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Not Having Enough Money Is Painful—Literally

Financial pain and physical pain may be linked: A new study says people who make less money and work in blue-collar jobs are more prone to be in pain.

Researchers report in the new issue of the British medical journal "The Lancet" that low-income folks have longer-lasting and more severe pain than those who are better educated and make more money.

The findings are based on random cold calls made to nearly 11,000 people who participated in the phone survey.

Pain is estimated to cost more than $60 billion a year in lost productivity. In a one-year period ending in March of 2007 Americans spent more than $2.6 billion on over-the-counter painkillers. And in 2004—the most recent year that data is available—people in the U.S. used nearly $14 billion worth of prescription pain relievers.

Also in 2004, Merck pulled one of the most popular painkillers, Vioxx, off the market.

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