People Share The Worst Physical Pain They've Ever Lived Through
Pain - everyone experiences it to some degree, some worse than others. Though it's hard to quantify, pain from illness or injury can be crippling. When I had ulcerative colitis, I was in perpetual agony both physically and emotionally as my innards ate themselves and rotted away.
Henriqueykg asked Reddit: What was the worst physical pain you've ever felt in your life?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Appendicitis + abcess = unbearable.
I got key hole surgery to have my appendix removed when I was about 12, all was going well and everything apart from pain in my stomach, which was why my appendix was removed.
Turns out I had an abscess bellow my belly button somewhere, and it started pushing on my intestines, it burst my scar open and pushed part of my intestines our of my stomach. When I got to hospital I was in agony, I've never felt anything like it, and one of the junior doctors didn't know what it was so pulled on it with tweezers. F*cking ouch that was my intestine.
The senior doctor comes running in when she hears the screaming and looks at my stomach, immediately starts shouting at the junior doctor and I got rushed to theatre.
B!tch that was sore.
But yes my appendix was also inflamed which is why I was discharged, they thought the pain was just from surgery and me being young or some sh*t.
edit: yes the intestines don't hurt themselves, but the surrounding tissue does
Forget anatomy, why the hell are you trying to pull fleshy things out of your patients with a tweezer?
That cannot be standard procedure when dealing with unknown fleshy bits on live people.
I guess this is common practice. Last year I had a bump on my leg and my doctor didn't know what it was so she poked at it with a tweezer for a good 15 minutes until it started bleeding and hurt like hell. Then after that she just kinda shrugged and said lemme know if I have any more symptoms. Great experience.
Gotta turn over those beds... youch.
I was discharged from hospital emergency room with a snapped achillies, luckily my wife is a nurse and mentioned it to a surgeon.
Had just hobbled home to have the ER doc call, apologise, and ask me to come back for a surgical review. Same surgeon did the operation and reason I was able to continue playing/running.
Also had a ER doc TRY to discharge me, after a neck injury. Was in neck restraints, had CT scan, then he took off the restraints and proceeded to move my head/arms in every way. Then said "you're fine, I can discharge you". I had a bad feeling so I lied and said I felt a tingling/numbness in my fingers. Back on with the braces.
He THEN decided to read the CT report which had (In large font) a note saying a fracture of the vertebra in my neck.
Sounds like that doc might be in for a lawsuit with future patients if he continues his "minor" negligence.
One would have had me limping for the rest of my life.
The other could have killed/paralysed me.
Crossed balls. No fun.
Testicular Torsion had me on the floor crying.
I had to have one if mine removed! It was the size of a lemon, tried walking for a few days and in the end i couldnt. Went to hospital, doctor checked it and said fluid. Middle of that night got up in excruciating pain. Went to hospital again, immediate surgery. F*ck that doctor.
Happened to my stepdad as well. Said he woke up and his nut was the size of a softball. He figured that for whatever reason getting in the shower with warm water would help.
He says the pain he got from the water hitting his nutsack was one of the most painful sensations he's felt in his entire life.
Get vaccinated, because Shingles adult chicken pox, and it is torture.
The nerve pain from Shingles. The open sores inched, burned, and ached but it was nothing compared to the stabbing pain from the nerve bundle.
Edit: Since this blew up I figured I'd take the time to leave some advice. If you suspect you have shingles, go to the doctor asap because the sooner they prescribe antiviral treatment, the smaller the risk of postherpetic neuralgia (phantom nerve spasms and pain that last up to years after your shingles have gone away, caused by nerve damage from the shingles virus). If you don't have insurance in the U.S. go to an urgent care clinic ( around $150 + $20 for prescription antivirals for treatment and prescription anticonvulsants for pain). Don't risk permanent nerve damage and severe pain to save less than $200 and don't risk at home homeopathic treatment because it most likely won't do anything.
I can relate to this. I had shingles a few times when I was younger. Every time it was on the right side of my torso. Even after it faded, I would get phantom shingles pains on my torso. It felt like a tickle and a hot nerve burning at the same time. Very odd.
What a trooper.
When I was 16, my appendix burst at summer camp and I went without medical treatment for three days. The camp nurse told me I had altitude sickness, and the adult volunteers didn't recognize that it was an emergency when I had stomach pains so bad I couldn't walk and told me to drink lemon soda.
It wasn't just regular appendicitis, the appendix actually burst and my body apparently "walled off" the infection, stopping me from getting septicemia or a blood infection or whatever... I actually felt somewhat better the day after.
Definitely would not recommend. Fortunately, I eventually got to an excellent surgeon and made a full recovery.
So a woman I knew had something very similar. She was pregnant with twins, and had appendicitis at the same time. They removed her appendix, and she continued to complain of pain. She kept going back to the doctor, but they repeatedly just told her it was pains from carrying twins.
She said it got so bad, she couldn't sit or lay down, and had to continuously stand. They went back again and insisted that it wasn't normal pain and that they wanted tests.
Apparently, she had gotten an infection the size of a grapefruit that had walled itself off.
This is actually best case scenario for untreated ruptured appendicitis. Much better than going septic and ending up with a PICC line getting all your nutrition through your veins while your doctors and nurses try to keep you alive long enough to make you not die.
Had bronchitis while I had three broken ribs. I still remember laying in bed at night trying to sleep and being just plain miserable.
I have bronchitis right now and my god I couldn't even imagine how much that would suck.
When everything that can go wrong... goes wrong.
When I was 17 my mom passed away, I was living with a boyfriend at the time and we were in the process of moving (we were starting to pack). I ended of getting appendicitis a week after she passed and then a day after I was discharged I got pneumonia. My boyfriend at the time wasn't all that great so he left me to unpack so he could go out to the bar. He came back home at 3 in the morning with a girl, forgetting that I was at the new place and not the old one. I was on antibiotics for the pneumonia but had only taken Tylenol for the surgery pain (my mom had overdosed on opioids and I was sensitive to that at the time), every time I cried (in grief or jealousy) or coughed it felt like my stomach was going to burst. This was a very long time ago, but it definitely was the worst pain in all areas that I have felt, all at once.
Jesus Christ, when it rains it pours. Sorry to hear that bud.
There isn't much one can do for nerve pain.
Nerve pain. I pinched a nerve in my back. You may have experienced a lighter version with a tooth while at the dentist. That is about the closest I felt before but that is much more temporary. It sits in the back of your brain just eating away at your sanity.
Painkillers don't kill it but can get you so high that you care less. You may have a position that doesn't trigger the pain. If you're lucky you can be comfortable in that position. If not you'll end up cramping up certain muscles trying to avoid the pain.
Recently happened to my girlfriend. A pinched nerve in her spine got progressively worse (we didn't know what it was at first), until very early one morning I awoke to her in a great deal of pain and making a lot of noise. Her arms were on fire and she could barely even stand. Took her to the hospital, and one of the nurses or somebody giving an evaluation asked her to rate her pain on the pain scale. She gave it an 11, and my eyes widened. I said, "This woman has given birth to two boys." She said it was worse pain than that. I believed her, too. She was suffering a whole lot. We got some treatments for her, including injecting steroids STRAIGHT INTO HER SPINE, but she still struggles with it to this day, and we are considering surgery. She is deathly afraid of it.
I have chronic back pain, I max out on the steroid injections, etc. I completely believe her about it feeling worse than giving birth. I was going to make my own comment about it but it's very similar to your girlfriends so I'll just reply here. My worse back flare up was definitely worse than labor/delivery.
Ummm nope no thanks.
I broke my wrist at a 45 degree angle. Setting it was the worst pain I've ever experienced. They put my fingers in a little Chinese finger trap thing with weights on my bicep. I had to pull as hard as I could to set the bone back in place. Felt like I was going to pass out, throw up and sh!t myself all at once.
Why are they doing it that way?? When this happened to me a doctor pulled my elbow and another doctor pulled my hand. I was also put under so just magically woke up with casts on.
Orthopaedic surgery resident here. We use finger traps for a few reasons. First, it helps to fatigue the musculature which spasms around the fracture. Second, it helps us to restore length and ulnar deviation of the fracture. Third, it usually gets us to a fairly good state of reduction.
Before I hang my patients in one I numb the fracture site with a hematoma block and give you some systemic analgesia with fent or ketamine.
While it looks medieval, its actually the easiest and most reliable way for me to get your bone back in place.
Edit: we try nonoperative first because we can usually achieve adequate reduction in the emergency room, and because sedation and/or anesthesia is not without risk.
Have fun reading this one.
When I was in high school, I put my contacts in the wrong solution and essentially soaked my eyes in hydrogen peroxide. I thought that the pain would go away eventually and that I could muscle through it, so I went to go pick up a friend. By the time we got to her home, my eyes had swelled shut, so we had to go to Urgent Care for the doctors to numb my eyes enough for me to stick my fingers beneath my eyelids and take out the contacts. I couldn't open my eyes for 3 days.
Oh god. I know exactly which solution that was too. It doesn't help that it looks exactly like contact solution. I made the same mistake and stupidly reached for my contact solution to flush my eyes out not realizing it was the same hydrogen peroxide cleaning solution. I thought I was going to die.
Yes! It was seriously the worst physical pain I've ever felt (although I've had a relatively injury-less life thus far, knock on wood). I haven't worn contacts since that incident.
Having gone through this myself, I can confirm: the pain is absolute.
Warning: not for the queasy. Hope you're ready because this one's a doozy. It's not some bad ass story, but it's real gross.
Damn near 10 years ago now, I got a pain in what I can only really describe as the very upper right side of my ass crack. High enough to just about be on my lower back, but low enough that I would still consider it butt crack territory. I was 17 and still lived with my parents, so asked my dear Ma to take a look. Says it looks like a pimple and we move on.
Fast forward a couple weeks, I wake up to what I thought was the smell of very strong dog sh*t. Thought my dog had gotten diarrhea somewhere. Got up to investigate and felt wet on my backside. I go in the bathroom, take off my pants, and the smell, I realize, is coming from me. My "boil" had popped, and it was foul. I can only describe the smell as dog sh*t mixed with decaying flesh. It was so foul, in fact, my mom smelled it from her room and got up to investigate. She decided, based on the smell, it was time to go to the hospital.
I get a room and immediately the docs and nurses get in there. They did blood work and took my temp. Turned out I was what the doctor called "pre-septic", so they needed to immediately get all the puss and infected stuff out, I guess. This meant 4 or 5 nurses and doctors pushing on me from every angle. I don't know if anyone has ever had a severely infected cyst, but that sh*t hurts when they push all the crud out. So, to help, they stuck a big ol' needle full of anesthetic straight into my open, gaping, infected cyst. That needle going in was, to this day, the absolute worst pain I have ever experienced. I'm no wuss, but I damn near passed out when they stuck it in. I felt that pain all the way down to my damn toes.
After a bunch of antibiotics and a bout with MRSA I had surgery to remove the cyst (which is called a pilonidal cyst). They told me I had three 1-foot-long tracts. They didn't get them all and I ended up getting surgery a couple years later in the same spot to get the rest.
Edit for vagueness.
Splinter away if you're woosy.
Dragging my hand across a shitty wooden table fast enough to lodge a huge piece of wood under my fingernail that went all the way to the end of the nail bed. Had to take public transit to an urgent care to get it removed. Two hours of hell right there til the lidocaine hit.
Man this one really makes me cringe for some reason.
This is one of the few submissions in this thread that made *ME* hurt.
You gotta pivot!
Was moving a couch for a then girlfriend that was weak as hell. She couldn't hold her end whole going up some metal stairs at her apartment. The couch fell on me and I tumbled down the stairs with it bouncing on top of me. L4/L5 and L5/S1 injury with tearing along the discs. 10/10 pain and I lost the ability to walk for several days.
Also, it turns out that she was a lesbian.
Dude thats why you never take the lower end.
I don't ever want to know what she's talking about.
I developed pre-eclampsia while pregnant & wound up being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. They gave me steroid shots to try to expedite the development of the baby's lungs because I was only 31 weeks along, & the only cure for pre-eclampsia (which can kill you) is giving birth. They put me on a magnesium drip to try to stabilize my blood pressure while they waited for the steroids to go into effect.
I have a long history with migraine headaches, I can be counted on to get one that takes me out of commission at least once or twice a month, but those things were NOTHING compared to the agony of the magnesium drip. My headache was so excruciating that I was literally begging to die. My blood felt like it was made of lava, but I was simultaneously so cold that I couldn't hold a fork or speak audibly because I was shivering too much. All I wanted was for the pain to end, I didn't care if I died, if my baby died, if an asteroid took out the entire human race, I just wanted it to stop. It went on for four solid days before they finally they decided to remove the mag drip. I had 24 hours of semi-normalcy (as normal as being on hospital bed rest with a life-threatening pregnancy complication can be) before my vitals started to collapse again & they came back with more mag. I begged them to just induce me, give me a Cesarean, let me start having seizures, ANYTHING but more magnesium. But they hooked me up again for two more days of excruciating torture. Eventually it stopped "working" & they induced.
I wound up with an emergency Cesarean, but recovering from that was like being licked by kittens compared to the mag. I had cancer that required more abdominal surgeries. Again: nothing compared to the mag. I've broken bones, sustained third-degree burns...I'd do it all again, all at the same time, to avoid ever being on a magnesium drip again. People who have never experienced it can't imagine how horrible it is. People who have experienced it know exactly what I'm talking about.
This points to the end of the list.
In a wrestling accident, I had a bone breach out of the tip on my finger & thereby pushing my fingernail straight off. Maybe there wasn't enough novocaine, but when that was pushed back in place......holy hot hell.
I had a bone breach out of the tip on my finger
What in the actual f*ck. That's definitely enough internet for me tonight. Lights out.