get into the ureter (the tube which connects your kidney with the bladder). If this occurs, you may experience abrupt unbearable pain in the side and lower back that radiates into the groin and abdomen.
#6. Stomach – even though stomach problems are easily-identifiable by pain in the upper abdomen, accompanied by nausea and vomiting, sometimes stomach disorders may also cause aching in the shoulders and chest.
#7. Appendix – it's a finger-shaped tube, which is a part of large intestine, in the lower right side of abdominal cavity. Appendicitis - inflammation of this pouch - is a medical emergency that requires immediate intervention. Pain in the lower right abdomen is a classical symptom of appendicitis but it may also trigger unpleasant sensations around the navel, back and rectum.
#8. Ovaries – ovarian cancer and cysts are rather common issues among women. In the majority of cases these health problems don't cause any symptoms. But sometimes ovarian tumor may press on the nerves, leading to pain in the pelvis, back and hips.
#9. Liver – liver disease may develop as a result of viral infection, alcohol abuse and autoimmune processes. Most people with liver problems feel heaviness and pain not only in the upper right abdomen, but also in right shoulder and back between scapula.
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