People Describe The Most Physically Painful Thing They've Ever Experienced
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Picture this: you pour yourself a hot cup of coffee or tea. Eager to take that first sip, you don't wait until the liquid is cool enough. Ouch! Your tongue pulls back, your arm jerks, and now you've spilled your beverage.

When we experience pain, that's our body's way of keeping us safe. The nerves send a signal to your spinal cord and up to your brain to let you know, "Hey, this hurts!" That's acute pain.

There's also chronic pain, which is long-term pain that usually has something to do with a miscommunication between the nerves and the brain. There's a signal that something is wrong when really nothing is wrong.

Some people have experienced excruciating pain from accidents, surgeries, and illness. We wanted to know what was the most intense pain that people have ever felt.


Redditor Bright_Vision asked:

"What is the most physically painful experience you've had?"

These will make your toes curl!

Spinal cord collapse.

"When my spinal cord collapsed down on to the nerves going to my legs I legitimately wanted to die."

- Decent_Barnacle_6746

"I feel this. Broke my neck and back and ruptured 6 disks and blew out every ligament in my neck. The worst pain was putting a trail spinal chord stimulator in and running the leads from my butt to mid back. I was awake and was given no sedation."

- growingwithnate

Appendix bursting.

"Toss up between kidney stones and appendix bursting. Wanted to die."

- HungDaddy120

"Came here to say this. Appendix burst. Insane pain."

"1 week in hospital for infection. It was just horrible. Literally an organ bursting inside you."

- Thenot99

"Were there any symptoms to begin with? Or is this one of those things that can just randomly happen to anyone without warning?"

- chocomilc

"You’ll feel it, but it's hard to know that its the appendix. Feels like a stomach ache increasing in intensity over time from what I recall. Moving hurts quite a bit, especially if you wait before getting it checked out."

- yar2000

"Or you could be like me and not present with anything but some abdominal discomfort, no fever, no loss of appetite. I'm grateful they did a CT on me to check and make sure otherwise it could have been dismissed as gastro. I went from CT to ER to surgery in like 3 hours."

- kikat

Abscessed tooth.

"Had an abscessed tooth. For two weeks, my life was nothing but absolute misery, and nothing would kill the pain. At one point, the dentist had to drip numbing agents on the exposed root because it would not freeze, and that felt like a hot needle being jammed behind my eye."

"Cue a new dentist phobia that has me terrified to even call them when I know there's an issue."

- Lexi_Banner

"My mom had an abscessed tooth, and at the worst stage she cried worse than I personally have ever heard her cry. Awful stuff."

- Rhett12344

Ovarian endometriotic cyst rupturing.

"An ovarian endometriotic cyst rupturing."

"I remember taking about ten minutes to crawl down the stairs to get to the phone so I could call my mom, 100% convinced I was dying."

- ipakookapi

"I woke up one morning before school and told my mom I felt like I was gonna be sick. She sent me to school anyways."

"I threw up twice on my way to my first class. Then I threw up during that class and went to the nurse. I threw up in the nurses office probably 10x by the time my mom came back for me (~45 mins). She took me home (at roughly 9am) thinking it was just a stomach bug and went back to work."

"She came home by 5pm and I had thrown up possibly another 15-30x since she left me at home. Instead of going to the doctors she rushed me straight to the ER worried my appendix burst. Threw up another 3x in the waiting room."

"I threw up/dry heaved somewhere between 30-60x in less than 12 hours at 11 years old. I legitimately thought that this was the end and I was dying with how awful the pain was. All to get told, 'Yeah it looks like you had an ovarian cyst rupture, so you might be getting your period soon.'"

"11 years old, hadn’t even had my first period yet, and my female organs already wanted me to feel like I was dying."

- borderline_cat

Spinal surgery.

"That time a neurosurgeon drilled out the base of my skull, installed a plate there, and then drilled holes in my top two vertebrae to connect it all."

"Excruciating pain for months, but the worst was the first two weeks. Any time the pain meds wore off, I was in hell. It felt like nothing I’ve ever experienced before or since. I became an animal. I wasn’t capable of human thought or anything but screaming. It continued for a long time in a more muted way. When I tried to turn my head reflexively, when I accidentally shifted it forward. But the worst BY FAR was when I tried to sleep because I had no control over my movements then. I just woke up screaming many times each night."

"There was no escape. I was tired all the time, terrified of falling asleep again but also terrified of every potential movement. I had a very secure neck brace on 24/7 for months, but nothing was enough to stop this pain."

- vagabonne

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Adriamycin chemo.

"Receiving Adriamycin chemo. The side effects made me wish for death at times."

- cloudydays2021

"I actually get nauseous just seeing that shade of red now. No kool aid or fruit punch for me!"

"At least I’m alive though. 9 years NED."

- heysandyitspete

"11 years later I still have the fear of that disgusting red. I'd get panic attacks just walking along the corridor to the chemo ward. It was always cleaned so thoroughly that even the smell of whatever cleaning chemical they used made me nauseous. It took me at least 5 years to be able to go outside without crippling anxiety."

- Blinkkkk

A virus that caused 3 other illnesses.

"When I was a kid I was severely ill with a virus which led to extreme dehydration. At one stage I couldn't hold down food or water for days. I frequently woke up with severe abdominal cramps but one night I woke up and thought my head was splitting open with the worst migraine of my life. I was in so much pain that I couldn't stand or see. I just curled up and begged for the pain to stop."

"My father carried me to the doctors and my mother sat with me while the doctor told them it was 'just a virus and it will pass.' The doctor had been saying this for nearly two months. My mother snapped and demanded the doctor to at least examine me and not dismiss me. The doctor quickly concluded my appendix had burst and to bring me to ER."

"The second my father carried me into ER the nurse just took me to the back and I was rushed to ICU. Turned out the cramps were also from dehydration and the virus caused my lungs to collapse and gave me pneumonia."

"The headache and cramps was something I never want to experience again and make sure to find a way to always be hydrated. I was in so much pain I didn't even notice my lungs were failing."

- RedIceBreaker

"Honestly wasn't shocked reading this. I'll be dismissed 3-4 times before anything I have is looked at. Now I collect dismissals in writing so when there is a big problem I have the trail."

- segfkt

For many of the stories in the comments, the pain being so excruciating is what rushed them into surgery. For others, it was the result of such surgery.

What's important to remember that if it's acute pain, and it's intense, see a doctor and advocate to be evaluated. It might save your life.

Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

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