People who feel excess pain when travelling over a speed bump could be suffering from appendicitis, research suggests.
Asking patients about whether their pain worsens while moving over the traffic-calming devices could help doctors diagnose the condition, the researchers said.
Diagnosing the painful swelling of the appendix can be "challenging" for medics but it is the most common surgical abdominal emergency.
Appendicitis is a medical emergency that usually requires urgent surgery to remove the appendix. 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 earlier this year - 64 of whom travelled over speed bumps en route to hospital.
Patients were classed as "speed bump positive" if their pain worsened while travelling over speed bumps or "speed bump negative" if they did not.
Researchers said that 54 patients were "speed bump positive" and of those, 34 had a confirmed diagnosis of appendicitis.
The study, published in the BMJ Christmas edition, showed that 97% (33) of appendicitis patients suffered worse pain when travelling over the bumps.
The researchers conclude that an increase in pain over speed bumps is associated with an increased likelihood of acute appendicitis.
"It may sound odd, but asking patients whether their pain worsened going over speed bumps on their way in to hospital could help doctors in a diagnosis," said Researcher Dr Helen Ashdown, of the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford.
"It turns out to be as good as many other ways of assessing people with suspected appendicitis."Suggest a correction