Study: Blacks in Poor Areas Experience More Chronic Pain and Disability

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A recent study from the University of Michigan found that people in low income areas who are under age 50 experience more chronic pain than those who reside in more affluent neighborhoods.

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However researchers also concluded that Black people, regardless of where they live, tend to have more chronic pain and disabilities all across the board.

The study’s goal was to examine the role that race and socioeconomic status play in chronic pain.  The research was led by University of Michigan pain medicine specialist Dr. Carmen R. Green (pictured), a pain management expert and was published in The Journal of Pain.

Dr. Green and her team examined 3,700 men and women under age 50 who resided in blighted areas.  The scientists noticed that the subjects had more pronounced psychological disorders like mood-swings, depression and anxiety.  They also complained of heightened pain and related disabilities.  Among those who were young and Black she found that a link between pain and the economic status of a neighborhood was especially strong.

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“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,” says Dr. Green in a university release.

The external factors that can influence the differences in levels of pain can be attributed to an array of barriers.  Yet Dr. Green’s findings makes a case for doctors and how they should weigh their patients external conditions like environment when they consult with them about a treatment plan for their chronic pain.

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