Are you a woman with chronic pain?
Do you feel you are treated differently by doctors because you are a woman?
Do you feel doctors take your pain less seriously because you are a woman?
Those are some of questions National Pain Report is asking in our latest online survey, which can be found here. We’ve partnered with the Los Angeles-based non-profit For Grace to better assess and document the issues faced by women in chronic pain.
Studies have shown that women suffer disproportionally from chronic pain and are more sensitive to pain than men, but also tend to be undertreated.
“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, an organization devoted to promoting better care and wellness for women in pain.
“We are proud to be partnering with the National Pain Report on this critical survey to place women in pain in the spotlight and to provide them a platform to share their stories with the media,” said Toussaint, who has lived with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome for over 30 years.
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.
The link between childhood trauma and chronic pain is a controversial one. Many women resent being told by physicians that there may be a connection because it suggests their pain is “all in their head.”
“Multiple studies across independent research groups shows that experiencing childhood trauma or abuse is a major risk factor for acquiring chronic pain later in life,” said Beth Darnall, PhD, a pain psychologist and author of Less Pain, Fewer Pills. “The experience of major stress can lead to changes in the immune and nervous systems, and these can create a vulnerability to develop pain later following a physical injury or emotional trauma, such as a car accident or surgery.
Trauma and abuse are also linked to depression, which in turn is a predictor for the development of chronic pain. Scientifically, there is no debate about whether trauma and abuse associate with chronic pain — they do. However, we cannot say that trauma and abuse cause chronic pain because causal studies do not exist.”
Results from the Women in Pain survey will be presented at For Grace’s 7th Annual Women in Pain Conference in Los Angeles on September 12th and on the National Pain Report.
In previous online surveys we asked readers how they are treated by their healthcare providers and to rate the effectiveness of fibromyalgia drugs.
While we appreciate feedback from everyone, for the Women in Pain survey we are only interested in responses from women.
If you would like to take the survey, click here.