The U.S. hurts, according to a survey of 3,982 Americans. In an attempt to understand daily aches, Alan B. Krueger of Princeton University and Arthur A. Stone of Stony Brook University asked respondents to rate their pain on a scale of 0 (none) to 6 (very strong) at three random intervals during the waking hours of every day. The study reveals that a “pain gap” exists: poorer, less educated people tend to suffer more than wealthier, more educated individuals. Not surprisingly, pain affects life satisfaction.

Percent of Americans in pain at any given time: 28

PERCENT OF THOSE IN PAIN WHO:

Earn less than $30,000: 34.2

Earn more than $100,000: 22.9

Did not finish high school: 33

Got a college degree: 20.2

Are not satisfied with life: 53.9

Average pain rating: 2.26

Are very satisfied with life: 22.4

Average pain rating: 0.66

AMOUNT SPENT ANNUALLY ON:

Nonprescription painkillers: $2.6 billion

Outpatient prescription painkillers: $13.8 billion

Productivity lost annually because of pain: $60 billion

SOURCE: Lancet, May 3, 2008