How and Why Men and Women Experience Pain Differently

Many things are similar in men and women. Both women and men have blood, for example, and they share fundamental anatomical components, such as brains, skeletons, and vital organs. However, research shows that men and women can experience one common component of the human experience very differently: pain.

In this blog, the pain management specialists at Valley Pain Centers explain the process of pain and why men and women may experience it differently in some cases.

The pain experience

Research shows that there are differences in the pain experience between men and women. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of the adult American population experiences chronic pain, but instead of a 50-50 split, 56% are women and 44% are men.

The reason for this difference may have to do with how pain is reported in the body. Researchers believe that there are many chemical pathways that contribute to pain reporting. And they also believe that women and men, at times, use different pathways to report pain.

Despite these differences, there are overlaps, so pain responses aren’t always dictated by gender. However, these tendencies suggest that the future of pain management may include therapies that use drugs based on gender, genetics, anatomical development, and hormone levels.

The importance of pain memory

One theory about chronic pain suggests that men and women may experience chronic pain differently because their bodies may “remember” pain differently. For example, a man and a woman could suffer pain from a ruptured disc, and the man could feel the pain leave as the injury heals, but the woman could continue to feel pain even after healing. The reason could be because men and women, at times, experience different pain paths.  

Traditionally, men formed the study groups for pain research, since the nervous system seemed common between the sexes. Researchers avoided using women to prevent unknown or unexpected side effects on future pregnancies. However, these discoveries point to the need for expanded pain research.

Getting to the root of your pain

If you’re suffering from a painful condition, we can help. As pain management specialists, we stay up to date on the latest advances in pain-reducing techniques and procedures. We treat a number of conditions, including:

No matter what’s ailing you, we can give you a thorough exam and get to the root of your pain. Treatment will depend on what's causing your pain, but we may suggest stem cell therapy, platelet-rich plasma therapy, or a number of other advanced treatments.

At Valley Pain Centers, with three convenient Arizona locations in Phoenix, Peoria, and Scottsdale, you are never a number. Your consultation, examination, and treatment are always administered by a highly qualified physician. When it comes to any pain condition, we have several experienced physicians who can help you, including Toure Knighton, MD, Dinesh Chinthagada, MD, Jin Yuk, MD, Patricia Henthorn, DC, and Jon Tanner, DC. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.

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