People in Poor Neighborhoods Have More Pain, Study Finds

THURSDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- Adults under the age of 50 who live in low-income neighborhoods experience more chronic pain than those in more affluent communities, new research finds.

Blacks, however, experienced more chronic pain and disability than whites regardless of where they lived, according to the researchers from the University of Michigan.

The study, published in a recent issue of The Journal of Pain, included more than 3,700 adults under age 50. Men and women who lived in poorer neighborhoods had more pain, pain-related disability and mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, the investigators found.

The link between pain and the economic status of a neighborhood was especially strong among young black Americans, the study authors pointed out.

"Our findings show an unequal burden of pain in blacks and among those living in poor neighborhoods among the 116 million adults who experience chronic pain," lead study author Dr. Carmen Green, a pain medicine expert at the University of Michigan Health System, said in a university news release.

Reasons for the disparities may include barriers to good health care, including adequate pain management, the researchers suggested.

-- Alan Mozes

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SOURCE: University of Michigan, news release, March 1, 2012