All pain is not the same: Psychologist discusses gender differences in chronic pain
Treating both physical and mental symptons is best, she says
SAN DIEGO – Women experience chronic pain longer, more intensely and more often than men, according to a psychologist who works with both men and women dealing with diseases and conditions that leave them suffering.
"Chronic pain affects a higher proportion of women than men around the world," said Jennifer Kelly, PhD, of the Atlanta Center for Behavioral Medicine. "We need to encourage women to take a more active role in their treatment and reduce the stigma and embarrassment of this problem."
Speaking Thursday at the 118th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Kelly said the latest research offers interesting insights into how physicians and mental health providers can better treat women with chronic pain.
Pain is considered chronic when it lasts six months or longer and most medical treatment options have been exhausted. Chronic pain conditions that are more prevalent in women than in men include fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and migraines, said Kelly, referencing the International Association for the Study of Pain’s 2007-2008 report on pain in women.