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  • Writer's pictureDarla Guillen Gilthorpe

Better Life Spine & Pain Center spotlights chronic pain in women for International Women's Day

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Ladies, it's International Women's Day. The one day per year that spotlights everything we know every second of every other day, too: Female accomplishments are invaluable, inimitable and indispensable.

What you may also know is that in addition to successes, women also possess something that's not so favorable: they're more likely to contend with chronic pain than the general population.

Yes, women suffer from localized chronic pain, or LCP; and widespread chronic pain, WCP, at higher rates than men. And this is based on data that excludes pregnant women!

A study of nearly 15,000 people showed men suffer from LCP at a rate of 43.61% compared to 56.39% in women. The data is similar when it comes to WCP: 40.27% in men, 59.73% in women.

That's according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This program evaluates U.S. health statistics every two years for the National Center for Health Statistics. It's essentially an ongoing snapshot of how we're faring medically as a nation.

"It is still unclear what places women at a greater risk of chronic pain compared to men," the NHANES reported. In another study it concluded, "Women had higher odds than men for headache, abdominal pain, and chronic widespread pain."

While these findings aren't something to celebrate, they're necessary to discuss. In fact, that's one of the smart ways with which to battle pain: talk about your struggles and feelings with people who can relate. This can come in the form of community support groups, consider Pain Connection, the American Chronic Pain Association and the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association. These will help you remember that you are not alone. Far from it, you are one among many who can help yourself and others by sharing what you go through daily (bad and good).

Another important step: finding a pain-management doctor you can trust. Not all specialists are the same, and not all have a focus on improving your daily lifestyle without a heavy reliance on medications.

A good interventional pain physician will approach your condition with several arrows in their quiver: they'll offer more than one way to battle pain. For some that means a focus on procedures and minimally invasive surgeries (think spinal-cord stimulators, nerve burns, pain pumps, epidurals and more).

Other strategies include a combination of physical therapy, procedures and medication. A good pain doc will care enough to evaluate you thoroughly, patiently and determine a strong plan of action for you. Even if that means referring you to another specialist, since some severe cases might require a visit to a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon.

Whether or not you seek treatment with us at Better Life Spine & Pain Center, please do seek help in one form or another (or many). And be picky about who you visit for care. We care deeply for patients who suffer from pain not just our own and we hope for a better life for you.

-Darla Guillen Gilthorpe

Request an appointment at Better Life Spine & Pain Center:

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