People Share Their ‘Most Painful Moments’—Both Physical And Emotional (20 Stories)

Pain is a part of the human experience. As humans, we deal with all kinds of hurt as we move through life. There’s emotional pain, like having your heart broken or experiencing the death of someone you love. There’s also physical pain from illnesses and injuries or even stubbing your toe. Being alive comes with pain, it’s just unavoidable.

In a recent Reddit thread, people are opening up and sharing their most painful moments.

The conversation started after one user asked the question:

“What was the most painful moment of your life?”

The answers include dealing with kidney stones, cancer, cheating spouses, and other painful experiences.

Here are 20 of the most painful experiences, according to Reddit users.

Please keep in mind, some of these responses are pretty heavy.

1. Sneezing after surgery

Sneezing after corrective thoracic surgery with fluid in my lungs. Everything went dark for a second. After that, I could suddenly suppress sneezes (most of the time).


2. Cancer diagnosis

Being diagnosed with cancer twice.

For anyone wondering I was diagnosed with stage 2A Nodular Sclerosis Hodgkin’s Lymphoma both times. I am and have been in remission for about 5 months.

For anyone fighting KEEP FIGHTING!


3. MRI prep

My max pain was when being fitted with a metal halo for a brain MRI. The 4 screws on the halo had to actually contact my skull bones and poke slightly into them. The staff first injected liberal amounts of Novocain into the 4 locations, then quickly tightened the screws. Even with the Novocain, the pain of having screws inserted directly into skull bones was excruciating. It softened after about 15 seconds later as the drugs took effect, but that first 15 seconds is quite memorable.


4. Losing a friend

When I was in my early twenties, my best friend committed suicide. I couldn’t even sit inside at her funeral because I was crying too hard and loudly. It’s been twenty years, and I still think about her a lot and get triggered at random things that remind me of her.


5. Catheter

Had a catheter inserted into my calf to suck out blood clots, I had to be mostly coherent in case the doctor needed me to respond to him. My heart rate went from about 65bpm to 140bpm when he was inserting it… I never want to experience that kind of pain ever again.


6. A serious trip and fall…

I fell over at a Turkish waterpark, knocking my 2 front teeth clean out of my mouth. For the next 20mins they shoved a hose in my face to wash the constant bleeding.

The teeth are probably still in the pool today.


7. Infected tooth

Couldn’t sleep the pain was so intense. They were going to give me a root canal. However,they couldn’t get it numb…from the outside. The dentist proceeded to drill my infected throbbing tooth while two assistants pinned my shoulders, then injected Novocain directly into the fucking root. It was the most intense pain followed by the most blissful release of endorphins once the numbness kicked it. I laughed with tears streaming from my eyes for a good 10 minutes once I was numb. Oh, and this happened on my birthday.


8. Tooth rot

Wisdom tooth rot. Coupled with some kind of nerve pain. Plus for the removal, the doc said I needed antibiotics for 3-4 days to remove the infection before he could do the surgery.

My experience with pain isn’t a lot. But I’ve had dislocated shoulders, elbows, had a broken ankle, 3-4 times terrible gastro pain. And i dealt with them fine enough. No biggie.

But persistent tooth nerve pain was, holy shit, like nothing I’ve ever experienced ever. As a 30 year old dude, all i could do was just lie face down on my pillow and cry.


9. Catching a cheating wife

I caught my wife in an affair and it totally broke me, but the worst part was when I found out that the affair was longer than our marriage and that none of the children were mine. Just kinda woke up one day and found out my entire adult life was a lie. She settled down with him in a nice little house they bought while she was still married to me. He dumped her because he couldn’t deal with the kids.


10. This horrible sequence of events

Finding my husband in bed, doing the deed with my friend. He left me for her.

His death in a car crash 6 months later, leaving my 3 kids (all under 8 years old) without a father.

Having to deal with her grief at the funeral.

Being abandoned by his family while they supported her emotionally and financially while my kids had no help from them.


11. Losing a dad

My father passed a few months ago from esophageal cancer as well. The most gut-wrenching feeling in my life was hearing he only had a week to live and should go home from the hospital to enjoy the rest of his time in the comfort of his own home. Esophageal cancer is terrible and the lack of outside symptoms is shocking. 


12. Kidney stone

[If you ever get one,] please for the love of all that is holy get it either passed or blasted before it becomes the worst experience of your life.


13. Biliary colic 

From 2018 to 2020 i had seven biliary colics. 2-3 hours pure pain nonstop. No way to stop it. Lying on the ground like a poor worm. Couldn’t even cry cause It was so painful every time.


14. “Hearing my mom’s wailing…”

…when she found my sister dead in my basement

Edit: I should’ve been clearer, my basement is my families basement. My sisters and I lived with my parents. She od’d in her bed. Also thank you, everyone, for your condolences.


15. Ruptured cyst

I have cysts on my ovaries (PCOS), and once when I was in high school, one of them ruptured on the bus ride home.

Literally the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. I couldn’t sit, but I also couldn’t stand properly and had to kneel in this weird crouching position on the bus until we finally reached my stop. I was in so much pain that I was throwing up when my dad drove me to the hospital, and once I got there I could barely function. I had to walk down a long hallway to the emergency room, sweating, in pain, and barely able to stand. I’m surprised I didn’t pass out.


16. Torn ACL

Tore my ACL. Due to the adrenaline I didn’t quite feel it, I felt something is wrong but with the ice spray I felt like I can play. Went back in, first pass I got I felt a “snap”. Completely blew out my knee, Miniscus and everything.


17. Abandonment

When I was 10 my Mom basically ran away from home and started another family. I’ll be 40 soon and it still hurts. I haven’t seen her or talked to her in almost 20 years.


18. Infected toenail

Had an infected ingrown toenail. I know I should have had it checked out sooner but here we are. Went in to have it removed. The injection to numb the area went straight in at the tow knuckle. They had to repeat it a couple of times because infection counteracts anesthesia apparently. That hurt like a mofo.


19. Not getting the surprise party…

This is more of a mental hurt. When I was in college I lived in a “suite” there were six of us all together, and we had a habit of doing surprise parties for everyone on their birthday. I was pumped because I never had one and always wanted one. My birthday is in June which I understand is an issue but I wouldn’t have minded an early one. I asked my friend if they would be doing one for me, and I was told we didnt have time for mine. Two days later they did one for someone else in the suite. I was so hurt that they didn’t care about me at all. I regretted everything I had ever done for them.


20. Migraines

It’s like a unstoppable force that is physically breaking your mind from the inside out.