Your Life By Design
Pain Perception Between Men And Women
November 12, 2018
Have you ever wondered why women tend to live longer than men? Dr Sundardas puts two and two together by comparing what has been missed by the Western medicine model that the wellness medicine model has. Situating emotions at the heart of it, what differs is the pain perception between men and women. Learn about their different coping mechanisms and how it affects their health.
Have you ever wondered why women outlive men? How does this relate to "Your Life by Design Model"?

In western medicine, the whole concept of wellness is overlooked. Western medicine practitioners and scientists have made great advances in the management of pathology by studying disease. When they study physiology, they do so to better understand abnormal physiology. They do not study physiology in the hope that they can better understand how to optimise physiology.

Due to this perspective, there has been a great deal of skepticism about wellness screening devices and healing technologies. The fundamental challenge in the model can be stated in the following ways.

1)  Subtle energy changes predate biochemical dysfunctions/medical conditions (i.e. liver cirrhosis)

2)  Western medical professionals will typically ignore these changes because they will maintain these changes have no relation to any changes in physiology

3)  Wellness medicine practitioners who habitually look for these changes and successfully help to optimise the patient’s condition will avert the eventual development of these conditions

4)  The Western medical professional will then claim subtle changes have no relationship to pathology because the patient never went on to develop the  alleged biochemical dysfunction/medical condition  (i.e. liver cirrhosis)

The medical model basically employs the so-called lock-and-key paradigm of biochemistry, according to which, any biochemical reaction needs a specific arrangement of the reacting molecules. Meanwhile, a living organism and its functions cannot be reduced to a set of chemical reactions, even if it were possible to account for all of them. 

This constitutes a serious problem of any acute treatment. Any illness – actually illness in general – generates a kind of communicational gap within the organism’s functional network. Since living beings are highly integrated open dynamic systems, their health – all health in general – is supported by a permanent mass, energy and information exchange. The dynamics of communication thus is vital for organisms.

One of the fundamental communication processes that our body uses to communicate with us when we are approaching dis-ease is our emotions. Our emotions are our primary mechanisms that our body minds use to communicate how well our lives physical, mental or emotional are working. 

In the Western Medicine Model when you are feeling emotionally unwell like depression, they would prescribe prozac. In the Wellness Medicine Model, when you feel unwell, you are getting a signal about some state of disharmony whether physical, mental or emotional.

So do you want to pay attention to your Body-Mind or do you wish to drug yourself so you that feel nothing? That is the real difference between Western Medicine and Wellness Medicine.

Over the last 30 years that I have been in practice, I have noticed that I have consistently seen more women rather than men. I used to wonder about it. I used to believe that this was because women were more in touch with their emotions and so they knew far earlier that something was not right.

There is this quite common misperception that women often imagine their pain and  it is often part of an attention seeking mechanism. In my experience I have yet to meet a female hypochondriac even after more than 15, 000 clients. When a woman says she feels something is not quite right, there often is. The only hypochondriac that I ever met was a male. 

He kept asking me to check him for cancer because his sister had had cancer. Eventually I told him to go and do medical scans to convince him that he had no cancer because all my testing did not show up any early warning cancer markers.

Until fairly recently it was controversial to suggest that there were any differences between males and females in the perception and experience of pain, but that is no longer the case,” said Dr Ed Keogh a psychologist from the Pain Management Unit at the University of Bath.

Male female differences in pain perception

“Our research has shown that whilst the sensory-focused strategies used by men helped increase their pain threshold and tolerance of pain, it was unlikely to have any benefit for women,” said Dr Keogh.

Other research by the Pain Management Unit has looked at the relationship between gender differences in anxiety sensitivity and pain. Anxiety sensitivity is the tendency to be fearful of anxiety-related sensations (e.g., rapidly beating heart), and seems to be important in the experience of pain sensations. In a study of 150 patients referred to a hospital clinic with chest pain, researchers discovered that the factors that predicted pain in men and women were different.

Researchers believe that it is the fear of anxiety-related sensations and an increased tendency to negatively interpret such sensations, both of which are more predominant in women than men that influences women’s experiences of pain.

When do men and women seek help?

Prompted by one’s cognitive appraisal of a stressor like pain, individuals respond using various coping mechanisms. Researchers have found that men and women differ in their mechanisms of coping with stress — particularly, coping with pain.

Other studies, reported that women more frequently use coping strategies that include “active behavioural and cognitive coping, avoidance, emotion-focused coping, eking social support, relaxation, and distraction.

Men rely on direct action, problem-focused coping, talking problems down, denial, looking at the bright side of life and tension-reducing activities such as alcohol consumption, smoking and drug abuse.

Researchers found that women’s ways of coping involved more expression of feelings and seeking social support, whereas men’s ways of coping “were more rational and stoic (e.g., accepting the situation, engaging in exercise).”

Other researchers found that in response to pain, women reported significantly more problem-solving, social support, positive self-statements, and palliative behaviours than men. 

Other researchers found that among individuals with long-term intractable pain in the neck, shoulder, or back, women increased their behavioural activity (e.g., household chores and social activities) as a coping strategy more often than men. Other studies suggest that coping strategies are influenced more by the type and duration of pain than by whether the person is a man or a woman.

Research has also shown that women, as compared to men, respond more aggressively to pain through health-related activities (e.g., taking medications or consulting a healthcare provider). This is consistent with studies that have shown that women tend to report more health-care utilisation for treatment of pain than do men.

I once saw this lady who was worried about the heath of her children. Their hair mineral reports suggested significant metal toxicities and they were doing poorly health-wise. I also suggested that she check herself out. Eventually she came in with her husband and I suggested what tests they should do. They had to leave on a holiday.

When they came back, the lady sent me a email asking me about what testing she should do. I gave a a more elaborate list. Then she asked me about her husband. I gave him a simpler list of tests. She later queried me about the difference.

I replied that generally men unless they cannot work, are disabled by pain and cannot move or they are so sick and have a nervous breakdown, they maintain this veneer of stolidity and the attitude that says “I am fine”. I was being merely respectful of this. Whereas women prefer to be proactive and prefer to preempt trouble generally. She was very amused by my response.

Men wait until what happens to them creates an impasses in their ability to work or be effective. In other words until the last minute.  

My personal opinion is that women are more proactive, more sensitive to pain and seek earlier intervention. They evaluate and assess their life quality on a regular basis. They often discard what does not work earlier then men.  They are more interested in intervention before the quality of life is compromised. They are more interested in prevention. Their focus is on evaluating a problem and implementing solutions before it erupts into something serious.    

So serious issues are discovered earlier. This may be one factor why woman outlive men.

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