New study finds financial insecurity produces physical pain
MATTHEW ALCOCK, CONTRIBUTOR
A medical research team is claiming that bleak financial situations produce physical pain. It’s a finding Red River College student Julian Auriti can relate to.
“A lot of my friends are students with no cash, and they complain about pain more than my grandparents,” said Auriti, 20.
The American research team first showed the link in 2008. They followed the pharmaceutical spending habits of 33,720 individuals and found that people who were unemployed spent around 20 per cent more on painkillers than those who were more financially secure.
The team then used an online survey to ask 187 unemployed participants about the physical pain they felt. Another survey asked people to think back to times of financial struggle and financial well-being. Both surveys concluded that the people thinking of stressful economical situations felt more pain.
In a separate study, the team had students dunk their hands into ice water. The team first told participants to think about having jobs in an unstable market. During the second dunk, participants thought about having jobs in a stable market. The participants were able to hold their hands in the freezing water longer when they were thinking of the stable job market.
While Science Alert believes their studies show that financial insecurity produces physical pain and reduces pain tolerance, a Winnipeg pulmonologist thinks otherwise.
“These studies don’t prove that claim,” said Dr. Vincent Taraska, who has worked as a medical specialist for over 47 years.
Taraska said all these studies prove is that these types of stressful situations make you more aware of pain, not cause it.
He compares the findings to when an athlete suffers a minor injury during a game. Sometimes a basketball player will sprain his ankle during play and continue running. He won’t feel pain because of the adrenaline caused by the situation he’s in, but as soon as he’s off the court, all he has to focus on is the pain, making it seem like it’s increasing. In reality, the athlete is just now noticing he’s in pain, explained Taraska.