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Top 10 Most Painful Medical Conditions

Written by on April 12, 2012 in Weekly Top - 76 Comments
Top Most Painful Diseases

Many people suffer from painful medical conditions. Pain is a sensation that’s triggered by a person’s nervous system, and it can be sharp or dull and constant or intermittent. A person can experience focal or diffuse pain, and that pain is the body’s way of telling a person that something is wrong in there, thus having one of the most important roles in protecting the body. However, certain medical conditions generate excessive amounts of pain, often referred by the patients as agonizing, excruciating, severe or awful pain.

10. Arthritis

Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints. There are over 100 different forms of arthritis. The most common form, osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), is a result of trauma to the joint, infection of the joint, or age.
Regardless of the type of arthritis, the common symptoms for all arthritis disorders include varied levels of pain that ranges from medium to awful. The major complaint by individuals who have arthritis is severe joint pain. Pain is often a constant and may be localized to the joint affected.
The pain from arthritis is due to inflammation that occurs around the joint, damage to the joint from disease, daily wear and tear of joint, muscle strains caused by forceful movements against stiff, crushing joints and fatigue.

9. Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. It occurs when pancreatic enzymes (especially trypsin) that digest food are activated in the pancreas instead of the small intestine. It may be acute – beginning suddenly and lasting a few days, or chronic – occurring over many years. The most common symptoms of pancreatitis are severe upper abdominal pain radiating to the back, nausea, and vomiting that is worsened with eating.
Blood pressure may be elevated by pain or decreased by dehydration or bleeding. Heart and respiratory rates are often elevated. The abdomen is usually tender but to a lesser degree than the pain itself. As is common in abdominal disease, bowel sounds may be reduced from reflex bowel paralysis. Fever or jaundice may be present.
The treatment of pancreatitis is supportive and depends on severity. Morphine generally is suitable for pain control.

8. Herpes zoster (Shingles)

Herpes zoster, commonly known as shingles, is a viral disease characterized by a painful skin rash with blisters in a limited area on one side of the body, often in a stripe. The initial infection with varicella zoster virus causes the acute (short-lived) illness chickenpox which generally occurs in children and young people.
Burning or tingling pain, along with numbness or itching, are among the first shingles-related symptoms to appear, and that the pain or discomfort manifests in one part – and on only one side – of the the body. After several days, fluid-filled blisters appear on the skin.
The pain ranges from medium to extreme in the affected dermatome, with sensations that are often described as stinging, tingling, aching or throbbing, and can be interspersed with quick stabs of agonizing pain.

7. Achalasia

Achalasia, also known as esophageal achalasia, achalasia cardiae, cardiospasm, and esophageal aperistalsis, is an esophageal motility disorder involving the smooth muscle layer of the esophagus and the lower esophageal sphincter.
Achalasia is characterized by difficulty swallowing, regurgitation, and sometimes severe throat and chest pain.
The most common form is primary achalasia, which has no known underlying cause. It is due to the failure of distal esophageal inhibitory neurons. However, a small proportion occurs secondary to other conditions, such as Esophageal cancer or Chagas disease (an infectious disease common in South America).Achalasia affects about one person in 100.000 per year.
The main symptoms of achalasia are dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), regurgitation of undigested food, massive chest pain behind the sternum, and weight loss. Dysphagia tends to become progressively worse over time and to involve both fluids and solids. Some people may also experience coughing when lying in a horizontal position. The chest pain experienced, also known as cardio spasm and non-cardiac chest pain can often be mistaken for a heart attack. It can be extremely painful in some sufferers. Food and liquid, including saliva, are retained in the esophagus and may be inhaled into the lungs.

6. Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)

Frozen shoulder is probably one of the most painful and debilitating conditions faced in the chiropractic clinic. What’s more it remains extremely painful, and disabling, for a long period time, if not properly managed. Up to three years. Simple daily activities like taking off a t-shirt or putting on a coat, even combing one’s hair become an ordeal. The joint becomes so tight and stiff that it is nearly impossible to carry out simple movements, such as raising the arm. The movement that is most severely inhibited is external rotation of the shoulder.
Shoulder pain is caused by many conditions. The majority, but not all, are the result of irritation of nerves in the lower neck or upper thoracic spine. That is why chiropractic treats shoulder pain so successfully.
It is one of the more difficult conditions causing shoulder pain. It can be successfully treated with chiropractic, however the shrunken shoulder capsule, depending on how advanced the shoulder pain is, may take several months and very occasionally a whole year to resolve, even with chiropractic. Medically, the condition is acknowledged to take up to three years to resolve.

5. Kidney stones

Passing a kidney stone is one of the most painful medical conditions. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health, states that kidney stones – hard masses or crystal aggregations – are one of the most painful urologic disorders, and that the first symptom of a kidney stone is often extreme pain that arises without warning. A person with kidney stones will usually experience a sharp, cramping pain in his low back and flank or lower abdomen, along with nausea and vomiting and pain that eventually spreads to his groin.
The hallmark of stones that obstruct the ureter or renal pelvis is excruciating intermittent pain that radiates from the flank to the groin or to the genital area and inner thigh. This particular type of pain, known as renal colic, is often described as one of the strongest pain sensations known.
According to the NIDDK, the cause of kidney stones is often difficult to determine, and while some types of foods may promote stone formation, it’s unclear whether eating certain foods causes kidney stones in people who are not susceptible. Susceptible individuals include people with a family history of kidney stones, people with urinary tract infections and people with hyperparathyroidism.

4. Dercum disease

Dercum’s Disease is a rare condition characterized by multiple, painful lipomas. These lipomas mainly occur on the trunk, the upper arms and upper legs. The diagnosis of Dercum’s disease implies a long, chronic pain syndrome of debilitating nature. The exact cause of Dercum’s disease is unknown.
Multiple painful lipomas are the cardinal symptom of this disease, as well as skeletal pain in wrists, elbows, hips, tail bone and the long bones of the arms and legs.. The pain can be very intense and can be described as aching, stabbing, smarting or burning. The pain is chronic and progressive, but varies much in cycles.
Treatment of Dercum’s disease is usually targeted towards pain relief rather than removal. Currently, there is a lack of scientific data on the use of integrative therapies for the treatment or prevention of Dercum’s disease.

3. Hidradenitis suppurativa

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a skin disease that most commonly affects areas bearing apocrine sweat glands or sebaceous glands, such as the underarms, breasts, inner thighs, groin and buttocks.
This non-contagious disease manifests as clusters of chronic abscesses, epidermoid cysts, sebaceous cysts, pilonidal cyst or multilocalised infections, which can be as large as baseballs or as small as a pea, that are extremely painful to the touch and may persist for years with occasional to frequent periods of inflammation, culminating in incision and drainage of pus, often leaving open wounds that will not heal. For unknown reasons, people with hidradenitis develop plugging or clogging of their apocrine glands. It causes chronic scarring and pus formation of the underarms (axilla) and groin/inner thigh areas. The simple procedure of incision and drainage provides some relief from severe, often debilitating, pressure pain.

2. Trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia, also known as Fothergill’s disease is a neuropathic disorder characterized by episodes of intense pain in the face, originating from the trigeminal nerve. It has been described as among the most painful conditions known to mankind. It is estimated that 1 in 15,000 people suffer from Trigeminal neuralgia, although the actual figure may be significantly higher due to frequent misdiagnosis. In a majority of cases, TN symptoms begin appearing after the age of 50, although there have been cases with patients being as young as three years of age. It is more common in females than males.
The trigeminal nerve is a paired cranial nerve that has three major branches: the ophthalmic nerve, the maxillary nerve, and the mandibular nerve. One, two, or all three branches of the nerve may be affected. 10-12% of cases are bilateral (occurring on both the left and right sides of the face).
To describe the pain sensation, patients may describe a trigger area on the face so sensitive that touching or even air currents can trigger an episode; however, in many patients the pain is generated spontaneously without any apparent stimulation. It affects lifestyle as it can be triggered by common activities such as eating, talking, shaving and brushing teeth. Wind, high pitched sounds, loud noises such as concerts or crowds, chewing, and talking can aggravate the condition in many patients. The attacks are said by those affected to feel like stabbing electric shocks, burning, pressing, crushing, exploding or shooting pain that becomes intractable.

1. Cluster headache

Cluster headache, also called “suicide headache” is a neurological disease that involves, as its most prominent feature, an immense degree of pain in the head. Cluster headaches occur periodically: spontaneous remissions interrupt active periods of pain. The cause of the disease is currently unknown. It affects approximately 0.1% of the population, and men are more commonly affected than women.
Cluster headaches are excruciating unilateral headaches of extreme intensity. The duration of the common attack ranges from as short as 15 minutes to three hours or more. The onset of an attack is rapid, and most often without the preliminary signs that are characteristic of a migraine. However, some sufferers report preliminary sensations of pain in the general area of attack, often referred to as “shadows”, that may warn them an attack is lurking or imminent.
The pain may be very sharp and may cause pain around the eye area and may also be a pain within the back of the eye. The pain of cluster headaches is markedly greater than in other headache conditions, including severe migraines; experts have suggested that it may be the most painful condition known to medical science. Female patients have reported it as being more severe than childbirth. In some cases even morphine is not enough.
Dr. Peter Goadsby, Professor of Clinical Neurology at University College London (now University of California, San Francisco), a leading researcher on the condition has commented:
Cluster headache is probably the worst pain that humans experience. I know that’s quite a strong remark to make, but if you ask a cluster headache patient if they’ve had a worse experience, they’ll universally say they haven’t. Women with cluster headache will tell you that an attack is worse than giving birth. So you can imagine that these people give birth without anesthetic once or twice a day, for six, eight, or ten weeks at a time, and then have a break. It’s just awful.

76 Comments on "Top 10 Most Painful Medical Conditions"

  1. Janet April 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm · Reply

    My husband has Dercum’s Disease and we have had considerable difficulty getting the medical community to recognize the excrutiating pain because of the rarity of the condition.

    How was this list compiled? Are there references for this list? Author biography? I make a point of collecting all written material referencing Dercum’s, but without references, it is difficult to classify.

    • Garburt October 14, 2012 at 10:25 pm · Reply

      Please join the group at MDjunction as a caregiver and have your husband join as one of over 400 of us sufferers of DD. I would love to see your stash of information to add to ours. We are a group of great help to each other.

  2. Demery April 20, 2012 at 11:29 pm · Reply

    You are missing Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy aka Complex Regional Pain Syndrome!!! The McGill Pain scale has it rated as a 42 out of 50 and neuralgia as not even 25, yet it didn’t make your list? I get cluster headaches and I have no where near the pain that my 20 y/o daughter suffers 24/7 with her burning nerve pain. Go do some more research.

  3. Monica April 21, 2012 at 12:59 am · Reply

    I have Dercum’s and kidney stones both of which are on the list. To Janet, Dr. Karen Herbst is the goddess of Dercum’s and is on Facebook. The way I dealt with my Dercum’s symptoms is I took a packet of research studies (there are actually many with references) and gave them to all my doctors. No one has doubted me or denied me treatment or pain meds. In fact, they have educated their staffs about Dercum’s and keep tabs on me regularly. Dermatologists, rheumatologists, family physicians and pain specialists need to know about Dercum’s and if they don’t you can educate them with Dr. Herbst’s research and a packet of information. Does your husband also have lymphedema (swelling from lymphatic fluid)? If so, find a lymphatic drainage physical therapist in your area. They do wonders in relieving pain and swelling.

  4. feisty April 21, 2012 at 12:14 pm · Reply

    I suffer from Dercum’s Disease, Pituitary Deficiency, Fibromyalgia and CFS. I have had Kidney Stones in the past, suffer from Cluster Headaches regularly (common in Dercum’s Disease) no-where near as painful childbirth with no anaegesia I can assure you and have had Frozen Shoulder which actually had to be operated both sides. I suffer from Recurrent Shingles – on either side of my body – like my Aunt who had it nearly every month of her life. I have Arthritis in most of my joints and at the moment also have two slipped and burst discs in my mid-back causing me excessive pain. Now, if you are wondering why I have posted all that, it is because, by far the most painful and untreatable is Dercum’s Disease. There is little hope during my lifetime of a cure and most doctors have never even heard of it, making it very difficult to be taken seriously. I have soft tissue Lipomas and Angiolipomas over nearly all of my body making it difficult to sit, stand, lie down and walk. My muscle and bone pain are off the scales. I have a treatment that carries me through each day and do not doubt that there can be much worse pain – but how come nobody has ever heard of Dercum’s Disease? Thank you for reading.

    • James August 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm · Reply

      Way to claim you have everything on the list. It really adds to your credibility. LOL. Describing cluster headaches as less painful than childbirth without “anaegesia” [sp] decreases your credibility even more, because 100% of women who have gone through both say that the cluster headaches are substantially worse. It seems like everyone who suffers from a severe pain condition wants to brag that their condition is the worst (e.g., all the Dercum’s disease people spamming this comment section). I don’t get that. You should be happy that you don’t suffer from a headache condition so severe that it drives many people to suicide (thus earning cluster headaches the brutal moniker “suicide headaches”). Literally 100% of cluster headache sufferers say that they’ve never experienced anything more painful in their life, which is a big part of the reason why medical experts consider it the most painful condition known to medical science. In contrast, Dercum’s disease is generally described as “mild to severe” pain. I’m sure it still sucks and I feel for you, but why would you even want it to be the worst thing possible? I sure don’t brag about my cluster headaches. They make me feel desperate and hopeless and I’d give anything to never experience one again.

      • john September 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm · Reply

        James, I think you got trolled. The ‘Fibromyalgia’ mention should have been a give away that this person is either a troll or an idiot.
        I’ve had episodic CH for 14 years.
        You’re right, and so is the article. There is nothing worse. The thing is that it’s impossible to describe to someone who hasn’t had a CH. Words don’t describe it. We sufferers even forget how truly awful the pain is between attacks because they’re so bad your mind can’t hold onto them. Without treatment, I don’t think I’d survive clusters. Fortunately there are medication options that usually work.
        Can I just say that I’ve also cried with joy when I found a sumavel injection when I didn’t think I had any?

        • Joann April 15, 2013 at 7:14 pm · Reply

          I just wish all these people (funny… almost always women) bellyaching about their fibromyalgia (muscularskeletal pain of unknown origin – like who doesn’t have that???) and their chronic fatigue syndrome (who isn’t tired all the time??) with their mile long lists of symptoms and allergies and medications knew that the medical field pretty much looks at them as “Professional Patients” and a nuisance. They yes them to death and call their vague and unprovable whining “syndromes” just to shut them up and get them out of their facilities so that they can treat people with real afflictions. They will even throw meds at them – in the hopes that they will just go away. I have heard many in the medical field actually become inwardly annoyed the second fibromyalgia is mentioned – it is just not a real affiction – it cannot be proving by testing and has gotten a great many able bodies people a free ticket to disability even though most of them are healthier than an ox. Of course the frothing at them mouth debates over who has the most symptoms, syndromes is a dead giveaway and a free ticket to neurotic-ville. The fact that those of us who live with aches and pains and not enough sleep go out to work everyday to support these pathetic attention seekers.

      • Candice November 17, 2012 at 3:37 am · Reply

        First off I want to say that I understand that you are in pain and you were OBVIOUSLY in pain from one of these cluster headaches when you were commenting BUT the reason that these people are saying that Dercum’s is worse is because when you are dealing with cluster headaches, there is a break between them. With Dercum’s the pain is NEVER -ENDING it eases up with pain medicine and you grow accustomed to the pain making it BEARABLE but the actual PAIN is ALWAYS there….I could care less where it ends up on a list, all I want is for more people to know about it. BUT that being said, until you actually EXPERIENCE Dercum’s disease and actually LIVE with the pain you do not have the right to comment on it. I was on the verge of committing suicide because of the pain when I was diagnosed with Dercum’s so you can’t just say that one is more painful because it leads to suicide because trust me, they both can…..

    • Tammy Wright November 9, 2012 at 2:20 am · Reply

      Feisty.. IS their anything else you have? I find it Amazing that you have EVERY symptom they have mentioned, Do you also suffer from being a Hypochondriac?

  5. Kathy April 21, 2012 at 8:47 pm · Reply

    I can’t believe they didn’t list fibromyalgia. There is no escape from the pain!!!

    • Jill July 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm · Reply

      I’ve had a burst appendix, 3 shattered bones, an ovarian cyst that burst, and cluster headaches. None of them is even close to the pain of fibromyalgia. Yes, some people with fms don’t experience that much pain, but some of us can say, it’s about a thousand times worse than childbirth. Easily a 10, alll day, everyday, for the rest of my life.

      • Tammy Wright November 9, 2012 at 2:24 am · Reply

        I couldn’t Agree with you more Jill, I have been suffering with Fibromyalgia for the last 10 yrs, Ive had 3 Children, and I have to Admit The Fibromyalgia is more painful, than any other pain I have ever encountered. Each and every day of my life, is very painful. I also Suffer from the Cluster Headaches as well.. I Pray for you Jill, No one should have to go through this Horrible Illness… God Bless… Tammy

        • Spencer November 16, 2012 at 11:29 am · Reply

          No. Maybe it isn’t my place to really say since I do not have fibromyalgia, I refuse to even vaguely consider the possibility it is more painful than a cluster headache. You may hate it more because cluster are usually episodic and you don’t have to deal with them as consistently, but if you really do get cluster headaches, and are not misdiagnosed, I know 100% you would not say anything is worse.
          Maybe you are misdiagnosed, and I understand your ignorance. Maybe the pain is so bad you block it out and forget what it was like. Maybe something else, I have no idea. What I do know is that there is nothing worse than a cluster headache.
          You know what I do when I get a cluster headache? I find the corner of a solid table and bash my head on it. I believe in what is best in “the long run” and usually endure things for later benefit, but not with cluster headaches. I accept the later consequences to deal with them. I bash my head until I bleed. Then I bash it some more. You know why? Because for that billisecond that my brain is forced to acknowledge that pain, I can enjoy an amazing billisecond of sweet relief.
          I do stupid things and injure myself all of the time, I broke my spine in five different places sledding, and walked home. I busted my nuts and was forced into a catheter, but it didn’t bother me much. I have severe Crohnes disease. But if I did any of this during a cluster headache, or had an episode from crohnes, I would not even notice there was any pain anywhere but my head because it would be to insignificant for my brain to process.
          So call me stubborn, but no nothing hurts more than a cluster headache, not a serious one anyways. (also a possibility, I got three today, one no worse than a sinus headache, one as bad as busting my nuts, and one with incomparable, unfathomable pain.)

  6. Kelly April 21, 2012 at 9:06 pm · Reply

    I can’t believe Rheumatoid Arthritis isn’t listed. It is excruciatingly painful. It’s not just arthritis, it’s an autoimmune disease that attacks organs as well as tissue, synovial fluid in the joints, etc. Too bad this article didn’t recognize it.

  7. Sylvia April 22, 2012 at 2:08 am · Reply

    I have had Dercum’s Disease for 45 years and I am 66 year old. It is a gradual progressing disease. I can not walk anymore so I use a scooter and wheelchair. I use every physical therapy technique that I have been trained to do. I use ice, heat, massage, topicals, wraps and water. I also take pain control drugs but nothing strong or addicting….I don’t want to sleep through my life. The pain is awful and unremitting. You need to do a lot of mental work to accept this disease. Support groups help..I monitor one on MD Junction. Anyone needing support is welcome to our site. We are working to educate the medical community. A brochure will be ready soon through Fat Disorders Research Society. I have seen an increase in the number of medical professionals who are aware of DD..in the last ten years. I hope a cure and effective treatment is found soon. Until then we can share what reduces our symptoms.

  8. Janet April 22, 2012 at 5:15 pm · Reply

    To Monica – My husband has been to see Dr. Herbst and I agree that she is the premier authority on this rare condition, but barring relocation to San Diego, she cannot be the treating or referring physician. We present her diagnostic documents and reasearch as well as a packet of other documents to every doctor we see. I provide both print copies for doctors’s files as well as USB drives with all content in searchable .pdf format for those of a more technical bent. At this time, I have a collection of about 40 written pieces, from professional journal articles with complete references and footnotes, to newpaper articles about individuals suffering with the condition, and web articles/blogs such as this one. My original comment was simply to inquire of the author whether this is a subjective or objective listing.

    With the exception of our wonderful internist (who is at her wit’s end trying to help), we have had little to no interest from any other doctor – certainly no one that would like to read the information or educate their staff. We are still seeking a doctor from any specialty whose interest will be piqued by the documentation. My husband has not been denied treatment, but we have met many doctors that simply shrug their shoulders and state that they cannot help as they have not heard of the condition.

  9. Skeptical Ed May 1, 2012 at 1:48 am · Reply

    is this an official list, or did you compile this yourself? I didn’t see a mention or link to any sources.

  10. Trama May 9, 2012 at 11:56 pm · Reply

    I too have Dercum’s Disease! I was diagnosed by the angel we all see ” Dr. Karen Herbst”. This painful and debilitating disease has hit me hard and with a vengeance! I get so sick of people saying “WHAT?” , Never heard of it”, and actually had a practitioner tell me it had to be made up….I was fortunate… My pain Doctor actually listened to me and listened to what I was saying about the pain, the lumps, the infections, the other symptoms that go along with this disease. Such a sad day when a medical Professional ( I use that term professional loosely) can not listen or even spend time learning something new. Money , money, money is the get all… No time to learn, I have money to make! ( Like a cattle of sheep being herded) I hear you Janet, frustrating isn’t it?
    I would also like to know if there are sources and who compiled the information. Good news that it’s actually listed the bad part is no one will take it seriously if it’s not sourced….

  11. Mark Michigan June 4, 2012 at 3:21 am · Reply

    I have suffered from chronic cluster headaches. I am currently in remission. My cluster in cycle hit 4-6 times a day lasting from 45 minutes to 1 and 1/2 hrs at a time.
    How I survived I still do not know.

    The only real help I received was from Dr David Gordon and Dr. Joel Saper of Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute of Ann Arbor Michigan.

    If it were not for them I would be dead. I am sure of it.
    If you need any information or want some help … email me and I will see what I can do.
    God bless and good luck

    • Alchemist September 16, 2012 at 10:06 pm · Reply

      CH as well Mark…plus Bipolar and BPD…it’s fun isn’t it. I always said that if mine went chronic I’d take the easy way out, thankfully they’ve not.

    • John Ridge November 26, 2012 at 7:18 pm · Reply

      my friend suffers from cluster headaches in the fall every year. what was your experience at MHPNI? Thank you. John

  12. Sarah Woodron September 4, 2012 at 3:38 pm · Reply

    I am an ex-sufferer from chronic cluster headaches. My only options left were suicide or treatments and medications that would have killed me. Gladly, I found Clusterbusters and with their advice and natural treatments instead of prescriptives I survived. I own my life for these people. Pain free for 2 years now. Cluster headaches can be forced into remission. Just google “break cluster cycle”. Doctors do not know about all the options, that is why patients has to treat themselves.

  13. Linda Sommer September 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm · Reply

    I have both Cluster Headaches and Kidney Stones. I would like to ask any of the top 10 suffers if they have contemplated suicide? I have. Let me say that the pain of a cluster headache is so great that some of us sufferers would rather be dead. There are also many reports of Cluster Headache sufferer’s commiting suicide….hence the nickname, “Suicide Headaches” I have had multiple kidney stone attacks and three children. I’ve even had kidney stone attaches while in labor. Let me say that kidney stones and child birth doesn’t even come close to the pain of a Cluster Headache.

    My heart goes out to all the people out there who suffer so terribly. My daughter also suffers from Achalasia, number 7 on the top ten list.

    One last thing…..I too, would like to know how this list was compiled.

  14. Kevin September 8, 2012 at 5:39 am · Reply

    I am certain that the writers attempted to compile an accurate list, and accuracy is subjective. I will mention two conditions that I have had that may not have been considered:

    1.) Testicular Torsion. In men whose testes have not naturally anchored to the scrotum, it is possible for the testicle to twist, thereby cutting off the blood supply. My urologist described it as the worst pain a man can feel If the twist is not removed – either through manual manipulation or surgical intervention – within four to six hours, the testicle will die, turn black, and have to be removed. For fear of having my scrotum cut open, I manually repaired or “untwisted” things myself for about ten years after diagnosis. Several times the pain was so excruciating that I simply fainted.

    2.) The CSF Headache. A cerebral spinal fluid leak causes an imbalance in the pressure in the subdural space that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Mine was a complication of a lumbar discectomy procedure where the sharp edge of the laminectomy punctured the dura. Cerebral Spinal Fluid was trickling out of my closed surgical incision line. This loss of fluid and sudden change in pressure causes a massive headache. It’s scale is such that it feels as if your head is going to explode. It is a blinding pain. You see white light. You hear a high pitched deafening squeal. The crazy thing is that if you lay down the headache all but disappears within seconds. Simply Nasty.

    That’s my two that I feel belong on the list.

  15. Mark Hershey September 11, 2012 at 9:34 pm · Reply

    I suffer from cluster headaches and although I have not yet considered suicide, if my doctor had not found some meds which reduced the level of pain, I am sure I would have. I also have suffered from kidney stones for 20 years and my urologists claims I am his most “prolific kidneys stone producer”. I also take meds for Achalasia and just found out from an MRI of my neck this week that I have severe arthritis in my neck which not only causes neck pain but wraps around the nerve bundle that leads to my clutter headaches. Surgery of my neck is a certainty. You are right about cluster head ache pain. I told my urologist a kidney stone can bring me to my knees and pass out with pain but the difference with the cluster head aches is that the pain is worse but for some reason, as much as you wish, it won, knock you out. The worst news is pain relief awaits at the hospital for the stones but I have been kicked out of ERs with a vomit bag, without pain relief, while vommitting and covered in my blood and vommit. That experience is what will lead a person to consider suicide. They can see the stone and be certain of what they are treating but if you have a cluster headache, you might just be after drugs so they give you a little pain treatment and then send you on your way –I was still screaming in pain and had to pace the parking lot because I could not stand the pain to sit down in the car. My wife could not believe what was happening. What do you do then? Fortunately I have found a doctor who knows about this condition, but many do not. I could tell you more stories and provide you with additional warnings about this horrible condition. It is bad enough that you must suffer from the condition but you must also prepare yourself for those who just think you are exaggerating a headache like everyone gets! Good luck! Best Wishes with your future health!
    Mark

  16. alzano September 12, 2012 at 6:25 pm · Reply

    I only have a few words cluster headache most horrible pain had sleepless nights cried through the night

  17. k low September 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm · Reply

    my dad has been curing headaches for awhile now. cluster headaches, migraines, chronic headaches. anyone interested let me know.

    • Tiffany Lape October 15, 2012 at 10:09 am · Reply

      God please..YES! I would love to know.I have never, not one second, been a daddy without a headache for over ten years. Yes I have had 7MRI, 3MRA, AND O THINK 4 CT. I contemplated suicide on the beginning as nothing helped, not migraine meds, Demerol and various narcotics i’m an RN and have lost several jobs due to them.had Children’s protective services called from my sons Catholic pre school a few months ago cuz I looked intoxicated, uh that’s how o look idiots when i’m suffering.they are not migraines, cluster, cervicogenic. O go to a pain clini3AADc here on nKY. Treatments aren’t helping and an now unemployed, yet again.please help me! I have a bet active 5 year old, single mother. Any help pot info would be more than grateful.thank you for blogging that.God bless u!!

  18. Bert September 13, 2012 at 7:06 pm · Reply

    Hi guys, I suffer from C.H and one of the things that makes it so difficult to live with (apart from the pain) is that you can go from being completely normal to being completely screwed up for 6 months at a time (or more) and trying to explain this to an employer or benefits person is impossible! There are also no visible attributes to the condition so most people don’t believe there is anything wrong with you…until they see an attack, which usually shocks and disturbs most people. Without the mighty Sumatriptan I would of ended it all a long time ago but even so my life is far from normal. As far as the pain goes, I have never experienced anything as painful as a C.H attack, it can literally turn you into a raging maniac and the thought of running out of meds is my GREATEST fear. BUT I also don’t suffer from the other 9 conditions described here so its impossible to compare, everyone who suffers from the conditions on this list deserve some T.L.C and a wider understanding and lets not forget all of the conditions NOT described here. Big hugs to everyone who posted and especially my Cluster brethren.

    If you have C.H check out OUCH and Cluster busters.

    • jim November 19, 2012 at 7:49 am · Reply

      Magic mushrooms are the cure period please help me get this info out, don’t believe me? When you have your next cycle just try one or two, they are harmless unless misidentified .

  19. amy elizabeth September 13, 2012 at 10:20 pm · Reply

    I have passed two kidney stones and have had arthritis since my late teens. Both are terrible, but I am really surprised that gall stones did not make the list. I suffered through thirteen months of pain due to those beasts. I would rank passing a gallstone as equal to if not slightly more painful than kidney stones.

  20. Beth F September 14, 2012 at 10:39 pm · Reply

    I get CH as well as migraine and ice pick headaches…I also have a couple of the other disorders mentioned and I have to say that nothing is comparable to the painof a CH attack. There truly are not words to describe it, not even a ruptured appendix works :-/ God forbid if you are in a cycle too -shu dder- It took doctors years of frustration and a long time of waiting for new med to come along before I got any relief and I still get breakthroughs. If people don’t experience CH though they will never know just how excruciating it is and can only believe that their illness/ disorder is the worst. The topic is subjective at best.

  21. G September 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm · Reply

    Look up Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome. It is much more painful than kidney stones, kidney failure, shingles/herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia, migranes, completely natural childbirth, and non-Hodgkins Lymphoma…..ALL OF WHICH I’VE HAD. The doctors who created the McGill pain scale have proven it to be the most painful chronic disease known to man. That scale was created by McGill University doctors, which is rated in the top 20 universities in the world. Please I know the other diseases are very painful that are mentioned above and I’m not trying to downplay that, but you need to do more research….because this rare disease called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/ Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is proven to be one of the worst, by both doctors and patients. Also this disease usually starts in one limb but over the years it can spread to your whole body. Imagine your whole body on fire all the time. The doctors prescribe you all the narcotics in the heaviest doses possible and still it doesn’t even touch your pain. I am on dialysis, have a tube in my kidney for kidney stones, and hopefully will get a kidney transplant one day but that doesn’t compare to my RSD pain. I have a Spinal Cord stimulator implant, Fusion of the L1,L2, L3 and C1 though C6, and an intrathecal pain pump inside my body for my pain all because of RSD and the hip replacement bc of its decay at age 19. The Nurses give me morphine, dilaudid, Methadone, and Ketamine through my IV multiple times a day. I have had more surgeries than I can remember for the RSD…..even more than I’ve had for my kidneys. I am not trying to downplay other peoples pain, but my disease is extremely painful and it should be on this list, especially bc I have suffered from some of the disorders listed above and I know they personally cannot compare to my RSD pain. I am sorry this post is so rude I just needed to vent because my voiceprogram lets me talk and it types for me and I felt like ranting. I haven’t walked in years and I miss being able to write and move my right arm and left wrist, I am thankful for the good care I have received and that there are programs like Dragon that enable me to get my thoughts out without asking someone else to type it out. Sorry if I offended anyone, I feel a little guilty about how mean this all must sound to others, I just wish the website had done more research before posting this article

    • Centurian January 6, 2013 at 7:53 pm · Reply

      RSD is vaguely represented with honesty- Most “RSD” sufferers really battle with Hypersensitivity to sensation to any pain, most can not tolerate any pain at all. It may be social environmental? – OR maybe related to ” ‘neuromatrix’ centered on the portions of the cerebral cortex related to the sense of touch. However, a new idea suggests that specific pain centres exist, which have evolved from a primitive system of the brain that controls the health of the body, or body physiology. The overlap between these areas and emotion-processing regions of the brain could explain the peculiarly human subjective qualities of pain.” and why these RSD sufferers complain of everything and most spontaneously heal. I suggest a neuron-acupuncturist or a shrink? best of luck

      • Richard February 14, 2013 at 4:15 am · Reply

        If you’ve ever had a family member or friend or even an acquaintance suffering from RSD, you would not be so careless to make such an insensitive comment, especially to someone suffering from the condition, which by the way has had such limited research done by the scientific community that it is often neglected as it is in this article and dismissed by naive people (i.e. you). There is NO cure for RSD and “most” don’t “spontaneously heal” as you ignorantly claim. Acupuncturist or shrink? How about I set your leg on fire, then stick a pacifier in your mouth for crying? RSD patients have gone through all sorts of therapies and medications you’ve no idea about, even the two you’ve had the audacity to suggest so offhandedly as cures. They go through constant unimaginable pain with no breaks and would do anything and everything to stop the hurting, some even death. Next time, don’t make such careless comments based on your skimming of a journal or a few minutes of research you’ve done online. Proving your prowess in “Internet” science could be at the expense of someone you had no intention of hurting. What you’ve done here is the equivalent of a biology student optimistically telling a patient in the final stage of bone cancer to drink a lot of milk.

  22. Phil October 3, 2012 at 1:17 am · Reply

    I like how the comments here are nothing more than, “My pain is greater than your pain.” Grow up and shut up. Just because your disease didn’t make the list doesn’t mean everybody’s going to immediately discredit your pain. I’m sorry you hurt, but reading your inane comments is nearly as painful as some of the stuff listed on this page.

    • Leah November 19, 2012 at 10:19 am · Reply

      Whoa Phil! That’s a little rough! When you have been living with constant pain & your life comes to a grinding halt because of the pain & it’s side effects, it leaves you a little bitter. Then finding an article that claims to list the top ten most painful medical conditions supposedly to educate the public & you happen to KNOW that your diagnosis trumps all these & many more…it’s very frustrating! No one has even heard of mine & it would have been validating to actually see my disease here. Maybe the attention would generate some research or lead to a foundation that could help sufferers like me. God Bless.

  23. Derek October 14, 2012 at 8:13 am · Reply

    Is there any truth to the idea that psilocybin, one of the psychoactive ingredients in ‘magic mushrooms,’ can be an effective treatment for the pain of cluster headaches?

    • jim November 19, 2012 at 7:42 am · Reply

      Yes it is fact, get the word out to these poor people please ..

      • Dawn May 27, 2013 at 10:32 pm · Reply

        I literally LOL here. Blew a snot bubble and everything. Thanks, Jim!

  24. elle October 23, 2012 at 12:49 am · Reply

    I have had arthritis since I was 17 and RSD since I was 22 – I am now thirty. I had cluster headaches in my late teens and now I them as a symptom of either the RSD or medication to treat RSD (chicken or egg anyone?) They are both horrible-

    You mentioned cluster headaches are nicknamed “suicide headaches” –RSD holds a similar nickname of the “suicide disease.

    I don’t think anyone is on this list (for once..as it is in most comment section and blogs) trying to say “mine is worse, etc. When it gets to the to how and how close, or shall I say how painful the are ranked really can’t be subjective, as it depends on the individual, pain control, medical care – willingness and financial ability to pay for that medical care etc. I think myself and it seems the few others who know the pain and devastation that is RSD where shocked and rightfully frustrated that once again this disease was left out.

    I could go on and on with statics about this disease and compare it with the others- but I will get off my soap box and leave you with this- whatever disease or illness you are dealing with, I wish you the best.
    It is not an easy thing to live with, pain. Real pain- the kind that is near impossible to describe to make the people in your life understand. The kind of pain the wraps around you, betraying your body while it tries to steal the very soul that is trying its best to just hang on. But please keep hanging on, there are others out there, people just like me and you – people who really do understand. So smile, don’t give up and have a better day!

  25. kane avila October 25, 2012 at 9:49 am · Reply

    i’ve sat here for hours reading every post…my heart goes out to everyone here…i see a couple of obvious hypochondriacts….which doesn’t suprise me… doctors don’t know what’s wrong with me…they say i could possibly have a mutated form of acute dystonia…every other month or so i have dystonic episodes ( so they say) and i….i just can’t put into words…every single muscle in my body cramps and rips…every single one of them…for days at a time…i remember the first attack i had at age 14…they as i lay in the emergency room being pumped full of, and get this, for i shit you not….a liquid form of over the counter anti-swelling medicene… i laid there for hours before one the nurses suggested a mild dose of valiume….which did nothing. they thought i was faking it because even the leading doctor in the U.S for dystonia (which usually nly affects one muscle of the body sometimes multiple) said he’d never seen anything like it…the rips and tears are so severe that even weeks after the attack i cannot move because of the pure agony i still face even though ive been out o the hospital for weeks…during the attack even my throat closes up. i am now given 8mg of dilaudid through IV and orally take 12 mgs of dilaudid every 4 hours. the doctors said i could very well have a disease that hasn’t been given a name yet…i have also had cluster headaches (thankfully never at the same time as an attack. that would definatly drive me to suicide) i would have probably killed myself after the second attack because only after the second one did they perscribe me any kind of pain medication. there’s not one person in history i could possibly imagine would deserve this…but life goes on. and i try to stay positive….because positivity is all i have left in life.

  26. Molly November 5, 2012 at 8:06 am · Reply

    I haven’t had any of these except for shingles. I had it when I was sixteen, and it was on my hand, along my arm, my back, my chest, and my neck (all along nerve). It was very painful, yes, and there wasn’t really any treatment that could ease the pain, but still I’m surprised it’s on here. I’ve also had just general migraines and I think those were more painful than shingles, personally, and I know those don’t compare to a lot of these diseases. However, maybe I didn’t suffer as badly because I was so young, and regardless I probably don’t represent the population of shingles sufferers perfectly anyway.

  27. Dr. Know November 7, 2012 at 11:25 am · Reply

    Sickle Cell Anemia is THE MOST PAINFUL DISEASE! This is a genetic mutation of the hemoglobin causing red blood cells to be sickle shaped. Vasoocculsive crisis, bone pain from sickled cells damaging surrounding tissues and bone marrow therefore becoming neucrotic. These patients can actually urinate pure blood (hematuria) and blood clots out of their uretha- a far more painful experience than kidney stones.
    Remember sufferers of Sickle Cell have a chronic life-threatening condition that affects everything in their bodies- everywhere blood can travel, risks the possibility of logding a potentially deadly blood clot into arteries and vital organs. Yes, even painful erections for men.

  28. james mechen November 14, 2012 at 12:58 am · Reply

    april 8 2012 person with constnt vomiting &nausia sometimes lasting 10 day’s& nights,im the same CHECK OUT THE “cyclical vomiting syndrome society u.k.,hang on in there brother,your not alone,it’s a recognised and diagnosable ilness,of course you carnt hold down a job ,your stomach controles your life,you carnt plan aney appointment cause it all depends on your stomach on the day,and its a horrible smelly dirty illness,i know,n if your not vomiting your recovering,Please check out the above society.

  29. Leah November 19, 2012 at 10:08 am · Reply

    I was absolutely shocked that Adhesive Arachnoiditis was not on this list!! The very 1st thing you will read when you “Google” is the the description of the pain associated with this incurable spinal disease, “The pain described by patients & their caregivers is ‘the most severe, excrutiating cancer pain without the benefit of death’ or “similar to being stabbed repeatedly while being burned alive from the inside out.” It is by far the most horrendous pain I’ve ever encountered, making natural childbirth look like mild discomfort. Most people max out on pain medications long before they near the end stages, making daily life a virtual endless nightmare. Many plan in advance, finding out in which states end of life options are legal. Because of the high levels of severe pain, such a heightened state of constant inflammation then begins to create even more medical issues (see Dr. Forrest Tennant’s IP Studies & Survival Guide) bombarding your body & weakening the immune system. Not to mention the side effects & social ridicule needing such high levels of prescription pain pills. Oxycontin & Addict are synonymous thanks to the misinformed media hype.

    What about Sclermaderma? The title needs to be changed to: “Some of the most painful conditions” & please check & post your resources.

  30. Stephen November 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm · Reply

    Gout. It’s gotta be between #7-4.

    The top 3 are for sure correct.

  31. Norman November 25, 2012 at 6:43 am · Reply

    23yrs old I ended up in the casualty dept at 2am with a headache that no human was meant to endure. It took a year for them to diagnose CH. Having a name gave me some mental relief. The banging of my head against the wall seemed like a natural way to try and dull the pain of CH. My cycle occurred every 3 years and lasted 2 weeks approx. During this period I would get between 12-15 attacks per day. The shortest would last around 15mins and the longest lasted approx 40mins….I would never try to belittle anyone’s opinion of “my pain is worse than CH”….I was cycle free for the past 7 or 8 years. Two days ago CH came back with a vengeance. Now aged 54yrs old, I think I am a calmer person, but trust me the walls once again bears imprints of my head. My only hope is that I still have the same 2 week cycle of pain, any longer than that would kill me. Lets not argue about what should be on the list of the top 10 instead we should acknowledge that at times the human body endures pain beyond belief…any tips for relief would be appreciated

  32. steve December 2, 2012 at 10:42 pm · Reply

    although not a disease but a condition the most painful thing a person can suffer from is post thoracotomy pain syndrome..look it up..it listed has the most painful thing you can experience and i can personally vouch for it.It is debilitating beyond imagination to the point of making you consider suicide .anyone suffering with this and having trouble with their doctors geting adequate pain relief you must persist until you get something strong enough to give you your life back..in my case heavy doses of morphine but i could not care less about addiction…the relief is everything and ha been a life saver to me.

  33. Teresa December 3, 2012 at 9:28 am · Reply

    My mother in law is suffering an headache she said it same like she got an electric shock on her head and causing her a painful headache I’m so sorry to see her in pain it’s pain me more seeing her on this situation..can you help me what can help her to get out from this pain,we been to the doctor and they just told her to takes medicine like ibuprofen but it’s not helping her..she feel the pain every 4 to 8 second and every time it shock her it make her scream..please any one can help me

    • Okie Girl May 15, 2013 at 3:13 pm · Reply

      Teresa, you have really only mentioned a single symptom, but the phrase “electric shock” is reminiscent of trigeminal neuralgia. I certainly am not qualified to diagnose anyone, but if your MIL isn’t seeing a neuroligist, then she needs to. Best of luck in finding a diagnosis and some relief!

  34. moy December 9, 2012 at 7:56 pm · Reply

    Thank you for recognizing hidradinenitis. I have had this disease for over 20 years (I’m 37). Its a disease that is always misdiagnosed….I was just accurately diagnosed 2 years ago. The daily pain that comes along with these lesions is terrible. I have had several surgeries that have helped tremendously, but with HS you are always getting more lesions, despite having them removed. Once you get one removed, 2 more will pop up in its place. Its an ongoing battle that will last my entire life. There is no cure, only treatment of symptoms. The daily struggle with pain is the most difficult, because, unlike a lot of recognized diseases, a lot of doctors expect you to take some advil and push through your day. This is about as realistic as being stabbed in the armpit and being told to put a bandaid on it. I hope one day there will be some good treatments for pain and symptoms. For now, most HS sufferers deal with multiple surgeries, wound drainage, scarring and dealing with debilitating everyday pain.

  35. Michelle December 18, 2012 at 4:44 pm · Reply

    One of these, as painful as it is at the time, does not belong on this list. That’s Shingles.. ya it’s not fun, I’ve had it, but it passes, anything that goes away to never return should not be on this list. Cuz the pain is added to by the words “incurable’ and “chronic”.

    Sickle Cell Anemia is for life, so I agree it should be on this list,

    So I’m sorry, but for me Shingles doesn’t count. It’s also not as painful as frozen shoulder, which I’m living with for the second time due to Crohn’s — one of the many side conditions we get with IBD.

    Speaking of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, why the hell isn’t it on this list? Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis come with such a variety of pain, that it pretty much includes most of the above conditions. I got Shingles at 32 because of Crohn’s.

    For the first 15 years I lived with unremitting pain, fatigue so severe it came with it’s own pain levels. Weakness from pain and malnutrition, that made it impossibly for me to do anything more than move from my bed to my couch. But most of all for that time period, when not one medication worked, there was not a singe day I ate without pain, assuming I could get past the pain and try to eat anyway.

    It becomes particularly nasty when it takes the form of fistulzing Crohn’s, and feces and puss seep through holes that go from our bowels to our skin (or other organs). The cramp attacks are right up there with labour pains, sans the cervix dilation, take days to recover from, so imagine that cycle when we cramp every few days.

    I’ve had joint pain, cus it comes with Crohn’s — or the medications used to treat IBD, ya, if joint pain is the only pain you’ve known, it’s bad.. but since I’ve known worse, it’s livable. Frozen shoulder hurts worst than arthritic pain, and neither of these effect our body’s need for nutrition they way CD does.

    Despite rates of IBD being as high as Type 1 Diabetes in Canada, and on the rise,even the basic facts are publicly remain unknown, unlike cluster headaches and shingles, but I assure you, IBD’s belong on this list, for more reasons than I can list.

  36. Not Just Period Pain December 22, 2012 at 12:33 am · Reply

    Where is endometriosis? I have Hidradenitis Suppurativa, and as painful as that is, I can work through all but the worst flares… But endometriosis is like having a burst appendix every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and keeps me bedbound despite huge doses of morphine, anticonvulsants, etc. I feel for the CH sufferers, I really do, but this forgets a whole bunch of really painful things, including IBD as well as endo.

  37. Adam January 3, 2013 at 8:53 am · Reply

    I have cluster headaches and trigeminal neuralgia and I have thought of suicide many times as the pain is raging through my head and face.I have no choice but to agree with this list and I take no pride in having the top two.I have yet to find anything that works for either of the two but the clusters are the worst thing you could imagine.It seems like every day brings a fresh day of hell and the devil is dancing on my brain.If anybody has anything worse the god have mercy on them.

  38. Arcticman January 13, 2013 at 4:20 am · Reply

    My pain gets so bad I put two 100 mcg.patches”fentenyl” in my gumline after i pass out my wife takes them out so i dont die of respritory failure…Yeah I hurt…

  39. Chris January 18, 2013 at 7:12 pm · Reply

    I suffer from Cluster Headaches which has been diagnosed as episodic and the only way I can describe the pain is that it feels like something or somebody is inside of my head, behind my right eye, pulling on the nerve, trying to get it to snap off. The pressure and pain that I feel is unbearable. The pain always starts in the eye and radiates to the side of my head near the temple and back of my head near the neck. At its peak, it radiates down the jaw line to the side of my neck and my eye closes up as tears leak from it. Its not a throbbing pain but more of a consistent pain that just wont go away. I pace, lay down, put pillows over my head, try and sleep but nothing works. I try and remind myself that its temporary and will subside in about an hour but that doesn’t work. The greatest feeling in the world is when I can finally feel it start to lose its intensity and although some pain may last for a few hours, its far better than then pain when its at its worse. I’ve had Kidney Stones and would take that pain 10 fold over a CH.

  40. Laura January 18, 2013 at 11:01 pm · Reply

    I am getting the first symptoms of Shingles. I dont know if I am getting or not, i’m a little confuse with the way my symptoms are developing. I started with upper left back discomfort. It was an itchy disconfort, then it turned to a sharp shooting pain. Now the pain radiates to my chest. The shooting pain comes and goes but it is very painful. Now I have a tingling sensation that moves down to my lower back, left arm and leg. I dont have any blisters, but everyone says they dont appear right away for some people. Can someone please help me out with these symptoms?

  41. Laura January 23, 2013 at 6:58 pm · Reply

    Where is rheumatoid arthritis? Arthritis cannot be lumped into one category! I have RA, fibromyalgia, and have had 3 children. RA is the worst of those 3 pains. It is constant, finally more controlled with medication, as is the fibro. I would like to know where the information for this list comes from. That would be interesting.

  42. kdm6791 January 30, 2013 at 12:10 am · Reply

    Thought kidney stones might be tops and heard it described as the worst pain the human body can take and live.

    It’s an absolutely miserable experience wouldnt wish on worst enemy. Have had several bouts of

    them can’t imagine anything worse, they say people forget pain but I can remember it perfectly!

    Being dehydrated makes it worse because the pain is so bad its hard to concentrate to drink plus the

    nausea gets so bad it usually drives the person to seek medical attention.

    Childbirth isnt considered because it’s not a medical condition.

    Wife has had all the above and diabetic neuropathy is bad too.

  43. Alice February 1, 2013 at 2:48 am · Reply

    I feel for you all, I really do. It makes me feel so lucky, and really puts things in perspective. I can only hope, after reading all of your own accounts, that neuro-science research will evolve and there will be some respite for you. I was considering doing a sky-dive, or something, for a charity next year. Maybe I’ll look up a charity that helps CH sufferers if there is one?
    A xx
    P.S, My most painful condition was gall-stones! Agonizing, but after reading this, nothing compared to what some people are forced to endure. God bless xx

  44. Kel February 2, 2013 at 3:30 am · Reply

    First I want to say how incredibly cruel and ignorant some of you really are. To those with RSD/CRPS I cant tell you how sorry I am that you or one of your loved ones has to live with this. My husband has RSD diagnosed a few weeks after a torn ligament. One ignorant person, Centurian, said that RSD patients “miraculously heal” OH MY GOD pull your head out of your ass will you? My husband is in excruciating pain 24 hours a day. He NEVER gets a break from it. He was healthy, active, social, outgoing, and happy before his injury. Now his life consists of pain so bad he cries, he is rarely able to go to any family function. In fact he rarely is out of bed. No one, not even he can touch the area of pain. He has lost 9 cm of muscle mass in his calf. The skin is purple and blue. The tempature of his foot is 30 degress colder than his other foot. Yes, I said 30 degrees and that is documented by more than one doctor. He is on a dozen medications which nearly all of them have side affects. He cant sleep more than a few minutes at a time. his toes are starting to curl under from not being able to move them because its too painful. He wants to take a knife and cut his own foot off because he thinks it will go away if he does. He prays to God for death to come because his life has gone from being normal to not having any life. HOW DARE YOU make RSD/CRPS out to be nothing! This disease IS listed as the most painful disease on the mcgill pain scale because it is not imaginary pain. There is no break from his pain, its continuous, intense pain and burning. He hasnt been able to walk in almost 6 years. My husbands lowest pain level is an 8 out of 10. His worse is way over 10. This disease has completely ruined his life. And dont tell me I have no right to complain about you because Im not the one in pain. I watch him die a little bit each and every day. There is no cure for this. At least shingles, kidney stones, and some of the other conditions mentioned here go away, go into remission, dont affect you every moment of your life. Try pouring gasoline over your leg and lighting it on fire and dont let it ever go out, then you can say yours is worse.

    • Richard February 14, 2013 at 4:31 am · Reply

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one infuriated with Centurian’s comment. I’m not here to complain that one disease is more painful than the other but I definitely want to point out that RSD is a terrible condition and some people should show respect.

      Wish you and everyone who is or has a loved one suffering from RSD all the best.

  45. Wally February 3, 2013 at 2:24 pm · Reply

    Chris- I have been an episodic CH sufferer for 6 years now. My 3rd cycle just began 2 weeks ago. The beast is back and I am in hell again. I wish they wouldn’t call Cluster headaches “headaches”. People immediately try to compare them to migraines, which they are NOT. Not discounting the pain caused by a migraine, but take that pain & multiply it by 100- easily. Imagine pain that starts in your neck, crawls up the back of your skull, & suddenly- BAM! Someone has a hot poker in the back of your eyeball trying to push it out of your skull. All this while someone is trying to squeeze your temple in a vice tighter & tighter. This is anywhere from 1- 6 times a day, the pain always taking the same path, the same side, same eye. While in the midst of CHs I have banged my head, cried like a baby, begged God for mercy, & even thought crazy thoughts. I don’t think I’d ever go the latter route, but I tell my wife to pay attention to me when I’m suffering one anyway. If I turned chronic….no guarantees.) I am exhausted, scared to go to sleep, irritable (from lack of sleep), hating that my kids have to see their dad go through this. (If you’ve never seen someone suffering a CH, it can be quite scary). And the feeling of hopelessness. That’s the worst. My silver lining is that my cycle will eventually run itself out and I’ll get a break. For chronic CH sufferers however, there is no break. They must deal with this all the time. I don’t know if I could do it.

    And for people who suffer from any other condition, please understand that I am in no way discounting your pain. I am only trying to inform people (if even a little bit) about what I know from my experience with CH. Here’s to pain free days for everyone here!

    And to Chris- don’t know if you were just recently diagnosed or not, but I can tell you a couple things that may be useful to you. Make sure you have a doctor who knows what CH are and how to try & treat them. It is of utmost importance that you begin taking a preventative med such as Verapamil right away. Also, I have found that lying down during a CH can make it far worse. I actually can’t sit still. I rock back & forth, pace around, anything to try & take my mind off of it. (It doesn’t work but I do it anyway). Also- don’t know if you’ve tried Imitrex (or a generic sumatriptan), but it is a godsend when a CH comes to visit. You can usually abort it within 15 minutes. I am never without it. And many sufferers swear by inhaling pure oxygen to abort or shorten attacks. For me, I used it my last cycle. I was able to abort an attack only to have it come back with a vengeance later on. Kind of postponing the inevitable. But like I said, it seems to work well for the majority of sufferers. I hope any or all of this info helps. Good luck!

  46. Angel February 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm · Reply

    I feel your pain I have had CH my entire life… I have tried every medication out there and noting helps… They put me on Imitrex and OMG it just mad things worse… It made my stomach hurt I was nauseous, as if it wasn’t already bad enough, and my body seriously felt like I had been hit by a Mac truck!… It was awful! My doctor told me to try Botox, No it’s not just for beauty anymore. They have several studies on it proving it works! <= here is a link to some of the research… I also have stomach ulcers, Wolff-Parkinson's White, Vesicoureteral reflux, and I also have rheumatoid arthritis… I may not look like I am falling apart but I sure as heck feel like it… I am only 24 and to feel like I am in my 40's is not a good feeling… But I try to better myself by keeping fit… Some of my doctors don't like me working out but I feel it is the best thing for me!!! I hope everyone on here can get a chance to read my post and know that just because you're hurt or ill doesn't mean you have to act like it! Keep your head up and walk tall! Good luck!

  47. Caroline February 21, 2013 at 7:54 pm · Reply

    I think everyone on here needs to accept there a a number of very unpleasant painful conditions a body can suffer. How severe they are to you will depend on a number of factors- your personal previous pain experiences and tolerance levels, if you have any other painful conditions at the same time, mental state and even hormonal factors- my pain threshold is a lot lower just before my period. I was born with a chronic rare health problem, and find it really screws up my ability to judge what pain level is ‘normal’- I have just slipped a disc in my back without seeking medical help because I thought I was just making a fuss.

    There is no good way to do direct comparisons of all of these, Even if one person had all of these, or the 20 listed on the NHS website, the simple fact of having several painful things at once alters the pain experience. Equally pain scales need taking with a pinch of salt- pain is an entirely subjective experience, you are in it alone without anyone else who can rate it objectively and compare it to other diseases. Some pain may be worse than others, but be brief, like kidney stones, or time limited like surgical or fracture pain, but a long term painful condition may not hit the peak pain levels of brief painful conditions but are doubtless worse overall as there is no end to them.

  48. Jeremiah March 6, 2013 at 6:27 pm · Reply

    I’ve the disease that I have mentioned once and that is what Dr.know said.Sickle Cell Anemia! I’ve had this thing since birth and it hurts sometimes it feels like someone threw u out a 10 story window over and over again. That’s what I feel like for days or weeks and sometimes months @ a time.but pain is pain and everyone is gonna have pain that’s life.Any DISEASE is bad rather it be what some of the diseases y’all have it hurts and know one can ever say your not hurting,because they aren’t you.One of my childhood doctors told me when you hurt you hurt.I’ve had people tell me that I’m not hurting because its not that painful whatever.I’ve had pharmacist look at me and called my doctor to see if he had written me a prescription for my pain medicine. That’s what I’ve been threw you just cannot look at a person and say that their not in any pain.Rest in peace Kacey L.Wheeler Dubose.he was only five years old when this disease took him.2005-2010.Remember pain is apart of your nature just hang on for the ride.I’ve been doing it for 34 years and god have me hear for a reason. Just remember don’t let anyone tell you that you are not hurting just tell them if I’m not hurting let me throw you out of a 10 story window and let’s see how good you feel.

  49. Cheryl March 16, 2013 at 7:43 am · Reply

    I have a hard time believing Lupus wasn’t mentioned anywhere.
    Between Lupus, Fibromyalgia, migraines, rum. arthritis, connective tissue disease and syatica pain. As a young woman endometriosis was painful 24/7 since it attached itself from my ovary to my spastic colon! My Dr. thought I wanted pain pills until after surgery and apologized after what he found!! Id have another baby before passing a kidney stone at 16 and no one took me to the Dr. until I went all night in pain and by then I had passed it and the pain had subsided.
    The pain you suffer with Lupus can be so bad you can’t grab a pot to cook with, stand on your feet too long, drive because it hurts to handle the steering wheel, open a bottle or jar, use the phone and your joints hurt all over!! Add these things together and life is horrendous!! Then with all the inflammation it can start affecting your major organs. Mine was my heart. I had a heart attack 2003 I never called 911 because the pain wasn’t as bad as they showed on tv and I wasn’t having crushing chest pain falling on the floor with pain so I blew it off and took a nap while I propped up my numb legs. I had dealt with much worse pain! I started recognizing blockages when I would get out of breath and head to the hospital. 12 stents latter 2012 I had to have a double by-pass. It was painful in my sternum but I’m doing ok 4 months out. I just get frustrated that I can’t move or pick up things I used to and hope I will not be limited in the future and get stronger everyday. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!!!! Go to a pain Dr. do NOT live your life in pain!! Suicide is NOT the answer, do NOT give in or up. I had a Dr. once say who cares about addiction because there is such a thing as a quality of life and my mouth about hit the floor!! I was in shock. When your in pain your blood pressure goes up what does that do to the rest of you body organs?? Don’t stop with a Dr. thats a jerk get one that’s compassionate and knowledgeable!! This is your life take control as hard as it is don’t give up but if you are tired of fighting insurance, disability and doctors, if you no longer have the energy or have mental fatigue get a family member or surrogate to help you through the fog so you have some of your life back again!!

    • Okie Girl May 15, 2013 at 3:35 pm · Reply

      People often discount diseases when the sufferers don’t “look sick.” Also, many lupus sufferers (like myself) are able to live relatively pain-free, except during “attacks”. I know people who suffer the way that you do, and I try not to be fearful of this possibility for myself. I think perhaps lupus is not on this list because there are so many of us who rarely suffer the symptoms and constant pain that you do. I actually suffer much more from migraines and trigeminal neuralgia (although I believe both are brought on by lupus-related inflammation). Just a thought. I wish you the best!

  50. Anomyous May 17, 2013 at 9:44 pm · Reply

    Kidney Stones are awful. The pain that I have gone through because of my kidney stone was a nightmare. Having the kidney stone in my body was bad enough, but passing it was even worse. Most people say that Kidney Stones happen in unhealthy people that are part of the older population, but i am very young, exercise daily, and I obtain a healthy diet and weight. Anyways, point being, Kidney Stones are terrible, and it is probably the worst pain that i have ever had.

  51. Las Vegas June 1, 2013 at 12:47 am · Reply

    I think that pain is subjective. I also think that fibromyalgia is a junk diagnosis. Sorry to all of you that have been diagnosed with it. I have Hidradenitis Suppurativa and I’m glad to say that’s it, I’m healthy otherwise. I can’t tolerate a normal headache so anything with the name Suicide Headache scares the crap out of me. Those people can take that title of most painful. It’s not a race or competition. It’s life. I’ve been an RN for 10 years and reading some of the posts on here brought back some familiar feelings. Nobody has EVERYTHING wrong with them. Why would you want to say you do? I can tell you that the people who say they do, are the ones who are taking away from people with real issues in the doctor’s office. We spend so much time with those people that everyone else is rushed. I get it, I know there are hypochondriacs in the world but get some help. Most people who claim multiple diseases are usually cured with good psychological medications. Had to be said, I will pray for forgiveness tonight.

  52. Gordo July 9, 2013 at 10:08 am · Reply

    Just to ask the question, has anyone successfully tried psychedelics as a prevention for cluster headaches? I’ve heard that for some reason LSD and psilocybin containing mushrooms prevent CH and am curious to know if anyone has had success with this?

  53. Kristin July 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm · Reply

    Salut je suis Kristin. Merci pour ce merveilleux post sur aching conditions.
    Ton Site Top 10 Most Painful Medical Conditions | Health Fiend est incroyable source
    d’infos.

  54. David Kline July 24, 2013 at 5:32 pm · Reply

    As a physician I agree that those conditions are painful. I would like to add Hemorrhoids to the list and the obvious choice, the “Painful Crisis” of sickle cell disease. Good Day!

  55. Cindy McDonald August 2, 2013 at 4:35 am · Reply

    I am new to this site and still yet not given a name for my condition, I am ready to give my family Doctor information on Dercum’s Disease. I have suffered since a teenager and am now in my 40′s and am SO THANKFUL for the medical insight and sharing of people’s health conditions. Up until about two months ago I started searching the Internet and entered in information on the various symptoms that I suffer with 24/7. I was beginning to really think that I was the only one who was like this and maybe my Doctor would be ready to remove me from his patient list.

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