Sometimes they hurt, but if this isn't a primary outbreak for you - either you already had it and didn't know it, or you have oral herpes already - it may not hurt. Keep in mind that 90% of those who have herpes don't know they have it because their symptoms are so mild they wouldn't ever think of herpes causing them, or because they don't get symptoms.
You should get tested. It may be hard to hear the news, but if you know you have it, you can take steps to help reduce the chance of transmission. Since it's been so long since you had the sore, a swab test probably won't be accurate, but you can get a blood test to find out if you already have it. Ask your doctor for a type specific IgG blood test - make sure this is the test they do. You don't mention when you were last possibly exposed. If it's been more than 4 months, your test is accurate. If not, test again at 4 months to be sure. If all you test positive for is hsv1, then assume that's an oral infection.
Your symptoms don't sound like typical herpes, but don't rule it out. It could be ingrown hairs. If it happens again, get to a doctor within 48 hours (ideally) of the sores appearing, and ask for them to be cultured and typed. Don't squeeze them, no matter what they are. That can introduce bacteria to them and cause an infection.