What could be worse if childbirth is considered one of life’s greatest pains? It turns out that people actually have a long list of experiences that rival labor pain! From dental work to broken bones, we’ll discuss the 15 most painful things—and why they may hurt more than expected. Whether you’re looking for an informative read or simply some good storytelling, this blog post will provide an engaging look into just how strong people can be when faced with a considerable amount of pain.
1. Kidney Stones
One user shared a story, “My mom always makes a point to remind me that she birthed me naturally with no pain medications or the like and that she was in labor with me for 22 hours, with contractions starting the first hour, and it was quite a pain. Eight or so years later, she had a few large kidney stones and said it was way worse.”
One user replied, “Side note, I don’t get parents who hold a difficult birth over their kids, as though they had something to do with it. It’s always like, ‘Well, who was the adult in that situation?’ Don’t get me started on parents who hold providing food and shelter over their kids—like congrats on doing your legal and ethical obligations.”
Another user added, “I think moms like to use it as a status symbol, kind of. I think it can be cute if you’re just playfully saying something like, ‘And you took 36 hours to get here!!! Yeesh!!’ Rather than, ‘You ruined my body, and now I hate myself.’ I personally have a 1-year-old, and my labor was a really fun experience, but I will totally let my son know that his head was huge and got stuck when he’s older.”
2. Old Age with Long-Term Ailments
“My wife thought the last month of pregnancy was worse than giving birth. She said giving birth was more painful that day, but the constant tiredness and back pain was a worse experience for her. Makes me think of all those people, especially old people, with long-term ailments having to go on each day with pain,” one user shared.
Another commenter replied, “I have given birth 3 times, and I agree. The fear of the pain of labor evaporates when every day is a painful struggle, and you want to be done having that watermelon INSIDE, lol. That’s my theory on why [it’s so terrible] towards the end of pregnancy; we are happier to give birth.”
However, one Redditor said, “I’ve never been pregnant, but I have chronic pain. My best friend is currently 8 months pregnant and was complaining about it all to me a few weeks ago; she then abruptly stopped mid-sentence (I honestly thought she went into labor, lol) and, with tears in her eyes, went, ‘Is this how you feel all the time?’ Then she started sobbing; I was so shocked as she’s not normally a crier. Her husband heard her crying and came into the room to see her on FaceTime with me, gave her a hug, and mouthed ‘hormones!’ to me. It was all I could do not to burst out laughing.”
Another user commented, “That is possibly the kindest thing anybody could do for me. Realizing every day hurts and just feels something for me.”
3. Being Burned
One user shared, “Burning Alive.”
Another commenter replied, “From what I understand about it, your nerves burn first, so it’s usually fairly quick and painless. Surviving it, on the other hand.”
“That’s probably something they tell the families to make them feel better. You have nerves throughout the entirety of you… As far as quick……. well, that would depend entirely on how much of you is burning and how quickly. Yeeted into a volcano like Gollum? Yea, probably pretty quick. Pinned under a car…? Probably not very quick,” one person commented.
Another Redditor also exclaimed, “I know a powerful and resilient young man who accidentally flew his glider into power lines and survived. I think he would agree with you on that one.”
4. Losing Your Child and Wrongful Imprisonment
One user commented, “A dingo eating your baby, and you getting a prison sentence for it because no one believes you.”
Another user replied, “Also, the case of that mother recently, but it turns out they had a rare disease that looked like she had poisoned them.”
One commenter added, “His explanation ‘dingo’ over well with the jury.”
“Her. It was a woman who was jailed. It’s a real Australian case,” another person added.
5. Being Eaten
One Redditor added to the thread, “Being skinned alive.”
“Being eaten alive by a bear because they can. Lions and tigers will at least make it quick to the jugular,” replied another user.
One commenter added, “Hyenas will hold you down and eat your [butt] end first. Can’t imagine how anything could be much worse.”
6. Dog Bite
One Redditor commented, “I’ve had toothaches—pulled my tooth once. I’ve been burned and splattered with hot grease. I’ve broken bones and had a road rash. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. But hands down, the most painful thing I have ever experienced is Dog Bite. It was the most excruciating pain I have ever felt. The massive compression combined with [breaking the bones in my hand]. Just when you think it might be over, [and the dog uses] its whole body to gain leverage… I had never screamed in my life until a pit bit my hand. I didn’t even recognize my own voice. It was the most guttural terrifying scream I had ever heard, and I couldn’t believe it came from me. Lol, Pray to god you never get bit by a really aggressive dog.
“Edit: (spelling) If you do get attacked, don’t scream it makes them even angrier.”
Another user asked, “What should one do in this scenario? Fight back? Punch the dog? Kick it?”
One user answered, “If your arm is being bitten by a dog, pressure your arm into the dog’s mouth instead of trying to rip your arm out. It puts the dog at a disadvantage because you’re applying pressure in a way they can’t counter very easily. Otherwise, yelp and try to hit their sensitive areas. Otherwise, refer yourself to these tips.”
“I’d like to add to that—if you force enough arm into the dog’s mouth to make him hyperextend his jaw, he will die. So if an aggressive dog is biting you, hyperextend his jaw. He will stop biting you,” another user shared.
7. Bullet Ants
One user posted, “According to science, and maybe this is in the comments, but I can’t believe I haven’t seen it yet… Bullet Ants. Neurotoxins cause pain several magnitudes beyond what you can experience via physical trauma…not to mention you would’ve passed out long ago had the pain derived from a physical source. Also, Irukandji jellyfish for the same reasons….”
Another user replied, “I came here, say bullet ants. I am allergic to painkillers and anesthesia. I have had all sorts of shit done, including getting my wisdom teeth pulled, and nothing is anywhere close to the bite of those f-ers.
“I don’t even know how to put into words how painful it was. It’s like your brain is causing pain, and basic functions are overwritten by pain. Even thinking about it makes me feel on edge. It’s been 14 years since it happened.”
8. Losing a Child
One user shared, “Losing a child.”
Another user replied, “Can confirm. My daughter is a missing person, and even that hurts.”
One user added, “Late miscarriage/stillbirth… All the discomfort of pregnancy, the same childbirth pains, the same long recovery time, and permanent bodily changes… But no baby.”
“My early miscarriage was comparable to childbirth as well. I was writhing in pain. I had no idea what was going on, so I think that part made it worse. With childbirth, you pretty much know what to expect and have read techniques on managing,” commented another user.
Another user posted, “Pancreatitis.”
One user replied, “Scrolled for this, screamed like a banshee in the ER.”
“So few have had this. There are not many upvotes that cheer me up and simultaneously scare the shit out of me (not many Whipple procedures being successfully done out there/impossible to operate on organ.) So much pain. Thanks to alcoholism for me, but at least I’m sober now… (7 years baby!)” another Redditor added.
“Apparently gout,” one commenter shared.
Another user added, “Gout varies a lot. I’ve never given birth, but apparently, mothers with gout often say gout is worse. My first gout attack—yeah, that was some next-level pain. I passed out from it. I can believe that might have been worse than giving birth. One or two since have been very bad, but not that bad. But most… I mean, they suck, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t imagine they hurt more than dropping a sprog.”
Another user replied, “Gout flare-ups [are terrible], that’s for sure.”
11. Lung Cancer
One user added to the thread, “Waking up after lung cancer surgery where they removed parts of 3 ribs, some chest plates, and 30% of a lung. They had to give me crazy levels of morphine and ketamine round the clock for the best part of a week. Still on pain meds 6 years later.”
12. Testicular Torsion
One user shared, “There’s only one thing in the running: Testicular torsion. It’s when a testicle gets twisted—think like twisting an apple so that the stem comes out. Considered to be one of the most painful things people can experience.”
Another Redditor replied, “I had testicular torsion when I was 14. I woke up at around 3:00 am, and I was shaking and had a lot of trouble standing. I went to my parent’s room to wake them up, and we went to the emergency room. It felt like just pure weakness and inability to move because if you accidentally moved wrong, it was over. Maybe I suppressed the rest, but I just remember waking up after the surgery was done and feeling so much better. The thing I’m most scared of is pain, and that was one of the worst experiences I’ve had.”
One person commented, “My pop, mid-80s, had this last year. Ex-military, ex-athlete, and had lots of broken bones in his life, he said this was by FAR the worst pain he has ever had. Slept in a recliner for a few months. Mine is easier, did a farmer blow to clear my nose on a cold New Year’s ever in Colo as a 12-year-old? Both eardrums blew from the inside out the next day. Was deaf for 6 months. Doc gave me a note (deaf, after all), then stated I would never again experience this level of pain. The closest I have come since was sciatica. All that said, I ain’t a woman, so I obv cannot speak to the pain of pregnancy.”
13. Almond Wedged into the Root of a Tooth
“I will never know, but when I bit down on an almond, which cracked my tooth and wedged a sliver of almond down into the root, and I needed emergency tooth pulling, the woman who was assisting the dentist afterward told me that the pain I just went through for over an hour and a half was pain she had endured in almost the same fashion, and she said to me that it was worse for her than childbirth. I have no idea if she was just saying that to make me feel better, but I don’t wish that level and intensity and duration of pain on anyone, not even Donald Trump,” one commenter posted.
Another user replied, “Kindred souls, I guess (esp your last statement, haha). I came in after biting into a chicken strip of all things, but I can only describe the feeling as like someone shoving a razor blade into my gums. It shot a shock throughout my body. The dentist looking at it, said, ‘I don’t know if I’ve ever described a tooth as angry, but this tooth is angry.'”
14. Opioid Withdrawals
One person shared, “Opioid withdrawals.”
Another user replied, “This is an interesting reply. That’s probably a type of pain that’s hard for most people to conceptualize. The mental aspects of it must be crazy too.”
“I came up with it because I’ve been through it myself. Most women I’ve spoken to said they’d prefer childbirth over it. It’s awful,” one Redditor commented.
15. Broken Femur
One user posted, “Getting your femur broken.”
Another user replied, “I broke my lower leg playing baseball. It was like Moisés Alou’s leg break, except it was done by a kid attempting a take-out slide on me. I snapped my tibia and fibula and dislocated my ankle. My hospital roommate broke his femur dirt biking. He had to get surgery. I think the hospital staff put us in the same room to humor themselves. He couldn’t make it through the night. He was in so much pain. The nurse put him on an opiate drip. His cast also had to suck because it went all the way up to his hip and groin.”
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