Why Americans Experience More Pain Than People in Other Countries

And we don't just mean psychically.

By Kirk Miller

 
Pain
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20 December 2017

American is a country in pain.

And we don't just mean psychically.

According to “Unhappiness and Pain in Modern America,” a new paper published in the National Bureau of Economic Research, adult Americans suffers more physical discomfort than people in other nations.

Concurring with conclusions made in the recent book Happiness for All? by University of Maryland public-policy professor Carol Graham, the researchers at the NBER noted that “Americans appear to be in greater pain than citizens of other countries, and most sub-groups of citizens have downwardly trended happiness levels.” (The one silver lining? The happiness level of African Americans has increased since the 1970s.)

The pain index came about after a 2011 survey was asked people in over 30 countries, “How often [they] had bodily aches or pains [over the last four weeks]: Never; seldom; sometimes; often; or very often?” The highest percentage of people who responded that they experienced physical pain “often” or “very often” was in the U.S., at 34.1 percent (the worldwide average by was 20 percent).

The Atlantic presented three reasons for this discrepancy: Obesity (we are fat, people), the abundance of painkillers (looking at you, opioid crisis) and psychological factors like anxiety (that happens more often in the poor than the rich). Oh, and the influence of the Internet, which lets  instantly “diagnose” symptoms.

Possible solution? Move to Boulder, Colorado.

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