Talking about body pain | English speaking lesson

Use the following phrases to talk about body pain.

  • My arm / leg hurts.
  • My wrist is sore.
  • I’ve a nagging pain (= a pain that doesn’t go away) in the shoulder.
  • I sprained my ankle while I was playing football.
  • I have pain below my right rib cage.


To sprain is to injure a joint by twisting violently so that there is pain and swelling. It is not the same as breaking a bone. When you break a bone, the injury is to the bone itself but when you sprain a body part you are hurting the tissue that connects the bone.

  • I can’t walk that well.
  • I can’t move that much because of the leg pains.
  • I can’t bend my knee that well.
  • I fell off the stairs and broke my leg yesterday.
  • My mother has arthritis so she can’t move her hands and legs well.


Use the following phrases to talk about pains and aches affecting the legs.

  • My legs are very sore because I went hiking yesterday.
  • My legs are all sore because I went jogging in the morning.
  • I often get cramps on my calf.
  • My shoes hurt me a lot.
  • I banged my little toe against the wall yesterday.
  • He gave me a charley horse yesterday and my leg is still sore. (To give somebody a charley horse is to hit them in the thigh.)
  • I banged my knee against the table and it still hurts.
  • I broke my leg last year while playing basketball.
  • He fell off the ladder and broke his knee.
  • I think I’ve sprained my ankle. It’s swollen.

The head area

Use the following phrases to talk about aches and pains affecting the head area.

  • I’ve a sore throat.
  • I’ve got a horrible cold.
  • I always get a cold during the winter season.
  • I’m allergic to dust.
  • I’m getting toothache. OR I’m getting a toothache.
  • I’ve got a headache.
  • I always get a sore throat if I eat or drink something cold.
  • My eyes are itchy.
  • Don’t pick your nose. It’s a very bad habit.
  • I get a runny nose during the winter season.
  • I’ve a cold sore on my lips.
  • How did you get that cut on your chin?
  • I used to get a lot of pimples when I was young.
  • I’m thinking of getting my nose pierced.
  • I had pimple problems when I was a teenager.


Note the use of articles with the names of illnesses.

The is used before the names of some common illnesses. Examples are: the measles, the flu.

Names of major illnesses are usually used with no articles. Examples are: cancer, diabetes, jaundice etc. We do not usually say the cancer or the diabetes.

The article a/an is used with the names of common aches and pains. Examples are: a toothache, a cold, a headache, an earache, a backache etc.

The body area

Here is a range of phrases you can use to talk about general pains and aches that affect the body area.

  • Don’t turn your head too quickly. You might hurt your neck.
  • I hurt my neck when I turned my head too quickly.
  • I think I should consult a doctor. I’ve been getting chest pain recently.
  • I’m asthmatic.
  • His asthma gets worse during winter months.
  • I don’t like spicy food. If I eat it, I get a stomach ache.
  • I’ve got a pot belly. I don’t know how to get rid of the fat on my stomach.
  • I’ve an upset stomach.
  • My stomach hurts.
  • Are you hungry? I can hear your stomach rumble.
  • If you want six pack abs, you’ll have to hit the gym every day.

Six pack is a terminology used to describe a flat stomach. Abs is short for abdomen. The phrase washboard abs is also used to refer to a flat stomach.

  • She’s got washboard abs.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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