The global year against pain in women

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Why ‘Real Women, Real Pain’?

The ‘Real Women, Real Pain’ campaign aims to empower women and raise awareness of specific pain issues affecting women worldwide. Every day millions of women suffer chronic pain but many of them remain untreated and isolated from the flow of life around them. There are several reasons why barriers to treatment exist. 

Even in the so-called developed countries, rigidly defined gender roles with male domination, lack of access to effective pain coping strategies, and accompanying major mood disturbances can influence how pain is perceived and its distressing nature communicated to health professionals. In addition, biological differences between men and women may not be appreciated when they impact upon the way in which women perceive and express their pain. 

When these factors are coupled with the significant economic and political barriers to health care access that exist in many countries, the reality is that millions of women are living with pain without any hope of receiving effective treatment and/or support.

Female Pain Issues

Painful conditions affecting women have a huge global economic and human impact.  Yet, at all levels of Government there is still widespread lack of awareness and recognition of these health-care issues.

Surveys show that chronic pain is generally more prevalent in women than men; however women are less likely to receive a meaningful diagnosis and proper treatment. 
Epidemiological research has also shown that women generally experience more recurrent pain, as well as more severe and longer lasting pain than do men.

Western Australia’s Contribution

In the spirit of the IASP’s Global Year Against Pain in Women, the Australian Pain Society is joining with the Arthritis Foundation of Australia (WA), and the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010, to present to the public an outstanding Hypothetical entitled “A Woman In Pain”. It is directed at all women who suffer pain, as well as their families, carers and friends

Arthritis Week in WA will be launched at this event by Ms Lisa Scaffidi, Lord Mayor of Perth.

Date: Sunday 30th March 2008

Venue: Perth Convention Centre
Cost of admission: Gold coin donation
Booking is essential: Contact Chantelle at Arthritis WA on 08 93882199
Timing for programme:

10.00am – 10.30am Audience arrives

10.30am – 10.45am Welcome by representatives of APS, AFA(WA)


10.45am – 11.00am Opening of Arthritis Week by Lord Mayor

11.00am – 11.05am Stretch break

11.05am – 12.05pm Hypothetical

12.05pm – 12.30pm Questions from audience

12.30pm Thanks to Panel and close.

Moderator: Mr Ben Horgan, National Action Network Coordinator,

Australia Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010

Panellists (in alphabetical order):

Dr Allyson Browne – Clinical Psychologist

Dr Nicola Cook - Rheumatologist

Dr Stephanie Davies – Pain Physician

Ms Polly Delaney - Consumer

Professor Nicky Leap - Midwife

Ms Petrina Lawrence - Consumer

Dr Helen Slater - Physiotherapist

Dr Barbara True – Rheumatologist

Official Photographer: Ms Abbe Harman

QUOTES THAT MIGHT BE USED FOR PRESS RELEASE (from interview with GM, upon whose incredible story the hypothetical is based):
“I really think a lot of women in pain are not taken seriously. Because they have children, their pain is put down to the stress of them being a Mum.”
“If you are a single Mum, it’s worse because again, you don’t cope – you can be as strong as an ox and you are still dismissed as just not coping.”
“There are women in pain out there who do have problems with coping and I think we need a better network – we need a supportive type network instead of wiping these women off with antidepressants and putting them down by telling them that they have got mental problems.”
“At a group meeting we asked a heart surgeon why aren’t as many women transplanted as men? Eight women compared to 30 odd men. His answer - they have kids and they have problems. I thought – Gee, I was lucky – but then again, they did not have any choice with me. I just woke up with a machine attached to me and that was it.”
“You feel a little bit isolated at times when you are in pain if you haven’t got a partner – sometime you think, who can I talk to? You know, you cope with a lot but sometimes you just need someone to talk to or say to someone.”

“It’s not until one of my friends hurt her back working with aged people - she has been two years suffering and she’s getting the same sort of thing – go home and take a couple of Panadol – she and another friend came and knocked on my door and said to me – How on earth have you coped all these years, and we are very sorry we did not understand – I said No, unfortunately until you can live in my shoes, you won’t understand.”

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