Why More Women Than Men?

Almost two-thirds of both acute and chronic pain victims treated at my facility are women. This is a common statistic noted at other modern diagnostic centers located in other states.

Many reasons are given for this phenomena, and any one or more of these may be true. Women are biologically structured differently than men; in addition, oncologists often refer to the variation in women’s emotional profiles.

However, beyond the scientific studies, I am of the opinion that our modern culture places more demands upon our womenfolk, resulting in more inherent stress. It is this increased stress factor that acts as an “enabler” increasing the amount of pain in women’s chronic pain profile.

In today’s society, women are not only the primary focus responsible for the success of the family unit, but in many cases also provide a second income for that family. Thus, besides dealing with issues at the work place, women are also responsible for the endless list of mundane family chores from laundry to meals to Little League to PTA meetings to, most importantly, supplying the emotional stability pivotal for the whole family unit.

All of the above is expected to be provided by women seamlessly and without complaint. On the other hand, generally women are not usually given the emotional outlets which men often take for granted (i.e., watching sports events with a cold beer in hand, golfing, nights out with the “boys”, poker night, dirt-biking forays, etc.).

Consequently, women are often functioning closer to the edge of their emotional limits. When chronic daily pain enters this equation, they are usually more devastated and certainly more frustrated as they see their many responsibilities challenged and ultimately adversely affected by this all-pervasive entity. Dysfunction is more pronounced and aggravated as the chronic pain persists unresolved and without reason. Worse yet, the woman suffering from chronic pain must bear witness to the debilitating toll this has on not only her whole existence but on that of all of her family.

This is just a thumbnail sketch of the underlying female psyche as it responds to chronic pain. Add to this equation the responsibilities of single parenting and other such everyday problems and other medical burdens unique to some women and the ensuant consequences are exponentially increased.