how men experience pain differently than women

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How Men Experience Pain Differently Than Women

We often think of our dads as strong, fearless protectors who are impervious to pain; and that includes the relentless emotional and mental pain inflicted by us, their kids! But is it simply a societal role men play or is there some truth to this perception? The short answer is yes and yes. Research clearly shows that men and women differ in the way they respond to pain and that biological, psychological, and sociological factors all contribute.

Estrogen vs. Testosterone

When taking a look at the biological effects, testosterone has one that is both pain inhibiting and protective. This makes sense when we look at the statistics showing how men are significantly less likely to report chronic widespread pain or any pain at all. By contrast, estrogen and progesterone have more complex pain effects, bothhormonesexerting inhibiting and promoting effects in different situations.

Men may also be more impervious to pain meds. It has been found that following surgery, men are less responsive to certain opioid medications compared to women and, as a result, may need to consume greater quantities of opioids in order to achieve adequate pain relief.


Culturally, it is less acceptable for men to express their experiences with pain. A study was conducted where men were given a different gender role in order to test whether or not there would be a change in their sensitivity to pain. The results demonstrated that the men were more likely to report a greater sensitivity to pain. Social constructs also determine what can be defined as an acceptable pain coping strategy. Men tend to use behavioral distractions or tackle the situation head-on with problem-solving techniques while women draw on social support systems and emotion-based techniques. Altogether, these cultural norms create a deterrent to men in seeking help for pain leading to inaccurate data and therefore, a perpetuated cycle of expectations of men by patients and healthcare professionals alike.

Anticipating Pain: Pain and Memory

Painful experiences can create indelible memories in which fear and avoidance become attached to the memory. If the source of pain recurs, a heightened sensitivity response is produced. Typically, this process is driven by high estrogen levels and so is found in women disproportionately to men. However, there is a type of hypersensitization to pain that has been found to occur only in men. The phenomenon is associated with stress cues that trigger aphysiological adrenal stress responsethat is dependent on testosterone. It is thought to possibly play a role in the development of PTSD in men.

Theory ofChronic Pain

The disparity inchronic pain syndromesbetween men and women is significant, with men accounting for only 30% of reported instances. However, there are always exceptions, such as one study that found a higher prevalence of chronic back pain in men and another that found more men suffer fromknee painthan women in the 65 years and older category.

The pathway to chronic pain involves repeated initiation of an inflammatory response in reaction to a painful injury, leading to a cascade of effects that amplify and perpetuate pain messages. In men this occurs through cells known as microglia, that are located only in the brain and spinal cord, while in women the blood-borneT-cellsperform this function.#https://www.justcbdstore.com# The Best CBD Hair Care by JustCBD

Another contributor to chronic pain is sleep quality, which is intricately intertwined as a causative as well as exacerbating factor. On this account, men are also less susceptible as they are considerably less likely than women to experienceinsomniaat all age ranges, except for their 20’s.

Additionally, a genetic component to chronic pain may be at play. Recently, a segment of genes were found on the X chromosome, which men have only one of, that are often present in women withchronic musculoskeletal pain.

When Musculoskeletal Pain Strikes

Whether it’s an old injury or pain from working too hard on the job, there are topical products utilizing active ingredients such as menthol and camphor working to deliver effective relief and healing. A study screening slaughterhouse workers demonstrated impressive acute effects of relief from the use of topicalmenthol. Menthol and camphor are both derived from natural sources and provide relief through a cooling sensation. By using these counterirritants, you can help your client reach temporary relief.


Claire is the Natural Health Editor for CBD CLINIC. Claire holds a Ph.D. in East-West Psychology and an M.A. in Art Therapy/ Counselling Psychology. She draws upon her past experience as a therapist specializing in ecopsychology and art therapy to educate consumers in natural health verticals. She has established workshops in herbalism, art therapy, and ecopsychology to educate people about natural self-care. Additionally, she completed the 200-hour Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher Training to better understand the body. For the past few years, Claire has been utilizing all her knowledge and know-how to research and write about natural health, complementary medicine, and hemp and their connection through yoga to allow people to better deal with frequent pain.

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