Sickle Cell Disease | Complications

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What is a sickle cell crisis?

A sickle cell crisis happens when sickled red blood cells block small blood vessels that carry blood to your bones. This causes pain that can begin suddenly and last several hours to several days. You might have pain in your back, knees, legs, arms, chest or stomach. The pain can be throbbing, sharp, dull or stabbing. How often and how bad the pain gets varies a lot from person to person and from crisis to crisis.

You might be able to treat your pain crisis at home with medicines that you take by mouth. If these medicines don't control your pain, or if you can't keep fluids down, you might need to be treated in the emergency department. If your pain still isn't controlled or you have other problems, you might need to be treated in the hospital.

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Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 01/11
Created: 09/90

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