Australians Lead Global Pain Survey

By Pat Anson, Editor

Australians have more aches and pains than anyone else in the world, but are least likely to complain about it.

Germans say their pain stings, the Chinese have a dull pain, in Japan it throbs, and the Poles say they’re numb from it.

And the Italians? Those Latin lovers are least likely to let pain interfere with their sex lives.

Those are some of the odder facts that emerged from a consumer research survey of 7,000 people in 14 countries conducted by GlaxcoSmithKline (GSK), a British pharmaceutical company.

The so-called Global Pain Index found that overall body pain – defined as aches in your muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints – truly knows no borders and is widespread throughout the world, but it affects people differently depending on where they live.

The survey found that Australians (97%) are most likely to report pain, followed by Russia (95%), China (94%), the UK (93%) and the United States (90%).

Swedes and Germans (88%) are least likely to feel pain.

The Chinese are most likely to complain about their pain (71%), followed by Mexicans (69%), Brazilians (57%) and Italians (55%). Only about a third of Australians complain about their pain.

People in the UK are most likely to see pain as just another part of life, even though it affects them negatively in a variety of ways. Over half (55%) say they cannot have sex because of body pain, two-thirds say it disrupts their social life, and 62% say pain has hurt their work performance.

Only about half (53%) the people in the UK know what is causing their pain.  

“Many people in the UK are taking the attitude that body pain is something you can ignore and hope it goes away, but this approach isn’t working. The findings of the GSK Global Pain Index have shown us that the UK is one of the countries where most people report feeling pain, but it also illustrates that we need a better understanding of our pain and how to treat it,” says Dr. Sarah Davis, a general practitioner in London.

“Pain is hurting every aspect of our lives in the UK, stopping people from enjoying time with friends and family, from enjoying the hobbies and sports they enjoy and hurting their prospects at work.”

The survey was conducted by the research firm Edelman Berland from November 2014 through January 2015 in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, UK and the United States.