Back Pain: Does Gender Play a Role?

Everyone knows that men and women experience emotions and life differently. But, when it comes to back pain, is it possible gender plays a role too? There is much evidence to support that men and women experience pain differently. Back pain not only differs by gender in symptoms, but also in tendency. For example, in 2017, 15 percent of women reported experiencing back pain every day, in contrast to 11 percent of male respondents.

Of course, women are more prone to back pain than men at specific stages of their lives. Studies have found that between 50 to 70 percent of women will experience lower back pain while pregnant. Men, on the other hand, are not more prone to experience back pain due to a larger waist circumference. This is likely due to the isokinetic strength of men’s trunk muscles.

Continue reading to learn more about the role that gender plays on back pain.

Understanding Gender and Pain

Several studies have pointed out that women experience more severe levels of pain, more frequent pain, and pain for more extended periods than men. Even though chronic pain conditions are not exclusively associated with women, there is significant evidence to believe that women are suffering more from these conditions than men.

What’s the Difference?

To point out a sole difference between men and women in relation to pain is almost impossible currently. Researchers have found that women experience pain more profoundly, but they also seek out help faster than men, and women are even better at pain coping skills and recovering from pain.

However, investigators are finding a close relationship between hormones and pain. For example, when male animals are administered estrogen, a female hormone, they appeared to have a lower tolerance for pain. Similarly, the presence of testosterone, a male hormone, seemed to elevate pain tolerance in female animals.

But, this doesn’t mean hormones are the solution for back pain. This is because men and women’s systems function very differently from one another, and the way our bodies respond to these hormones is not equal. This is why approaches like chiropractic can provide both men and women with back pain relief without administering addictive substances, hormones, or other medications to trick the system to cope with the pain.

Common Causes for Back Pain in Males

Based on the concept that gender plays a role in back pain, let’s take a look at the common causes of back pain in both men and women. In males, back pain can be the result of:

  • Various health conditions
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Disc ruptures
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Kidney stones
  • Prostatitis
  • Physical job
  • Smoking

Common Causes for Back Pain in Women

For women, causes of back pain can vary widely. Women’s lifestyles change drastically with puberty, pregnancy, caring for kids, and menopause, which all change the way their bodies react to pain. Common causes for back pain in women include:

  • Herniated discs
  • Excess weight
  • Pregnancy
  • Mom duties
  • Poor posture
  • Mental and emotional pain
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Groin pain

Does Back Pain Treatment Vary by Gender?

What’s most surprising is that the response to back pain treatment does appear to be gender-related. Treatment plans also vary significantly by gender. Several studies have reported women consume and are prescribed more drugs than men to treat back pain. However, more men than women seek medical rehabilitation programs for chronic back pain.

Men and women also respond differently to treatment styles. For example, men responded better than women to interventions focused on the sensory components of pain; while women responded better to acceptance-based coping instructions for pain.

Visiting a chiropractor allows both men and women to develop treatment plans that are most tailored to their unique pain. In fact, most physicians believe in an individualized approach to back pain, regardless of gender. This is not to say that they don’t look at the differences between body types, system functions, and lifestyles. But, they look at the body as a whole, creating a tailored treatment plan for each patient to make sure they are on the right path to back pain relief.

If you are suffering from back pain, as 80 percent of Americans are, we encourage you to stop living in pain and contact a chiropractor near you to learn more about our back pain treatments.

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