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The most excruciating pains humans can experience: From kidney stones to cracked ribs

The Independent logo The Independent 19/6/2017 Beth Timmins

© Provided by Independent Print Limited A question many ask but few dare to answer. Would it hurt more to break a rib or have a hernia, is it worse to have appendicitis or punctured lung? Or the age old: Is it more painful to have a baby or be kicked in the b**ls?

Amongst the NHS’s list of conditions that can cause the most notoriously severe pains are arthritis, kidney stones and broken bones. Less well known pain-inducing aliments include trigeminal neuralgia- often described as feeling like an electric shock is shooting through your face.

The NHS also names frozen shoulder as one of the worst to suffer. This is where the joint becomes so tight and stiff that it’s almost impossible to even raise your arm. The condition can last for several years if left untreated. 

Endometriosis also sounds excruciating and effects one in ten women in the UK. The gynaecological condition is where cells like those in the womb's lining are found elsewhere in the body and induce severe pains.

Illnesses more historically common also feature. Our grandparents may well have been unlucky enough to experience shingles which are characterised by blisters or rashes on the body that create painful burning sensations. At times these can be so strong that the sufferer experiences stabbing pains when someone brushes lightly against the affected area.

Gout, a form of arthritis often occurring in the big toe is also listed. Known from its famous victim Henry VIII, gout begins to ache and swells until the area becomes red hot. The joint can frequently look as though it has a boil with the surrounding skin peeling.

Attacks can last up to ten days but it is a myth that they are caused only by rich food and drinking as teetotal vegetarians can also contract the illness. Gratefully, you can continue to wonder whether you’re hard enough without having to experience the numerous ailments as thousands of commenters are answering the curiosity on Reddit.

One especially unfortunate commenter broke a total of 19 bones, punctured a lung and was concussed after being run over by a truck.

But they say: “It actually did not hurt at first, not even the first hour or two.” The four months of “pure h**l” ensued after experiencing the excruciating effects of an incorrect morphine dose and medically induced coma.

20 of the most painful conditions, according to the NHS


Cluster headaches

Frozen shoulder

Broken bones

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Heart attack

Slipped disc





Kidney stones


Trigeminal neuralgia




Stomach ulcer


Pain after an operation

Also watch: Study links chronic pain with Dementia risk (Provided by Dailymotion)

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