When It Comes to Pain, America Is Number One
According to a research paper recently published in The National Bureau of Economic Research, people in the United States perceive and report pain differently than in other countries. The paper, called “Unhappiness and Pain in Modern America,” explores our approach to pain in the U.S. – as patients and as health care providers.
It features the following question from a 2011 survey involving people from 30 different countries:
During the past four weeks, how often have you had body aches or pains – Never, seldom, sometimes, often, or very often?
In response to that question, about 34 percent of Americans answered “often” or “very often” – more than in any other country, even less developed nations like Bulgaria, South Africa, and others.
Researchers presented three theories for this. First is the high obesity rate in the U.S. Second is the high use of prescription pain relievers. And third is the growing rate of unhappiness, depression, and anxiety, especially among working-class Americans.