A new review of research undertaken by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) has put forward a variety of initiatives that women can engage to better manage chronic pain. The findings were compiled by the ASA’s Committee on Pain medicine, and presented as part of the ASA second annual Women’s Pain Update. The suggested solutions range from exercise to better identification of pain triggers. The supporting research showed that exercise can help control pregnancy related pain; explored the connection between foot pain and depression; and showed that knee pain can increase risk of death related to decreased activity. Other research demonstrated that a simple survey can identify women more likely to suffer from pain after hysterectomy.
Among the findings in this year’s Women’s Pain Update: vaginal hysterectomy was associated with 50% less postsurgical pain than abdominal hysterectomy; women with knee arthritis are more sensitive to pain from cold and pressure than are men; more than one in 10 pregnant women have fibroids and almost 9 out of 10 of these report having pain. Donna-Ann Thomas, MD, a member of ASA’s Committee on Pain Medicine, and division chief of pain management and regional anesthesiology at the Yale University School of Medicine, commented, “Many women mask their pain, which can result in bigger repercussions than they realize, such as making them less healthy and even shortening their lives. This is why ongoing research on women in pain is so important.”
A news story about the findings, with a link to more information on the studies featured in the ASA’s Women’s Pain Update, may be found here.