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8 Articles in this Series
Introduction
Interview with AAPM President Daniel B. Carr, MD
Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block Effective and Safe for Postdural Puncture Headache
Women Have More Neck Pain Than Men
Intradiscal Biacuplasty Effectively Treats Discogenic Low Back Pain
Cooled Radiofrequency Ablation Provides Pain Relief for Knee Osteoarthritis
Link Between Atherosclerosis and Degenerative Disc Disease
Bleeding Complications Rare in Interventional Pain Procedures
Spinal Cord Compression Following Spinal Cord Stimulation: A Case Report

Women Have More Neck Pain Than Men

Interview with Meda Raghavendra, MD

Pain appears to be distributed differently in women and men. It is known that pain is reported more frequently by women than men, and specific pain conditions (eg, migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and temporomandibular disorders) are considerably more common in women than in men.1 Various explanations have been proposed, including hormonal differences and the belief that men may be less willing to report pain.

Although more women may seek out medical care for pain, not much is known about the gender differences in the prevalence of degenerative disc disease. To determine if there were any gender differences in the prevalence of cervical and lumbosacral disc disease, researchers at Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois, an academic pain center, retrospectively review chart records from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2014.2,3

“We wanted to see if gender played a role in the prevalence of disc disease,” noted Meda Raghavendra MD, the lead author of the study. Over a 2-year period, a total of 3,337 patients presented to the pain clinic—including 2,047 women (61%) and 1,290 men (39%). Clearly, women outnumbered men by a ratio of 3:2, Dr. Raghavendra noted.

However, when the investigators looked specifically at degenerative disc disease, they found that women had more neck pain compared with men. Cervical degenerative disc disease is a common cause of neck pain. Symptoms include stiff or inflexible neck, burning, tingling and numbness. Pain is most prevalent when the patient is upright or moving the head.

Out of 133 patients with cervical disc disease, 91 were women (68%). The prevalence of neck disease in women (4.5%) tended to be 1.38 times higher than in men (3.3%) (P=0.09). In addition, among patients with cervical pain, men are 3 times more likely to have obesity (odds radio 2.97 95% CI: 1.37 – 6.45; P=0.01). Age and tobacco use were similar in both sexes, the researchers noted.

When the investigators looked at lumbosacral disc disease, a different picture arose. Out of 381 patients with lumbosacral disease, 242 were women and 139 were men. “The prevalence of lower back disc disease was similar between women and men, 12% and 11% respectively (odds ratio 1.11; P= 0.35). Unlike cervical disease, weight did not affect the prevalence between men and women.

While women tend to have more pain conditions than men, the prevalence of degenerative disc disease was not know. Two new studies presented at AAPM found that women are 1.38 times more likely to have cervical disc disease compared with men, while men with cervical disc disease were 3 times more likely to be obese. The prevalence of lumbosacral disease was more evenly split between the genders, 11% and 12%, with no statistical difference in gender. Variables such as age, weight and current tobacco use did not affect the prevalence in lower back disease.

References

1.      Fillingim RB, King CD, Ribeiro-Dasilva MC, Rahim-Williams B, Riley JL III. Sex, gender, and pain: a review of recent clinical and experimental findings. J Pain. 2009;10:447-485.

2.      Raghavendra M, Holtman J. Gender Differences in the Prevalence of Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease. Poster presentation at: 32nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine; February 18-21, 2016; Palm Springs, CA. Poster #186.

3.      Raghavendra M, Holtman J. Gender Differences in the Prevalence of Lumbosacral Degenerative Disc Disease. Poster presentation at: 32nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine; February 18-21, 2016; Palm Springs, CA. Poster #185.

Next summary: Intradiscal Biacuplasty Effectively Treats Discogenic Low Back Pain
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