Chronic Pain Causes More Than 25% of Men and Women to Quit Jobs
Survey reveals impact of pain may differ by gender
Conn., Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 25 percent of men and women who
live with chronic pain report that this condition affected their decision
to quit their job, according to the "Gender Attitudes Toward Chronic
Pain" survey commissioned by Partners Against Pain(R) and the National
Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC). According to the National Institutes
of Health, pain costs Americans more than $100 billion each year in health
care costs and lost productivity. From quality of life issues to job performance
and security, pain is not only physically debilitating, but also emotionally
Chronic pain affects a variety of life situations for both women and men. The survey found that 51 percent of women with chronic pain would give up sex for one year to live pain-free (interestingly, only 32 percent of men would forgo sex for that benefit). Of the women who said they are willing to do without sex, almost 40 percent report that the intensity of their pain is "severe" and some 30 percent say that disease, rather than sports related injury or accident, is the primary cause of their pain.
The survey of more than 1,000 people revealed that women are more likely than men to experience severe pain, and do so on a more frequent basis. Despite the intensity and severity of their pain, many women remain undertreated, according to Christine Miaskowski, RN, PhD, Professor, Department of Physiological Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, and president-elect American Pain Society. "Men and women's chronic pain experiences can be attributed to the differences in their biology as well as to the perceptions and behaviors of health care professionals and a society that treats genders differently," said Dr. Miaskowski. "Women are at greater risk of experiencing chronic pain and are also more likely to receive inadequate pain treatment than men. In addition, men and women have different capacities for expressing and responding to pain."
"Studies indicate that because women are more likely to discuss their pain, they've developed better coping mechanisms to deal with pain, such as actively seeking support and treatment. Men, on the other hand, tend to "grin and bear it" and to delay seeking treatment, resorting to proactive pain relieving activities only when the pain is so severe that it interferes with their livelihood," explains Amy R. Niles, Executive Director, NWHRC.
Impact of Pain
When inadequately treated, pain can lead to depression, loss of function, increased time to heal and lost workdays. For families, this can have devastating effects since women often have multiple responsibilities, including caring for children and/or parents, household management and outside employment.
Partners Against Pain and the National Women's Health Resource Center commissioned the survey of 1,000 individuals (500 women with chronic pain and 500 men with chronic pain) to explore the key differences between men and women's perceptions of their pain.
Partners Against Pain is a public service program of Purdue Pharma intended to educate health care professionals and patients about appropriate pain management. For more information, visit the Partners Against Pain Web site at: www.partnersagainstpain.com.
The National Women's Health Resource Center is the nation's leading independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to educating women of all ages about health and wellness issues. Its programs include the award-winning newsletter, the "National Women's Health Report," public education campaigns, and its Web site, www.healthywomen.org. A special section of the site is devoted to pain management for women.
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