- Posted by admin
- On December 30, 2010
- chronic pain, pain management, pain treatment
It is now widely believed that pain affects men and women differently. While the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone certainly play a role in this phenomenon, psychology and culture, too, may account at least in part for differences in how men and women receive pain signals. For example, young children may learn to respond to pain based on how they are treated when they experience pain. Some children may be cuddled and comforted, while others may be encouraged to tough it out and to dismiss their pain. Many investigators are turning their attention to the study of gender differences and pain. Women, many experts now agree, recover more quickly from pain, seek help more quickly for their pain, and are less likely to allow pain to control their lives. They also are more likely to marshal a variety of resources-coping skills, support, and distraction-with which to deal with their pain. Research in this area is yielding fascinating results. For example, male experimental animals injected with estrogen, a female sex hormone, appear to have a lower tolerance for pain-that is, the addition of estrogen appears to lower the pain threshold. Similarly, the presence of testosterone, a male hormone, appears to elevate tolerance for pain in female mice: the animals are simply able to withstand pain better. Female mice deprived of estrogen during experiments react to stress similarly to male animals. Estrogen, therefore, may act as a sort of pain switch, turning on the ability to recognize pain. Investigators know that males and females both have strong natural pain-killing systems, but these systems operate differently. Continued research may result in a better understanding of how pain affects women differently from men, enabling new and better pain medications to be designed with gender in mind. Pain in aging and pediatric populations: special needs and concerns. Pain is the number one complaint of older Americans, and one in five older Americans takes a painkiller regularly. More serious chronic pain conditions may require opioid drugs (narcotics), including codeine or morphine, for relief of pain. Pain in younger patients also requires special attention, particularly because young children are not always able to describe the degree of pain they are experiencing. Although treating pain in pediatric patients poses a special challenge to physicians and parents alike, pediatric patients should never be undertreated. Recently, special tools for measuring pain in children have been developed that, when combined with cues used by parents, help physicians select the most effective treatments. Nonsteroidal agents, and especially acetaminophen, are most often prescribed for control of pain in children. In the case of severe pain or pain following surgery, acetaminophen may be combined with codeine.
If you are experiencing chronic pain, be sure to have the professionals at AZ Pain Centers help. We treat thousands of patients who suffer from various chronic pain conditions and can help you too! Give us a call 623-889-PAIN.