Women are 1.38 times more likely to report neck pain as a result of cervical degenerative disc disease than men, says a study by the Loyola Medicine Pain Management Center.
The study was presented at the American Academy of Pain Medicine annual meeting by Meda Raghavendra, MD and Joseph Holtman, MD, PhD.
The study included 3,337 people, of which 133 patients had cervical degenerative disc disease who were treated at Loyola’s Pain Management Center. Over 60% of the study participants were female.
Cervical degenerative disc disease is a general term for the condition where damaged vertebral discs cause chronic pain. The pain may be in the low back, lumbar spine or in the neck and is a common cause of neck pain. Symptoms include a stiff neck, burning, tingling and numbness. Pain is most prevalent when the patient is upright or moving the head.
The study adds to a growing body of research comparing the experience of pain between men and women. Loyola stated that “previous studies have found that females are more likely to be treated at pain clinics for chronic pain and that certain painful conditions, such as migraine headaches and fibromyalgia, are more common in women. Various explanations have been proposed, including hormonal differences and the belief that men may be less willing to report pain.”
Drs. Raghavendra and Holtman conducted a similar study of patients who were treated low back pain, or lumbosacral degenerative disc disease. They found the prevalence in females was slightly higher than the prevalence in males, 12% compared to 11% respectively, but noted there was no statistically significant difference.
The authors of the study wrote, “While females present more than males (3:2) to academic center pain clinic with all conditions, the prevalence of cervical DDD is 4%. Females are 1.38 times more likely to have cervical DDD. Among patients with cervical DDD, males are three times more likely to have obesity.”
The study, Gender Differences in the Prevalence of Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease can be found here: https://www.painmed.org/2016posters/abstract-186/