The 10 Most Painful Conditions. Doctors divulge the most excruciating illnesses. Ouch.

kidney stones

9. Kidney Stones

The pain from these itsy bitsy masses (which range in size from a grain of salt to a pearl) comes on fast and furious, with the back, lower abdomen, and groin area being in the greatest discomfort. Most of the time, doctors prescribe pain-killers and advise you to drink plenty of water and wait. Once you pee out the stone, the pain subsidies almost immediately. But don’t think you’re out of the woods yet: The doctor will probably suggest that you have the stone tested, because, depending on the type, changes in your diet may prevent the whole ordeal from happening again.

8. Chronic Lower-Back Pain

“Lower back pain is like death and taxes; everybody gets it at some point,” says out Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, chief of the division of pain medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. About 9 in 10 of those patients recover fairly quickly, he says, but for the remainder, the pain becomes chronic and life-altering. “The severity of the original injury and how prone you are to anxiety plays a role in whether your pain will persist,” he says. Physical therapy focused on core strengthening is one of the most effective treatments.

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