25 Worst Pains Humans Can Experience

Posted by , Updated on June 5, 2017


What is the human body’s pain tolerance? What is the worst pain known to medical science? These are all good questions. We’ve all wondered things like how much pain can the body take before death? Well, today we’re going to answer those questions. These are the 25 Worst Pains Humans Can Experience.



GoutSource: mayoclinic.org

Basically an acute and intense onset of arthritis, gout is not to be messed with. It used to be called the rich man’s disease because a “wealthy” diet was one of the causes. These days, however, it has become more common in the West. Thanks McDonald’s.


Tooth Abscess

tooth abscessSource: webmd.com

Although abscesses can occur anywhere in the body, tooth abscesses are typically the most painful because they are so close to a huge number of nerves. Due to tooth decay, bacteria sets in and causes immense pain. The infection can even spread to the rest of the face, cause terrible fevers, and in some cases death. Pro-tip: brush your teeth.


Torn Achilles

achilles tendonSource: webmd.com

It is the strongest and largest tendon in the body, so when it breaks…it hurts. People even say it feels like being shot in the back of the foot.


Road Rash

carSource: webmd.com

Similar to burns (which you will read about momentarily), this is insanely painful. Having the top layer of your skin gone and your nerves damaged is no fun at all.


Stonefish Sting

StonefishSource: mnn.com

These fish, commonly found in the coastal regions of the Indo-Pacific are one of the most venomous fish known to man. Often confused with stones below the surface of the water, people sometimes accidentally step on them. Depending on how much pressure is applied will determine how much venom gets injected. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much for the sting to be fatal.

Note: even if it’s not fatal, the victim typically experiences excruciating pain, nausea, convulsions, and vomiting.


Bear Attacks

BearSource: slate.com

Particularly polar bears; those things are mean! However, that doesn’t mean black bears and grizzly bears are any less dangerous. They’ve been known to seriously injure people, leave them for dead, and then come back later to finish the job. Talk about painful…


Breaking Wheel

Breaking wheelSource: history.com

This medieval method of execution involved the condemned being tied to a wheel and then their limbs being bludgeoned until they broke. The mangled body was often left on display. Many times, the victim was kept alive for days with strong drink.


Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered

Hanged, drawn, and quarteredSource: history.com

Although the death penalty is finally outlawed in Europe, back in the day, the Europeans were ridiculously malevolent when it came to handing out punishment. There was no such thing as lethal injection. No way. Prisoners were drawn through the street behind a horse, hanged until just before the point of death, disemboweled, beheaded, and then quartered (chopped into 4 pieces).


Bullet Ant Sting

bullet antSource: esquire.com

Also known as the Paraponera clavataca, the bullet ant sting is rated as the most painful sting on the Schmidt Pain Index. Brazilian tribesmen sometimes have to experience multiple bullet ant stings as part of their initiation ceremony.


What other bugs have a big bite? Check out 25 Painful Bites And Stings You Might Not Be Able To Handle.


Trigeminal Neuralgia

lightningSource: mayoclinic.org, emedicine.medscape.com

For those of you who have never had issues with your trigeminal nerve…be thankful. This nerve is responsible for supplying “sensations to the face, mucus membranes, and other structures in the head.” Sufferers of this condition say it’s like be struck in the head by lightning.



LingchiSource: mentalfloss.com

Also known as “death by a thousand cuts,” this form of execution was used in China and Vietnam up until the 1900’s. Basically, the victim’s body was slowly cut into pieces. The intention was to keep them alive for as long as possible to increase the pain.



TetanusSource: webmd.com

Here’s another reason to hope that your parent isn’t an anti-vaxxer. Tetanus is one of the most painful things that can happen to your body. It’s also known as “lock-jaw” because your muscles start spasming and lock up. People who don’t have the vaccine often have to be placed on emergency breathing machines. Get vaccinated people!



ChildbirthSource: parents.com

It has been long accepted that childbirth is one of the most painful things you can experience. Some people say that feels like your organs are being ripped out.



CrucifixionSource: gizmodo.com

This is actually where the word “excruciating” comes from. The Romans were masters of death and torture. The whole point of crucifixion was to keep the victim alive so that they would feel as much pain as possible.



abdomenSource: webmd.com

Peritoneum is a thin lining that covers much of the inside of your abdomen, and when it gets inflamed…get ready. Caused by a leakage of the intestines, the pain is unreal. The condition is so bad that if left untreated, it is almost always fatal.


Irukandji Syndrome

jellyfishSource: bioweb.uwlax.edu

This is a condition induced by the sting of the Irukandji jellyfish (along with other types of jellyfish) that is often found off the coast of Australia. Besides being incredibly painful, an unusual effect of the jellyfish’s venom is an intense feeling of impending doom. In fact, some patients even beg their doctor to just kill them and get it over with. It can take up to several weeks for the symptoms to recede, assuming proper medical attention.


Gonadal Torsion

painSource: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Whether it’s the testes or the ovaries, torsion typically involves twisting of the gonads (reproductive glands) that cuts of their blood supply. It’s just as painful as it sounds and often requires surgery in order to save the gonad.


Kidney Stones

Kidney stonesSource: webmd.com

If you already think kidney stones are bad, get this – the largest stone ever removed from a human was 6 inches wide! And for those of you who don’t know, even the smallest stones are incredibly painful. They can cause fever, vomiting, and blood in the urine.


Second Degree Burns

second degree burnSource: webmd.com

But wait…what about third degree burns? Aren’t those worse? Well yes, they are. But third degree burns are so bad that even your nerves are damaged, so you can’t feel anything at all. Second degree burns are where the pain is at. They’re bad enough to hurt, but not so bad that your nerves get singed.


Dercum’s Disease

showerSource: webmd.com

This disease consists of numerous painful tumors that grow on the patient’s body. The tumors can be extremely sensitive to touch and temperature so even taking a shower can be excruciating.


Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex regional pain syndromeSource: scientificamerican.com

Basically, your body’s pain receptors go crazy and cause intense swelling and pain (usually on a limb). The pain tends to get worse over time, and there is no cure. In fact, sometimes it gets so bad that the only solution is to amputate. Pro-tip: stop smoking. Apparently smokers tend to get this disease.


Cluster Headaches

Cluster headachesSource: webmd.com

Unlike migraines or tension headaches, cluster headaches occur almost directly behind the eyeball. They get their name because they occur in groups over a period of several weeks, usually at night. They are also “suicide headaches” because the pain is almost unbearable. Some people say it feels like a stick is being jammed through your eyeball and into your brain.


Penile Fracture

ouchSource: webmd.com

Every guy knows what this is, and it hurts just as much as you think it does.


Postdural Puncture Headache

Post-dural-puncture headacheSource: webmd.com

Also known as a spinal headache, this is one of the worst head pains a human can experience. Basically your meninges (one of the most sensitive parts of your body) are affected; it’s a common side effect of spinal anesthesia. The worst part is that movement can make it worse. Common symptoms are hearing loss, vertigo, nausea, dizziness, and extreme pain. It has been described as “searing and spreading like hot metal.”


Emotional Pain

emotional painSource: mayoclinic.org

Ranging from depression all the way to PTSD, there is a lot of evidence showing that emotional trauma and pain triggers the same parts of the brain as physical pain. In fact, it has sometimes been shown to trigger the pain regions even more. Psychological distress is one of the worst things a person can experience.

Photos: 25. wikimedia commons (public domain), 24. Green Smoothies Rock! via flickr  CC BY-SA 2.0, 23. BruceBlaus, Achilles Tendon Tear, CC BY-SA 4.0, 22-20. pixabay (public domain), 19-18. wikimedia commons (public domain), 17. emills1 via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 16. pixabay (public domain), 15. wikimedia commons (public domain), 14. Timothy Allen via flickrCC BY-SA 2.0, 13-12. pixabay (public domain), 11. Kayau, Belly button, CC BY 3.0, 10. Peter Southwood, Box jellyfish at Bakoven Rock DSC11031, CC BY-SA 3.0, 9. Steven Depolo via flickrCC BY 2.0, 8. Jakupica, Kidney stones ( renal calculi ), Бубрежни камења 14, CC BY-SA 4.0, 7. wikimedia commons (public domain), 6. Nicole-Koehler, Shower head, CC BY-SA 3.0, 5. Patientenvereniging CRPS, CRPS 002ms5, CC BY-SA 3.0, 4-3. pixabay (public domain), 2. en.wikipedia.org (public domain), 1. pixabay (public domain)

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