• Tuesday, April 16, 2024


These are the 20 most painful health conditions, according to NHS

Certain conditions can cause severe pain which can affect our capacity and ability to carry out even daily tasks.

iStock – Representative Image

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

There are many illnesses and ailments that can leave us feeling debilitated and interfere with the way we go about our daily lives. In fact, we all feel different kinds of physical pain in our lives from time to time.

However, certain conditions can cause severe pain which can affect our capacity and ability to carry out even daily tasks. If left untreated, such pain can take a toll on not just our physical health, but our mental health as well.

Besides, some of the health conditions that can cause pain are not very visible and therefore, may not be diagnosed for many years, making it very difficult to manage. And though there are many illnesses that produce pain, the NHS lists 20 such conditions that can be the most painful, The Sun reports.

Let’s take a look at this long list of the most painful conditions – mentioned in no particular order.

1. Appendicitis

The first sign of appendicitis is a sharp pain in the middle of the abdomen, which comes and goes. This condition occurs due to the swelling of the appendix which is attached to the wall of the gut. Experiencing pain in the lower right side of the stomach is one of the most common symptoms. The pain can get worse if you are walking, coughing, or pressing down on the area.

The pain can also get worse within hours and in severe cases, if the appendix bursts it can even be fatal. Therefore, this condition requires urgent surgery to remove the swollen appendix.

Some of the other symptoms linked to appendicitis is nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, fever, loss of appetite, or feeling sick.

2. Endometriosis

This painful gynaecological problem occurs when tissue that is the same as the lining that is present in the womb or uterus, starts to grow in areas such as the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

As there is nowhere for this excess tissue growth to go, it gets very painful when it begins to shed. Endometriosis affects women of all ages and though it can be managed, it cannot be cured.

Those suffering from this condition can experience painful and heavy periods. Some of the other common symptoms include feeling sick, pelvic pain, difficulty in conceiving, and pain after sex.

3. Arthritis

More than 10 million people in the UK have arthritis or similar conditions that affect the joints. Arthritis is a common painful condition that causes pain, stiffness, and inflammation of the joints. This disease can get worse with age.

Two of the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Sufferers of this condition experience constant and often incapacitating joint pain usually in the knees, hips, fingers, or wrists.

Arthritis pain often presents as a burning sensation or a dull ache. It is also often associated with stiffness in the joints and muscle aches and can increase gradually over time or come on suddenly.

4. Acute pancreatitis

Located behind the stomach, the pancreas is a small banana-shaped organ, that is part of the digestive system, informs a previous report in WalesOnline. Acute pancreatitis is the sudden swelling of the pancreas which is usually caused due to the presence of gallstones and alcohol abuse.

This condition which can be potentially fatal causes sudden severe abdominal pain and inflammation of the pancreas.

Acute pancreatitis is not the same as chronic pancreatitis, whereby the pancreas becomes permanently damaged due to inflammation over many years.

5. Stomach ulcers

Open sores that grow on the lining of the stomach are known as stomach ulcers or peptic ulcers. These sores can also develop just beyond the stomach in part of the intestine.

According to experts, pain occurs either when the stomach is empty or right after eating and the symptoms are the same as heartburn, indigestion, and severe hunger pangs. Sufferers of this condition also experience burning or pain in the upper stomach.

6. Fibromyalgia

This is a deliberating long-term condition that can cause widespread pain all over the body.

This condition which is also known as fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) cause extreme tiredness, sleeping problems, muscle stiffness, increased sensitivity to pain, headaches, issues with mental processes, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

According to the charity Fibromyalgia Action UK fatigue associated with fibromyalgia, “ranges from feeling tired to the exhaustion of a flu-like illness.”

It states, “It may come and go and people can suddenly feel drained of all energy – as if someone just ‘pulled the plug’.”

Fibromyalgia is supposedly linked to the brain’s ability to process pain signals and this causes the body to amplify painful sensations. It occurs after psychological stress, physical trauma, infection, or surgery.

And though this condition cannot be cured, treatments can reportedly help to provide relief from the symptoms.

7. Gout

This condition which causes sudden severe joint pain due to inflammation mainly affects men aged between 40 and 60.

Since it is similar to other conditions, gout can be difficult to diagnose. However, it causes painful joint pain attacks of the foot, ankle, hand, knee, and wrist. Sufferers of this disease also experience a burning sensation in the foot.

The pain often starts in the feet or toes, and a joint in the big toe. Anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen are usually used to treat attacks of gout.

8. Heart attack

Medically known as myocardial infarction or MI, a heart attack is a serious medical emergency.

This occurs when there is a sudden blockage of blood supply to the heart that is usually caused by a blood clot.

This can be a life-threatening situation as the heart muscle can be seriously damaged due to a lack of blood supply.

Symptoms of a heart attack can include chest pain, feeling anxious, shortness of breath, or weakness. In some cases, chest pain may often be mistaken for indigestion.

9. Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)

This is a poorly understood condition whereby a sufferer experiences constantly severe and debilitating pain.

Usually, injury triggers most cases of CRPS, however, the resultant pain is more severe and ongoing than normal. And while the pain tends to affect only one limb, at times it can also affect other parts of the body. Oftentimes, the skin of the affected area can become very sensitive to even the slightest touch, causing severe pain.

The affected areas can also become stiff, swollen, or fluctuate in temperature or colour.

This condition may improve over time, but sufferers may experience pain for many years.

10. Cluster headaches

This rare form of headache begins without warning and are excruciating attack of pain in one side of the head.

Cluster headaches are also often felt around the eye.

Though they are supposedly more common in men, anyone can get them. Also, they can reportedly begin when a person is in their 30s or 40s.

According to cluster headache charity OUCH UK (Organisation for the Understanding of Cluster Headache) “hardly anyone” has heard of the condition – and most people afflicted with it struggle alone with the pain.

The pain due to cluster headaches can last for hours at a time and can be severe enough to continually disrupt daily life.

11. Frozen shoulder

Your shoulder can become frozen when the tissue around the shoulder joint becomes inflamed. A person may experience a stiff and painful shoulder for months and even years.

The NHS informs that the shoulder joint can become so tight and stiff that it may become impossible to carry out simple movements, such as raising your arm.

And though the cause for this condition is not clear, it reportedly could occur due to an injury or diabetes. Doctors usually treat a frozen shoulder with shoulder exercises and painkillers.

12 Broken bones

People can break their bones or experience a fracture either due to an accident like falling or if hit by an object.

Swelling, pain and deformity are the three most common signs of broken bones. But if a bone is not displaced, it may be difficult to tell whether it is broken.

13. Shingles

Also known as herpes zoster, this infection is caused by the same virus as chicken pox.

It is a painful infection of a nerve and the skin surrounding it. This condition usually affects only a particular area on one side of the body and can take many weeks for the rash to heal.

14. Slipped disc

Sudden and lower back pain is often caused due to a slipped disc.

This condition reportedly occurs when the soft cushion of tissue between the vertebrae in the spine pushes out – this tissue presses on the nerves on the spinal cord resulting in excruciating pain and numbness in either an arm or leg.

15. Sickle cell disease

This is a group of inherited health conditions that affect the red blood cells in the body. Sickle cell anaemia is the most serious type.

It is a lifelong condition but treatment can help to manage many of the symptoms of this disease.

16. Migraine

This is a common health condition affecting around 1 in 5 women and 1 in 15 men. A migraine is usually a moderate or severe headache and sufferers experience throbbing pain on one side of the head.

Other symptoms include feeling sick or being sick and increased sensitivity to light or sound.

17. Kidney stones

The passing of kidney stones can cause a sudden, sharp, cramping pain in the side of the abdomen, lower back or occasionally in the groin. If left untreated, kidney stones can lead to kidney infections or malfunction of the kidney.

18. Sciatica

When the sciatic nerve is irritated or compressed in any way, it results in sciatica which is a back problem. This nerve runs right down from the hips to the feet. Moving, sneezing, and coughing may worsen the symptoms of this sciatica.

19. Trigeminal neuralgia

This condition causes sudden, severe facial pain and is usually in one side of the face, which can often be described like an electric shock in the teeth, jaw, or gums.

These painful attacks can last from a few seconds to about two minutes.

20. Pain after surgery

Experiencing pain after surgery is common, however, the intensity varies depending on the type of surgery one undergoes.

The NHS informs that too much pain after surgery is not a good thing and you should never feel you have to “tough it out.” It is advised, that if any of your symptoms are worrying you, it is best to visit a GP.

Related Stories


Mrunal Thakur on Dhamaka, experience of working with Kartik Aaryan,…
Nushrratt Bharuccha on Chhorii, pressure of comparison with Lapachhapi, upcoming…
Abhimanyu Dassani on Meenakshi Sundareshwar, how his mom Bhagyashree reacted…