PEOPLE who feel excess pain when travelling over a speed bump could be suffering from appendicitis.
Asking patients about whether their pain worsens while moving over the traffic-calming devices could help doctors diagnose the condition, researchers said.
Recognising the painful swelling of the appendix can be "challenging", but it is the most common surgical abdominal emergency.
Appendicitis usually requires urgent surgery. If left untreated, the appendix can burst and cause potentially life-threatening infections.
Researchers from the University of Oxford and Stoke Mandeville Hospital quizzed 101 patients who were referred to hospital for suspected appendicitis -- 64 of whom travelled over speed bumps en route to hospital.
Patients were classed as "speed-bump positive" if their pain worsened while travelling or "speed bump negative" if they did not.
Researchers said that 54 patients were "speed bump positive" and of those, 34 had a diagnosis of appendicitis.
The study, published in the BMJ Christmas edition, showed that 97pc (33) of appendicitis patients suffered worse pain when travelling over the bumps.