Are There Gender Differences in How We Experience Pain?

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When it comes to understanding how people experience pain, it is important to take into consideration not just the physical experience of pain but also how pain affects us emotionally and psychosocially. Research has shown that women and men actually experience and perceive pain differently, which is quite fascinating. Chiropractic care plays an important role in treating pain and it is helpful for you to as open and honest as possible with your doctor when describing your pain. At Greater Life Chiropractic, Dr. Grant Lisetor understands and respects how multiple practice members with the same neck pain may present with varied symptoms and experiences because of their gender and life experiences.

How Men and Women Report Pain Symptoms

Let’s say a man and a woman are both experiencing neck and shoulder pain from “text neck,” sitting for long hours at a time leaning over their computers. When visiting with her chiropractor, the woman may say her pain is more extreme versus the man who may express more moderate discomfort. There are physical reasons for why a woman might report higher pain than a man, such as a decreased pain tolerance. Hormones can also play a significant role in how men and women perceive pain because elevated levels of estrogen can cause greater sensitivity to pain and discomfort. Many people also compare pain levels to past experiences, such as giving birth or a sports injury. When you think about this perspective in reporting your pain, you may feel differently about the severity of what you’re experiencing.

How Pain Affects Daily Life in Men Versus Women

Women and men may also report different levels of pain depending on how their pain impacts their daily life. When it comes to social structure and expectations placed on men versus women, a man might feel pressure, even subconsciously, to subdue expressions of pain in favor of looking like they are in control and have it all together. Meanwhile, a woman may feel overwhelmed when pain starts to impact her daily life and if the pain impacts how she goes about her day and interacts with others, then she may experience heightened stress, anxiety, and even depression, leading her to feel that her pain is more significant or substantial.

Why Men and Women Experience Pain Differently

It is important to note that not every man and woman will relate to the examples listed here, but you might find yourself relating to one of these experiences more than the other because of how you live in the world, what your expectations are for yourself, what you perceive others’ expectations of you to be, and your past experiences with pain. Additionally, while women may report more significant pain at the outset than men, it is also worth noting that both women and men report similarly low levels of pain after being under quality chiropractic care for just one month.

At Greater Life Chiropractic, we encourage you to come in to the practice wherever you are in life and know that Dr. Liestor and our wonderful team will be there to listen and support you, as well as help you experience pain relief and restoration of your quality of life through gentle, specific, neurologically-based chiropractic care. We hope you find our doctor and staff to be a source of comfort and a place where you can freely share your symptoms and have your needs met. Contact Greater Life Chiropractic today to schedule your first appointment.


Peterson, Cynthia; Humpreys, Kim; Hodler, Jurg; and Pfirmann, Christian, “Gender differences in pain levels before and after treatment: a prospective outcomes study on 3,900 Swiss patients with musculoskeletal complaints”

Shoshany, Stephen, “A Modern Spine Ailment: Text Neck”


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