Braxton hicks or contractions?

Manda • I`m 30, ttc baby #2
I'm 37 weeks and a FTM. For the past few days I have been having what I think are braxton hicks but they are quite painful compared to what they were before. My whole belly just doesn't feel right, I can't really explain it but it just feels unsettled if that makes any sense. I went to labour ward yesterday as I was having really bad period cramps and tightenings along with back spasms. They checked me over and I'm not dilated at all so they sent me home to rest and said that it's just braxton hicks. 
My question to you all is this normal for this stage? Should braxton hicks be causing me this much pain? I didn't sleep last night as I was in pain with it and that was with me taking the painkillers they gave me. Is my body getting ready or is this just something I am going to have to cope with for the next 3weeks? Any advice would be really appreciated! Thank you 😊