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Frequent episodes of painful crisis are a major recurring symptom of Sickle Cell Disorder. The main feature is pain of abrupt or gradual onset, with or without a history of what triggers it. The bones are mostly involved, and they become mildly to extremely painful anywhere in the body but most frequently around the joint areas of the long bones, ribs and spine.

If they become swollen and/or tender, please suspect and treat as acute osteomyelitis, in order to prevent progression.

Less frequently pain crisis occur also in non-bone tissues such as the abdomen, the breasts etc.

Triggers of painful crises can include physical/ emotional stress or exertion, infection, dehydration, cold, wet or hot weather and others such as, menstruation, or the consumption of certain foods, beverages or drugs.

A SCD warrior can be free from pain crisis for a long period, and can begin to experience frequent severe crises for no identifiable reason.


When pain is initially felt, patient should:

1. Apply hot fomentation e. g. with hot moist towel soaked in hot water and place repeatedly on affected parts.

2. Apply Gel (e.g. Diclofenac, Piroxican or Ibuprofen gel) to the painful spot and area.

3. Swallow with water, appropriate dose of analgesic after meal (NSAID). Understanding analgesics that are effective for you is imperative.

4. If the pain continues and becomes more severe, then consult your doctor

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