The Global Pain Index: an insight into the world of pain

Imagine a world where moving and operating day to day is free from body pain. A world in which jumping, twisting, lifting and stretching no longer results in aches and pains to muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.

Unfortunately this is still some way off, as everyday body pain continues to negatively impact many people’s quality of life.

The impact of body pain on sufferers and the people around them is the focus of a new in-depth study carried out by GSK Consumer Healthcare - the GSK Global Pain Index (GPI). This first-of-its-kind study reveals attitudes towards body pain around the world, as well as the variety of methods that sufferers use to treat their body pain, and aims to help people make informed decisions when seeking relief.

More than 88% of people in each country experience body pain

How was the study carried out?

Drawing on research from across four continents and 14 countries, the GPI aims to establish an index which looks at changes in pain around the world over time. The study factors in different elements of pain such as frequency and intensity, impact on self-esteem and impact on quality of life.

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The GPI rates the impact of pain around the world, with countries highlighted green being the least impacted and red the most.

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The impact of pain

As well as addressing the factual dimensions of pain, the GPI explores the emotional dimensions of people’s experience with pain, such as the anxiety linked to pain and the impact on quality of life. Key findings from the study showed that:

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The impact of body pain is not limited to physical discomfort, but presents a challenge for sufferers’ psychological well-being. The GPI further reveals that sufferers can be trapped in a ‘vicious circle of pain’. Not only is anxiety a result of pain, but for some, it can aggravate it. When pain is not holistically treated, people can be trapped in a cycle of emotional distress.

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A global perspective

Although pain affects people in all countries, the way it is perceived in each country can vary. The GPI has found that different countries have different perceptions of pain - from how they describe it to how they treat it and how it is perceived by society.

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When do people start treating their body pain?

In many countries, like China and Russia, pain is seen as a sign of weakness.


To find out more about the study, and ways to help with pain management visit:


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