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Limiting the drugs list. Behavioural treatment not drugs for chronic pain.

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Pain 351 Pain Are you in a lot of pain every day? Have you had doctors tell you that “it’s all in your head” or “it’s just nerves”? If so, you’re not alone. Pain is often undertreated in women. The good news is that there are different ways to explain your pain so that you can get the help you need. There are also many things you can do to manage your pain and feel better. The truth about pain Pain is a regular, if unwelcome, reality for many women, perhaps even more than it is for men. Most women have pain with menstruation at some point in their lives, and childbirth can be painful. Some common disorders of the female repro- ductive tract are painful. Also, painful autoimmune (aw-toh-ih-MYOON) dis- eases are much more common in women. To cope with their pain, women tend to use more approaches than men, such as learning about their condition, turning to others for support, and finding ways to relax more and manage stress. Still, it can be hard for a woman to get help for her pain. Some doctors are less likely to give women painkillers because they think that women overstate the amount of pain they feel. Studies have shown that given the same amount of pain, men are less likely to report it than women. Men might feel they need to “tough it out.” But this doesn’t mean that the pain women are reporting isn’t real. Chronic pain Women are more likely to have chronic pain conditions. Pain is chronic if it lasts more than 3 months. Chronic pain can sometimes last years or even decades. Sometimes, pain is caused by injury or disease. In such cases lab tests show defi- nite signs of injury or disease in an organ or other body part. In other chronic pain conditions, the pain can’t be traced to any specific disease or injury. The exact cause of the pain is unknown. In these cases, the chronic pain is the disease. 352 The Healthy Woman: A Complete Guide for All Ages Whatever its cause, chronic pain can in- terfere with all aspects of your life. It can: l make it

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