Humans can endure a lot and while pain is subjective to your personal threshold, there are 20 conditions that have been named the most debilitating.

The UK National Health Service (NHS) has listed the following, in no particular order, as the worst pain a human can endure:

– Endometriosis

– Fibromyalgia

– Sickle cell disease

– Arthritis

– Migraine

– Sciatica

– Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)

– Heart attack

– Slipped disc

– Shingles

– Cluster headaches

– Frozen shoulder

– Broken bones

– Kidney stones

– Appendicitis

– Trigeminal neuralgia

– Acute pancreatitis

– Gout

– Stomach ulcer

– Pain after surgery

The NHS has also published guidelines on ways to manage chronic pain. “The old-fashioned treatment for persistent pain, also known as chronic pain, was bed rest for weeks or months on end. We now know this is the worst possible approach. Exercise and continuing to work are key to recovery. Forget resting if you have a painful condition like back pain. Lying in bed for long periods may actually make the pain last longer because inactivity makes you stiffen up, your muscles and bones get weaker, you don’t sleep well, you become lonely and depressed, and the pain feels worse. You’ll also find that it becomes harder and harder to get going again,” says the NHS official website.

Rather, the NHS suggests a combination of exercise, staying busy, physical therapy and prescribed pain medication as means to manage pain.

For exercise, the NHS suggests any of the following physical activities:

– walking

– swimming

– using an exercise bike

– dancing

– yoga

– pilates

– most daily activities and hobbies

The NHS suggests that one of these activities, combined with stretching, needs to become part of a daily routine in order to manage pain effectively. “Try to be active every day instead of only on the good days when you’re not in so much pain. This may reduce the number of bad days you have and help you feel more in control. But try to avoid overdoing it on good days and paying for this by having more bad days,” says the NHS.

Going to work or keeping busy helps to manage pain as it will help to avoid feeling depressed. “It’s important to try to stay in work even though you’re in pain. Research shows that people become less active and more depressed when they don’t work. Being at work will distract you from the pain, and in most cases, won’t make your pain worse. Talk to your supervisor or boss about the parts of your job that may be difficult to begin with, but stress that you want to be at work,” says the NHS.

“If you have to stay off work for a while, try to get back as soon as possible. If you have been off work for 4 to 6 weeks, plan with your doctor, therapist or employer how and when you can return,” the NHS continued.

The NHS also suggests gradually reintroducing work into your lifestyle. For example, returning for one day a week then moving to more days a week from there.

Chronic pain may also need to be addressed by means of a physical therapy and medication. “Physiotherapists can give you advice on the right type of exercise and activity. Occupational therapists can support you with environmental changes that can help you remain in work and function better at home.”

Various painkillers can be purchased over the counter but it is important to adhere to the recommended dosage.

Image: Unsplash

Article written by

Imogen Searra