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Ten of the most painful conditions

Woman in pain
Woman in pain Image credit:

Next time you start whinging on about a cold or a sore throat count your lucky stars you haven’t been diagnosed with one these illnesses which have been classed as the most painful conditions known to mankind!


Men – you can relax on this as Endometriosis only affects women and only one in 10 experience the gynaecological condition which sees similar cells commonly found in the womb lining crop up elsewhere over the body.

Women will the illness can go through painful menstrual cycles, have dramatic effects on their fertility and pain in the lower abdomen. The condition usually affects those between the ages of 25 and 40.


Most of us have had the misery of going through chickenpox, one of the virus which can trigger those irritating spots is the varicella-zoster virus…Which is also the infection which causes shingles.

Known as one of the most painful illnesses which you can have, Shingles normally affects one side of your body with a burning or tingling sensation. Anything can cause immense pain – and we mean anything…even the wind!


These are just headaches which can be eased by a couple of Nurofen tablets. Oh no, these bad boys are so excruciating people have taken their own lives. Hence why they are also known as ‘suicide headaches’.

They are worse than several migraines and can last up to three hours, Cluster Headaches can come on without any warning and cause sharp painful stabbing around one eye and are the most painful conditions known to medical science.


When the pancreas becomes inflamed it can cause excruciating pain. Acute pancreatitis is extremely painful and requires emergency treatment – though it only occurs once where chronic pancreatitis, despite being less aggressive, can be reoccurring.


The Big C can cause great pain with a capital ‘P’. Agony can be traced to the tumours themselves or the intensive treatment – usually radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy – which is used to target the cancer.

The level of pain isn’t linked to the size of tumour – it’s where the tumour is. For instance a large tumour may not cause any discomfort at all, but a small one sitting on a nerve can be agonising.


Most kidney stones pass through the body causing little bother or irritation – but if a stone is too large to leave your body when you pee…That’s when the trouble starts!

If you have a large stone you’ll probably know about it in the middle of the night, in some cases the pain is so sharp before morning you can find yourself in A&E.

The pain can be in the lower back, the side of your abdomen or around the groin area – wherever it is…You’ll know about it!


Not just a simple case of feeling pretty cold around your upper arms area – Frozen Shoulders can persist for years if the condition isn’t treated with the right medical care.

The condition is linked to the joints becoming so tight it’s almost impossible to lift up your arm.

The cause of Frozen Shoulders remains unknown although people who have suffered extensive injury in the arm and shoulder areas or living with diabetes are more likely to develop the condition.


Those who fall into the 40 – 50 age bracket are prone to a burning and continuous pain in one of their legs, hands or feet…more commonly known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

The condition can be triggered from an injury to a bone and soft tissue and the pain can travel through the entire bone and the other side of the body.

CRPS can last for years, there’s no cure although the condition can be eased through physical therapy and medication.


Eight out of Ten will us will suffer from back pain in our lifetime and one of the main causes is a slipped disc.

People with slipped discs can experience sharp sudden pain in their lower back which can usually be eased by lying down…although a cough or a sneeze can seriously irate the discomfort.

The pain usually lasts for several weeks.


If lightening stroked on your face it would be the closest description to the chronic pain Trigeminal Neuralgia sufferers have to put up with.

The Trigeminal Nerve is the largest nerve in the skull, when pressure is forced against this area – which happens with Trigeminal Neuralgia – the pain is almost unbearable.

The condition affects people between the ages of 40 and 60 – There’s no permanent cure.

If you experience any of the illnesses mentioned on this page seek medical help immediately.