The NHS has created a list of the very worst – the most painful conditions a person has to live with.
1. Cluster headaches
Cluster headaches are seriously debilitating bursts of pain in one side of the head, often felt near the eyes.
The OUCH charity, which works with sufferers of the condition, says “hardly anyone” knows about the disorder, despite the fact there are roughly the same amount of sufferers as people who have Multiple Sclerosis in the UK.
The charity calls the condition “devastating” and says people struggle in isolation with the headaches for years.
Shingles is also known as herpes zoster.
It is an infection of the skin and nerves and usually affects a single area on one side of the body.
The most significant symptom is a painful rash that can transform into itchy blisters containing the virus.
Bouts of shingles typically last between two and four weeks.
One fifth of sufferers go on to develop nerve pain along the affected area.
The pain can be severe and last for a number of months, perhaps even long.
It can hit people of all ages, but is most common in those aged over 70.
Pain and stiffness in the shoulder are the symptoms of this one.
The NHS says the joint can become so tight and stiff it makes it virtually impossible to carry out simple movements, such as raising an arm.
The cause is not known, but it can happen after shoulder or arm injuries and is more common in people with diabetes.
Breaking a bone can be incredibly painful.
Fractures of the ankle, hip, arm and nose are among the most painful of all injuries.
Small breaks are less painful, but larger ones can lead to agony, especially if the person tries to move.
Broken bones generally need lining up and repositioning so they set properly.
The general recovery time depends on the size of the bone and the age of the person.
5.Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
The NHS says this is a “poorly understood condition”, marked by the patient experiencing persistent, severe and debilitating pain.
Although most cases of CRPS are triggered by an injury, the resulting pain causes unexpectedly severe and long-lasting discomfort.
It is typically confined to just a single limb, but it can sometimes spread to other parts of the body.
The skin of the affected body part can become so sensitive – to the extent that a light touch can provoke agonising pain.
Affected areas can also become swollen, stiff or undergo fluctuating changes in colour or temperature.
Some cases of CRPS are incurable and will never alleviate, and the affected person will experience pain for many years.
Most heart attacks are caused when the arteries narrow and fill with fatty materials, preventing blood from flowing.
Smoking and general unhealthy living are major contributory factors, with experts recommending regular exercise and balanced diets.
The most common signs of a heart attack include chest pain; pain in the arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach; sweating; light-headedness; shortness of breath; nausea and vomiting.
One of the most common causes of back pain, a slipped disc is the result of an injury brought on by twisting or lifting, causing one of the discs in the spine to rupture, and gel inside leaks out
Most people with a slipped disc experience sudden and severe lower back pain.
8.Sickle cell disease
Sickle cell disease is a group of blood disorders typically inherited from one’s parents, with sickle cell anaemia known as the most common type.e.
It results in an abnormality in haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein found in red blood cells.
One of the most common and distressing symptoms is a sudden episode of pain, known as a pain crisis.
The pain, which usually occurs in the bones and joints, can vary from mild to severe and last for up to seven days.
Some people may have an episode every few weeks, while others may have fewer than one a year.
Arthritis causes constant and often debilitating pain in the joints, usually in the hips, knees, wrists or fingers.
The pain can develop suddenly or over time and is often usually linked to muscle aches and stiffness in the joints.
Migraines are different from headaches as they are a complex and disabling neurological disorder, according to the Migraine Trust.
The Trust said: “For many people the main feature is a painful headache. Other symptoms include disturbed vision, sensitivity to light, sound and smells, feeling sick and vomiting.
“Migraine attacks can be very frightening and may result in you having to lie still for several hours.
“The symptoms will vary from person to person and individuals may have different symptoms during different attacks. Your attacks may differ in length and frequency.
“Migraine attacks usually last from 4 to 72 hours and most people are free from symptoms between attacks. Migraine can have an enormous impact on your work, family and social lives.”
11. Kidney Stones
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, running from behind the pelvis down to the feet and sciatica is a back condition that affects it.
Sciatica occurs when the nerve becomes irritated or compressed.
One of the common causes is the previously mentioned slipped disc.
Other symptoms can include tingling sensations, similar to ‘pins and needles’, cramp and shooting pain that starts in the buttocks and travels swiftly down towards the foot.
Sufferers can experience any level of pain from mild to excruciating – to the point where it is impossible to put any weight on the affected leg.
Sciatica can affect people of all ages, but is more common as you get older.
Appendicitis is a painful swelling of the appendix. It is most common in children, who will typically complain of pain in the middle of their stomach that comes and goes.
The pain then shifts to the lower-right side of the tummy and grows more uncomfortable.
Appendicitis is a medical emergency that usually needs an urgent operation to remove the appendix before it bursts.
14. Trigeminal neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia is sudden, severe facial pain. It’s often described as a sharp shooting pain or like having an electric shock in the jaw, teeth or gums.
It usually occurs in short, unpredictable attacks that can last from a few seconds to about two minutes. The attacks stop as suddenly as they start.
Unfortunately, for most sufferers, the condition is progressive and will worsen over time, and there is no guaranteed cure.
Endometriosis is a gynaecological condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other areas of the body, most commonly in the pelvic region.
It can lead to severe pain and many other symptoms.
The classic symptoms of endometriosis are severe pain during or between periods; very long, heavy and irregular periods; painful bowel movements; pain in the bladder and pain during or after sex.
Extreme fatigue is very common, and fertility may also be affected.
Endometriosis affects 1.5million women in the UK but is estimated to take seven and a half years to diagnose.
There is no cure for endometriosis, but the condition is manageable and timely diagnosis could save women from many years of living in constant pain.
The only conclusive way to determine if a woman has endometriosis is through a laparoscopy, usually done under general anaesthetic.
Gout, which has been recognised for the past 2,000 years, is a painful rheumatic disease that causes the inflammation of the joints and often starts in the feet or toes – for 70 per cent of sufferers a joint in the big toe is the first to be affected.
Uric acid gathers and crystallises at the joint, causing swelling and heat with the skin sometimes becoming purplish red.
Gout, which mainly affects men aged between 40 and 60 causes acute, intermittent and painful attacks of arthritis in the joints of the foot, knee, ankle, hand and wrist.
It can be treated through either medicine or a serious change in lifestyle.
Acute pancreatitis is the swelling of the pancreas, a banana-sized organ that’s part of the digestive system. The most common symptom is severe abdominal pain that appears suddenly.
This dull aching pain often gets steadily worse and can travel along your back or below your left shoulder blade.
Eating or drinking, especially fatty foods, may also make you feel worse very quickly. Leaning forward or curling into a ball may help to relieve the pain, but lying flat on your back often increases it.
18. Stomach ulcer
A stomach ulcer – or peptic ulcer as they are sometimes known – is an open sore in the lining of your stomach or your small intestine.
The main cause of these ulcers is bacteria – responsible for up to 90 per cent of cases. The second most common cause is overuse of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including the commonly used aspirin and ibuprofen which can irritate the stomach lining in some people.
Excessive smoking or alcohol abuse can also increase the chances of developing the condition.
Another significant cause of ulcers is stress.
Those suffering from a stomach ulcer often describe their symptoms as similar to indigestion, heartburn and bad hunger pangs.
It is the abdominal pain that distinguishes a stomach ulcer from both heartburn and indigestion though – often coupled with both bloating and abdominal fullness.
Most people find that fatty foods, citrus drinks and spicy food irritate the ulcer.
Fibromyalgia Action UK explains the chronic condition causes “widespread pain and profound fatigue”.
It says: “The pain tends to be felt as diffuse aching or burning, often described as head to toe. It may be worse at some times than at others. It may also change location, usually becoming more severe in parts of the body that are used the most.
“The fatigue ranges from feeling tired, to the exhaustion of a flu-like illness. It may come and go and people can suddenly feel drained of all energy – as if someone just ‘pulled the plug.’
20.Pain After Surgery
It’s common to have some pain after surgery, though the intensity of the pain will vary according to the type of operation.
But too much pain after surgery is not a good thing, the NHS website explains, and you should never feel you have to “tough it out”.