Should I go to the emergency room?
August 21, 2012 9:17 PM   Subscribe

YANMD - I'm on vacation (different state) and have been in pain for about the past week. The pain has gotten worse. Should I head to the ER, or suck it up until Thursday, when I take a flight back home?

The pain is in my right buttocks. My vacation has required a lot of walking; I was fine at first (no pain in the morning, a little pain after walking a ton), but it has gotten progressively worse, to the point where today I was in excruciating pain throughout the day (even resting, which used to make me feel 100%, now just reduces the pain by 75%), and spent time in a wheelchair.

I am limping, as it hurts to put weight on my leg. It feels like a stabbing pain/needing to crack something that won't bend? Hard to describe. The pain comes randomly; I'll be relatively ok, then suddenly be gasping in pain, unable to move, even crying.

I am aware walking on it was stupid, but I figured at first it was just muscle pain and would go away. Feel free to ask me any questions. Also feel free to make suggestions as to what the problem could be. Thanks.
posted by Sakura3210 to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Forgot to mention:Also feel free to make suggestions on how to fix this pain!
posted by Sakura3210 at 9:22 PM on August 21, 2012

That would probably not be a fun flight back. At the very least, a doctor could prescribe some painkillers to help you get home.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:23 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ice it and some Tylenol.
posted by bitdamaged at 9:26 PM on August 21, 2012

Any undiagnosed pain that is bad enough to make you cry merits a medical visit, IMO.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 9:28 PM on August 21, 2012 [7 favorites]

Go see a doctor, seriously.

Though where exactly does it hurt on your butt? Is it the sit bone area? Does it hurt to sit/get up from sitting?
posted by astapasta24 at 9:42 PM on August 21, 2012

I would think traveling with that pain would be agony. I also think pain that 1) gets worse and 2) makes you cry is more than enough reason to get prompt help.
posted by chairface at 9:46 PM on August 21, 2012

Typically a consistant pain lasting longer than 24 hours would warrant a doctor's visit or a pain that makes me cry for that matter. I probably wouldn't go to an ER but I would find some type of Immediate Care Center (could save you some money). Either way, I advise the doctor as well.

That said here are some helpful tips that may help. Have you tried stretching, heating, ice packs? I have had issues with pain in the past due to sports and living a fairly active lifestyle. I would advise to stretch in the AM, before a long walk, and even throughout the day. Depending on your pain here is a link to stretches. If it is too painful to stretch, that would be another sign for me to go to the doctor. Ice during acute pain. Heat before long walk, in morning and before bed. All of these work for me but this type of "soothing" for pain is personal. Either way, listen to your body and you will see what works for you or if you should go to the doctor right away. Also, take some type of anti-inflammatory (IBUProfen) if you can.
posted by MyMind at 9:46 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

You need a doctor. This is no way to enjoy a vacation, and your body is providing pain to tell you that something's wrong. On the off-chance that it turns out to be sciatica (see here -- does it hurt here?), there's a commonly-prescribed medicine called Skelaxin that is cheap, kills the pain, and doesn't make you feel doped up. It just fixes the problem immediately. You could be pain-free and enjoying yourself again in a few hours.
posted by Houstonian at 4:52 AM on August 22, 2012

Where are you vacationing? There is a chance of spider or bug bite. Look at the skin for any discoloration or tiny punctures. (Sciatica, chipped bone, joint issues or something of course being more likely, but you want to be thorough.)
posted by DoubleLune at 5:13 AM on August 22, 2012

I would urge you to see a physician as soon as possible.

I had similar problems (on vacation, too) and it was a tear in the labrum of my left hip. I too was doing a lot of walking on uneven terrain. I noticed pain, one-sided, in my groin/buttock area that would only abate with rest. Ibuprofen helped, at first; muscle relaxants, prescribed by my GP thinking it's a strain or sprain, did not.

If you go to the ER, there are a couple of physical things the doctor can do, including an impingement test. If it is a tear, you'll probably need an angiogram (MRI with dye to identify the tear) and have it debrided arthroscopically.
posted by FergieBelle at 5:44 AM on August 22, 2012

Don't go to the ER - while your pain definitely sucks, it's NOT an emergency. Go to an urgent care facility. They will most likely be able to provide you a small quantity of pain relievers and/or muscle relaxants to tide you over until you get home, at which point you're going to have to see your GP and/or an orthopedist ASAP.
posted by julthumbscrew at 5:57 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. To answer your questions, I can't really stretch (hurts), no bite marks, and the pain is primarily located in the center of my right buttocks (so most movement hurts, not just sitting/standing, though putting weight on it is worse).

The pain has receded a bit (resting in bed definitely helped), so I'm going to go to an urgent care facility (didn't even know those existed!) instead of the ER. Thanks again!
posted by Sakura3210 at 6:21 AM on August 22, 2012

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