Spanish Lesson Beginner 25 Describing aches and pains at the doctor’s Posted by on Nov 16, 2011 in Spanish Grammar, Spanish Vocabulary, Videos

Hola ¿Cómo estáis?

Today we will learn how to manage when visiting a doctor in a Spanish speaking country. We will look at the names of the main parts of the body in Spanish, common pains and ailments in Spanish and how to explain the pain you are feeling and where you are feeling it in Spanish using the verb “Doler” (to hurt).

First let’s look at the parts of the body in Spanish:

• Cabeza: Head
• Oreja: Ear
• Oído: Inner ear
• Ojo: Eye
• Boca: Mouth
• Nariz (f): Nose
• Garganta: Throat
• Cuello: Neck
• Espalda: Back
• Pecho: Chest
• Brazo: Arm
• Mano (f): Hand
• Dedo: Finger
• Estómago: Stomach
• Tripa: Belly
• Culo: Bottom
• Rodilla: Knee
• Pierna: Leg
• Pie (m): Foot

Let´s see now how to describe in Spanish the pain you are feeling in your body. The word “Pain” in Spanish is “Dolor” and we use this to describe common pains:

• Dolor de cabeza: Headache
• Dolor de garganta: Sore throat
• Dolor de oídos: Earache
• Dolor de espalda: Backache
• Tengo dolor de cabeza: I have a headache

Another way to describe a pain you are feeling is by using the Spanish verb “Doler” which means “To hurt” in English. Be careful not to confuse Dolor with Doler; they look very similar, but one is a noun (pain) and one if a verb (to hurt) and they are used in very different ways. El verbo Doler works in a similar way to El verbo Gustar (to like) which we have analysed in a previous lesson and in a different way to the majority of other verbs we have already seen in the course.

• Me duele: It hurts me
• Me duelen: They hurt me

If you want to say that you or another person feels pain in one area, you will use “duele” because one thing is hurting, but if various things are causing pain you will have to use “duelen”.

• Me duele la cabeza: My head hurts
• Me duelen los pies: My feet hurt
• Me duele mucho la cabeza: My head hurts a lot
• Me duele un poco la cabeza: My head hurts a little
• No me duele la cabeza: My head doesn´t hurt

With Doler we don’t use “yo, tú, él, etc…” We use instead “a mí, a ti, a él, etc,…” and it is always optional. So you can say “me duele” or “a mí me duele…” Let´s see now how the verb Doler works with all the different persons:

• (a mí) me duele la cabeza: My head hurts
• (a ti) te duele la cabeza: Your head hurts (friendly)
• (a usted) le duele la cabeza: Your head hurts (formal)
• (a él/a ella) le duele la cabeza: His/Her head hurts
• (a nosotros/as) nos duele la cabeza: Our heads hurt
• (a vosotros/as) os duele la cabeza: Your heads hurt (group/friendly)
• (a ustedes) les duele la cabeza: Your heads hurt (group/formal)
• (a ellos/as) les duele la cabeza: Their heads hurt

So this is all for today. Try to memorise the parts of the body by drawing a person and labeling each part. Then try to add sentences describing aches and pains you may feel in those areas. Quite possibly the biggest challenge will be getting used to using the verb Doler. Remember Doler has exactly the same structure as the verb Gustar (to like), so it is a good idea to review the use of both verbs together. I definitely recommend going back and reviewing the previous beginner video lesson in this course which looked at the verb Gustar.

In the next beginner Spanish lesson we will continue this theme and look at practical ways to converse and manage at the doctor’s.

Have a great day and see you soon.

¡Hasta luego!

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About the Author: Laura & Adam

Laura & Adam have been blogging and creating online Spanish courses for Transparent Language since 2010. Laura is from Bilbao in northern Spain and Adam is from Devon in the south of England. They lived together in Spain for over 10 years, where their 2 daughters were born, and now they live in Scotland. Both Laura & Adam qualified as foreign language teachers in 2004 and since have been teaching Spanish in Spain, the UK, and online.


  1. Becky:

    I know this article is old but I had 2 friends (1 in Mexico and 1 in Colombia) correct me for using the word “culo”. They both said it was rude(grosero). Don’t use the word “culo” in South America. The nicer term is “trasero”.
    🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Laura:

      @Becky Thank you Becky!