5 of the Most Painful Medical Conditions (and How to Find Relief)

Is someone you love down in the dumps due to extreme pain? Painful medical ailments are not always easy to avoid, but some of them are treatable. Here are some treatment options to help find relief from some of the worst of them, specifically kidney stones, migraines, fibromyalgia, sciatica and gout.

Kidney Stones

The first symptom of kidney stones is often extreme pain in the back and sides, just below the ribs. Many sufferers report nausea and painful urination. Sometimes infections occur when kidney stones rake their way through the urinary tract, making antibiotics necessary. Stones can even get big enough to block off the urethra or ureters, trapping urine and creating a medical emergency. Anyone experiencing unbearable pain with chills, fever or difficulty passing urine should see a doctor immediately.

Fortunately, most kidney stones pass on their own before they become that big of a problem. Something that will help is drinking plenty of water and controlling the pain with acetaminophen or NSAIDs, per a physician’s instructions. A doctor may need to prescribe other medications if that doesn’t work. Depending on the makeup of the kidney stones, adjustments to diet can help avoid new stones from forming.


Migraine headaches affect a billion people across the globe, with sufferers of all ages and races. Attacks generally include disabling pain, usually on one side of the head, dizziness, nausea with or without vomiting, and light and sound sensitivity. The misery can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. About a quarter of sufferers experience visual disturbances, or auras, before or during their attacks.

When a migraine is coming on, stop what you’re doing and find somewhere comfortable, dark and quiet. If you can tolerate it, some doctors recommend drinking a strong cup of coffee or a caffeinated soda; this is because caffeine causes blood vessels to narrow and that restricts blood flow, helping to relieve headache/migraine pain. Another alternative is taking an over-the-counter migraine remedy, which is likely to contain caffeine and an NSAID. If you’re at home, sit in a hot bath or shower until the caffeine is able to cut the pain. You may feel residual light sensitivity and fatigue for a few hours, so try to take it easy if you can.


About four million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia, which causes fatigue and unexplained pain and stiffness throughout the body. Other symptoms include headaches, depression, difficulty sleeping, trouble concentrating and poor memory. Fibromyalgia strikes more women than men, and most people are middle aged when they’re diagnosed. People suffering from lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are also more likely to develop fibromyalgia.

Doctors recommend regular exercise, both aerobic and strength training, which can be difficult at first but can help you build endurance over time. Start slow and work your way into a regular routine. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, using effective stress management strategies and getting appropriate treatment for any depression. Many people are able to use over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce their pain levels.


Sciatica occurs when inflammation or problems with the disks in the lower back compress the nerve. This creates severe, radiating pain, sometimes accompanied by numbness, that begins around the lower back and can stretch all the way down the leg.

Most of the time, sciatica resolves on its own with rest and home care. A doctor may recommend taking over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce the pain, and alternate between hot and cold packs, each for about 20 minutes. Gentle stretches (as pain levels allow) or learning yoga positions that specifically loosen and condition that area of the spine also help relieve pain and discomfort. Consider physical therapy or chiropractic care if pain persists.


Gout is a type of arthritis caused when uric acid crystals build up in the joints. They form in people who have a genetic predisposition to the condition and eat foods high in purines. Liver, anchovies, and some legumes are the worst offenders. The most common area for gout to strike is the foot, usually the big toe, but it can also affect the ankles, knees, wrists, elbows and fingers.

Men who are overweight have a higher risk of developing gout, and alcohol consumption may also be a factor. You can reduce your chances of getting gout by losing weight and eating a diet higher in complex carbohydrates and lower in fatty and sugary foods. Avoid red meat, organ meats and other foods high in purines. Eating cherries and other foods high in vitamin C, getting plenty of water and drinking moderate amounts of coffee may also help.

Painful medical ailments might slow people down, but they can keep themselves in the best possible shape by staying proactive about their health and treating the issues as needed. Regardless of the condition someone has, they often have options. Take control where you can and take it easy when you need to.

~ Here’s to Your Health and Wellness

10/27/2020 7:00:00 AM
Wellness Editor
Written by Wellness Editor
Wellness Exists to Empower Health Conscious Consumers. Wellness.com helps people live healthier, happier and more successful lives by connecting them with the best health, wellness and lifestyle information and resources on the web.
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Bone cancer, knee replacement, gallstones
Posted by Melodie Davis
See your pain mngt dr. to inject your S1 nerve to run from your lower back thru the buttocks, thru the hip joint, down the back of your leg and maybe pain into the little toe. My spine dr. told me to wait and see if the pain gets better with time - hello ? The injection at the surgery center took the sciatica pain away as soon as I woke up !!!
Posted by rickhammer44@yahoo.com
Abcessed Tooth
Posted by G-Man
Perforated ulcer through wall of small intestine. Excruciating pain, no warning, very serious, death if not treated quickly.
Posted by Cheryl
Spinal Adhesive Arachnoiditis should be on this list. There is no cure, and causes progressive severe, incredible pain when it is in the "inferno" stage.
Posted by Connie
Trigeminal neuralgia should be on this list too. Extreme facial pain also known as the suicide disease.
Posted by Glenn
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