New Study Shows Not Having Enough Money Can Result in Physical Pain

New Study Shows Not Having Enough Money Can Result in Physical Pain

Not enough cash at the end of the month to pay the bills? Experiencing physical pain? Studies show that the two conditions might be linked.

Researchers from the University of Virginia and Columbia University conducted six experiments to find out exactly what happens to the body when the mind has to deal with the stress of not having enough funds.


Across six studies that measured various elements it was found that unemployed people were more likely to purchase painkillers than those with a job, people being told the economy was going downhill had a lower pain tolerance, and that those individuals living in areas with lower economic prospects in general experienced more pain in life.

A lack of control was linked to increased worry and pain. To be specific, thinking about economic instability was said to cause head, stomach and chest pain.

“Overall, our findings reveal that it physically hurts to be economically insecure,” lead study author Eileen Chou said, according to Psychological Science. “Results from six studies establish that economic insecurity produces physical pain, reduces pain tolerance, and predicts over-the-counter painkiller consumption.”


But exactly how are money problems are causing these symptoms?

When looking at the stomach, according to, scientists have many different theories about how it all works. Many believe that anxiety causes changes to happen in neurotransmitter function, in particular, serotonin.

When the body and mind is experiencing anxiety, serotonin receptors in the gut are receiving chemicals telling the stomach to create a feeling of nausea.

Chest pain linked to economic troubles could be similar to that caused by panic attacks, and headaches from clenching of the jaw.

But it’s hard to say, conclusively. All that is known now is that, when you’re feeling stressed about that car payment, it may not all be in your head.



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