Why holding cash can provide pain relief Pain buster: A survey suggests handling money can reduce physical discomfort Headache? Sore back? What you need is a wad of cash. Research suggests handling money can be an effective way of relieving pain, or even preventing it in the first place. Researchers found people who counted money before taking part in an experiment where they were subjected to low levels of pain felt less discomfort than those who did not. It is thought that fondling notes and coins helps ward off pain by boosting feelings of self-worth and self-sufficiency. Previous studies have shown those with a greater sense of self-worth are more likely to withstand pain. Britain spends £500million a year on over-the-counter painkillers and the figure is increasing every year. In the latest study, at the University of Minnesota, students were asked to count out a wad of cash consisting of 80 $100 bills, or just 80 slips of blank paper. They had been told researchers were simply testing their dexterity in handling the notes. They were then asked to dip their hands into a bowl of hot water, to see how painful they found it and how long they could last. The results, published in the journal Psychological Science, showed those who had handled money reported less pain.