Why Women are More Prone to Chronic Pain

Dec 08, 2023
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Chronic pain can affect anyone, but it tends to happen a lot more often among women. Here’s why researchers say that is and what we can do to help you find relief.

More than 20% of Americans suffer from chronic pain lasting three months or longer, according to data from the CDC — and most of them are women. Unfortunately, until recently, little research was focused on this difference, leaving women with fewer treatment options and a general misunderstanding of their symptoms.

Our team takes pain seriously at Advanced Spine and Pain Center in San Antonio, Texas, offering compassionate, comprehensive therapies for chronic pain management in both women and men. In this post, learn why chronic pain tends to happen more frequently among women and what we can do to help.

Chronic pain and women

While researchers know women experience chronic pain at higher rates than men, they still don’t fully understand what causes the differences. In many types of chronic pain, multiple factors probably play a role. 

In part, gender differences can be explained by the fact that women are more likely to experience some of the most common causes of chronic pain. For instance, women are far more likely than men to have:

Postmenopausal women are extremely prone to osteoporosis (literally, “porous bones”), a common cause of spine-related pain in aging.

Hormones likely also play a role. Data show hormone therapy during male-to-female reassignment is associated with increases in headaches and musculoskeletal pain, underscoring a probable role for estrogen in many types of chronic pain among women. 

Differences in brain chemistry, how the brain processes and interprets pain may be involved, and physical differences in muscle mass or bone density.

Treating chronic pain

Chronic pain tends to worsen without treatment, and even mild symptoms should never be ignored. Without treatment, your symptoms can gradually affect your emotional health and physical wellness, taking a major toll on your overall quality of life.

Our team is skilled in multiple techniques for managing chronic pain. Before recommending any therapy, we review your symptoms and medical history, perform a physical exam, and recommend lab tests and diagnostic imaging as needed.

Depending on your needs, we may recommend therapies like:

  • Medications to relieve inflammation and mitigate pain
  • Physical therapy
  • Joint injections
  • Nerve blocks
  • Nerve decompression
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Epidural injections

These therapies can be used singly or in combination. 

Many of the treatments on this list work best when combined with physical therapy and  lifestyle interventions, like:

  • Sleep therapy
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Relaxation training, 
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction

 In addition to relieving your pain symptoms, a custom pain management program can help you improve your ability to cope with your symptoms, relieve stress, and support natural healing for long-term benefits. 

Lasting relief for your chronic pain

Don’t let chronic pain define or control your life. To learn how we can help you control your symptoms, call 210-690-0777 or book an appointment online with the Advanced Spine and Pain Center team today.