Less Income, More Pain?
Survey Shows Income and Education Are Factors in Your Pain Rating
WebMD News Archive
May 1, 2008 -- If you think about your body right now, do you feel any pain?
If so, you are apparently not alone.
A new study shows that more than a quarter of people interviewed said they
felt some pain in a 24-hour period starting the day before.
Researchers interviewed 3,982 people about their activities during this time
period. Then they randomly selected three 15-minute nonsleeping time periods
and asked the participants what they were feeling with the previously reported
activities during those time periods.
Examples of reported activities were gardening, playing sports, or caring
for children. The researchers did not ask about duration of pain, cause of
pain, or location of pain.
Twenty-nine percent of men and 27% of women reported feeling some pain at
the sampled times.
The participants were asked about six feelings: happiness, pain, being
tired, sadness, stressed, and interested. They were also asked to rate the
severity of the feeling on a scale from 0 to 6.
Here are some of the key findings:
- The less education and income a person had, the greater the pain rating
they reported. People without a high school diploma had twice the average pain
rating of college graduates.
- Those with an income below $30,000 a year had nearly twice the average pain
rating of those who made $100,000 or more a year.
- The average pain rating increased with age, although it reached a plateau
between ages 45 to 75, with little difference between women and men.
- People reported more pain as they entered their mid-70s.
The researchers say while we do know more about pain caused by conditions
such as arthritis, back injury, and chronic pain, we really know
very little about other types of daily pain.
In the U.S., people spent more than $2.5 billion on over-the-counter pain medications within the year ending in March 2007. In
2004, Americans spent nearly $14 billion on outpatient prescription pain
Researchers hope that finding out more about the nature and severity of pain
can help lead to better medical treatments and a greater understanding of why
people seek medical care. The research is published in the May 3 edition of