How many mornings do you get out of bed with your joints popping and cracking?
Or your jaw clicks and pops while you are eating?
It’s hard to tell if your body is simply adjusting itself, hinting at a minor issue or ready to launch a full-on assault on your being.
Listening closely to your body can provide significant warnings that something is wrong.
Here are some pains and annoyances you may be experiencing that could signify a deeper issue:
1. Cracking Joints
The most likely cause of cracking joints is the fluid that surrounds the joints. These fluids contain gasses, so when your joint stretches, the gas bubbles are quickly released and create the cracking or popping sound.
Otherwise, if you feel pain every time a joint cracks, this could be a sign of a cartilage or joint issue such as arthritis.
So, if the cracking and popping doesn’t hurt, there’s no need to be concerned. However, if you experience pain, swelling, redness, warmness or difficulty moving, it may be time to see a doctor.
2. Clicking or Popping Jaw
Clicking or popping in your jaw occurs when the joint that connects your jaw to your skull isn’t opening and closing smoothly. This can be caused by teeth grinding or poor tooth alignment.
It can also be caused by stress, since most people tend to clench their teeth tighter when they’re tense.
If the popping is accompanied by pain, this could be a sign of arthritis.
Occasional jaw clicks are nothing to worry about. Simply try to relax your jaw and surrounding muscles when you’re not eating.
Also try to stay away from chewing things like gum or sticky candies.
If the issue is more serious and involves pain or even the locking of your jaw, you should see a dentist.
3. Night Sweats
If you’re a mom, a woman for that matter, you may be all too familiar with the sensation of waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat.
Hormonal fluctuations are typically the root cause of this issue, since they can affect your body’s internal thermometer. This can either be related to being a woman or to a thyroid issue.
Some medications, such as antidepressants, can also be the culprit.
You can try to lower the temperature in your room or invest in moisture-wicking sheets and pajamas.
If the sweats don’t subside, or are not linked to your menstrual cycle, you should talk to your doctor to rule out an illness or hormonal issue.
You’ve probably encountered a snorer or two in your life and may even be one yourself (according to others, of course).
Snoring is usually caused by swelling in the airway which causes the tissue at the back of your throat to vibrate as you sleep. This swelling can be the result of being overweight or having nasal or sinus problems.
Worst case scenario is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) which involves not only snoring but brief pauses in breathing while you sleep.
If you are a snorer, try to sleep on your side to keep your throat tissue from collapsing. You can even try nasal strips to keep your airways widened while you sleep.
Loud and unrelievable snoring should be checked out by a doctor to see if OSA is the cause.
5. Dry Eyes
Sitting in front of a computer seems to be the norm nowadays when it comes to work and leisure. This is the most likely cause for dry eyes.
However, alcohol, weather conditions, antihistamines and antidepressants can all cause your peepers to dry out.
Chronically dry eyes, however, can indicate hyperthyroidism or an autoimmune disease such as lupus.
To alleviate mild cases of dry eyes, try over-the-counter artificial tears or use a nightly ointment before you go to bed.
More severe cases, not linked to any sort of illness, may require a prescription eye drop to alleviate the dryness. If nothing over-the-counter works, time to see your doctor.
6. Chronic Cough
Coughing is your body’s natural way of getting rid of irritants in your throat or lungs. This can be caused by allergies, hyperactive mucus membranes and acid reflux.
Smoking is also an obvious culprit and can lead to chronic obstructive lung disease.
Coughing is often one symptom of another issue. If you find yourself hacking constantly and getting no relief from coughing, schedule a visit with your doctor.
They can listen to your lungs and order an x-ray to further investigate the issue.
7. Bleeding Gums
If you notice your gums bleed when you give your teeth a good scrub, this is likely caused by bacteria between your teeth and gums.
This bacteria releases an acid that irritates your gums and leads to bleeding.
Hormonal changes, such as those experienced during pregnancy, can cause this bacteria to flourish.
Gum disease, however, can also cause bleeding gums.
If your gums do not heal, check in with your dentist to make sure there’s no infection or disease.
8. Cold Hands
Apart from cold weather, coldness in your hands can be caused by stress. Stress amps up your nervous system and cause blood vessels to constrict, leading to cold extremities.
Also, some people simply have slower circulation than others.
However, if your fingers also spasm, go numb or change in color, you may have something called Reynaud’s phenomenon.
Other possibilities include a connective-tissue disorder, blocked arteries and side-effects from some medication.
You can try to reduce your stress to bring warmth back into your digits. Meditation and deep breathing are great ways to calm both your body and your mind.
But if your hands go cold inexplicably and it happens frequently, give your doctor a shout.
9. Dark Urine
Who knew that pee could hold the key to health problems?
When you don’t get enough liquids (i.e. water) into your body, your urine will take on a darker hue such as a deep yellow.
Dark urine can also mean you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), which is usually accompanied by a constant urge to pee as well as a burning sensation when you do so.
Bladder and kidney infections can also cause your urine to darken.
Try drinking more water throughout the day. But, if your urine stays dark and you are experiencing fever, pain while urinating and urinating with an unusual urgency and frequency, it may be time to see your doctor.
10. Cracking at the Corners of Your Mouth
Winter is the worst time of the year for cracking lips. The dry, cold air, paired with constant lip-licking, can lead to painful cracks at the corners of your mouth.
However, a deficiency in iron, vitamin A or C or any B vitamin can also cause this area of your face to dry out and crack.
More serious issues can include a fungal infection such as thrush, which is accompanied by redness around the cracks.
Or, they can simply be caused by a slight allergic reaction to a cosmetic or cream.
Keep your lips moist with some lip balm and avoid licking them during the colder months. If the cracks persist or worsen, see a doctor to rule out infection.
Listen to Your Body
It has a lot to say!
Are there any signs your body gave you to warn of an ailment or issue? Share your story below!