The National Pain Report is conducting a reader’s survey on the issues faced by women in pain, and the response is encouraging. So far, over 2,000 women have taken the survey — which explores a variety of topics on how women are diagnosed and treated for chronic pain.
Here’s a link to the survey. If you haven’t taken it yet (and you’re a woman), we’d love to get your opinion.
Some of the survey questions are personal in nature — dealing with issues like menopause, menstrual cycles and childhood trauma — but all of the answers will be collected anonymously and will be kept confidential. We do not share names or email addresses with anyone without your permission.
“Our reporting on this topic indicated that gender issues are a major concern for chronic pain patients, particularly women,” said Pat Anson, who is editor of the National Pain Report.
The results of the survey will be released at the annual meeting of For Grace, a non-profit organization that is devoted to promoting better care and wellness for women in pain. The meeting is set for Los Angeles on September 12th.
“In the U.S. and across the globe, women are second-class citizens, and as such, our chronic pain is often undertreated or worse, dismissed. One way to reverse this troubling trend is through awareness and information gathering,” said Cynthia Toussaint, a pain sufferer, patient advocate and founder of For Grace.
Is there a gender bias in health care? One of our columnists, Arlene Grau explored that topic in a recent column. Columnist Carol Levy also wrote about some of the myths and stereotypes faced by women as they seek treatment for pain.
The National Pain Report began the Women in Pain survey on August 11 and not only has it prompted hundreds of women to fill it out, it also spawned many personal stories from readers.
“I have chronic pain. My symptoms began close to ten years ago and continue to escalate,” wrote one woman. “The only one to take me seriously for years was my podiatrist. Now that I am post 55 and having a variety of medical conditions finally presenting themselves with much more severity, they are finally beginning to pay attention. But I still do not have answers and very little treatment.”
“I am a chronic migraineur. My headaches started when I was 14 years old, now I am 44. Nobody ever really understood my pain,” wrote another reader. “I’m so sick of being a chronic ill woman. There’s no cure for migraines yet, but I refuse to give up. I’m hoping there’s a cure one day. People look at me like I’m crazy, yet they do not know how I feel on the inside. I wish someone had the answer to my migraines.”
The Women in Pain survey is the third that the National Pain Report has conducted online. Our survey on fibromyalgia attracted over 1,300 responses. Here are the results.
We also asked pain sufferers how they were treated by the healthcare system. The vast majority — 82% — said they had stopped seeing a doctor because they were “treated poorly.” Here are the results of that survey.
We’re also getting lots of feedback about the DEA’s decision to reschedule hydrocodone, which will make it harder for pain patients to get Vicodin and other hydrocodone combination drugs.
“We will continue to communicate with our readers through surveys and other methods,” said Anson. “We learn something each time we do that.”