Women are the stronger sex when it comes to dealing with discomfort, with even the guys agreeing that girls have a higher pain threshold. But perhaps that is because women are also the most proactive and more likely to reach for a pain relief product when problems hit.
Mapping Out Pain:
This gender divide on discomfort has been mapped in a new survey commissioned by Mentholatum, the makers of Deep Heat and Deep Freeze who have been helping ease muscular aches and pains for more than a century.
Almost half (46%) of the 2,000 adults, aged 30 to 70, who were quizzed believed women had the highest pain threshold, with around a third (37%) opting for equality and a mere one in six (17%) saying men were better at bearing pain.
Men are the most inclined to say there is no difference between the sexes, 43% compared to 32% of women. But they are also three times more likely to claim men have the highest pain threshold. More than a quarter (26%) of men thought their sex could handle more pain while only one in 12 women (8%) thought men could manage the most.
Having a higher pain threshold may be a case of knowledge is power, as the survey also revealed that two out of three (65%) women are aware that mood can affect our ability to cope with pain, compared to just half (50%) of men. Three quarters (76%) of women questioned also acknowledged that lack of sleep was a factor, compared to just over half (57%) the men.
Time of the Month:
Three out of five (64%) women are aware that their menstrual cycle can influence their ability to cope with pain, while just over a third of men thought periods affected pain perception and over half (52%) admitted they had no idea if it did.
Personal fitness trainer and user of Deep Heat, Toby Garbett says: “Women are clearly more in tune with the fact that all sorts of other factors can increase sensitivity to pain. The interplay between sleep and pain is fascinating. We all intuitively know that a good night’s rest makes us feel better, but studies have shown that sleep not only influences our perception of pain, it can also determine whether we develop chronic pain in the first place.,
“Similarly, mood can make an enormous difference. Brain scans have confirmed that when we are depressed our perception of pain is heightened, but there is also evidence that constant pain can contribute to depression. This potential for a vicious cycle makes it so important to find effective relief for recurring pain. Effective injury prevention and treatment can also help address our perception of pain”
Toby adds: “There are real benefits to using topical heat therapy to help treat muscle pain. In my view, thermotherapy can play an important part of a warm up routine. Warming up properly and using heat therapy like Deep Heat before and after exercise could provide relief for those experiencing muscular pain.”
The survey revealed some unexpected examples of the gender divide on discomfort. Deep Heat may be associated with masculine sports and locker-room lads, but women are most likely to have a warming rub in the first aid cabinet — 45% compared to 40%.
Incidence of Pain:
Both sexes have almost an identical incidence of pain and stiffness after exercise, but women are most likely to suffer after trying a new class or exercise (31% compared to 20% of men), while men are more inclined to think it’s the sign of a good work-out (24% compared to 19% of women) or because they have not warmed up or cooled down properly (13% vs 8%).
Poor preparation may explain why men are more prone to injury. The survey revealed that men are three times or more likely to have taken time off work because of a pulled muscle or tendon.
Cooling therapy such as Deep Freeze, is a well-recognized way to treat sprains, strains, muscle and joint pain and helps provide pain relief.
Cooling products, like Deep Freeze Cold Gel, were equally popular with 17% of both sexes saying they had one of these products in their first aid kit.
Toby adds: “It is also important to remember that if you do pull a muscle or take a tumble on the football pitch remember to treat those minor injuries straight away by using cold analgesia. Cooling is at the core the well-established principles of PRICE (P- Protect the area from further injury; R – rest the injured part; I-ice (apply cold therapy to injured body part); C- compress the injury area; E -elevate the injured body part). In my opinion convenience of the Deep Freeze range, which uses cold analgesia (cooling), comes into its own in the event of a soft tissue injury.”
More men say they suffer in silence 24% compared to 18% of women and are most likely to take to their beds because of a minor muscle injury.
But women are more proactive about pain. Two out of three (64%) would take pain relief pills for a strained or pulled muscle compared to 47% of men and while 36% would use a muscle spray to ease pain compared to 28% of chaps.
Toby Garbett notes further: “The funny thing is, there is actually quite a lot of evidence to suggest that men have a higher pain threshold than women, but as this survey shows, that is certainly not the public’s perception.
“It’s interesting that these findings show women reduce their risk of pain by warming up and cooling down properly, are much more proactive about treating pain and also more likely to have a remedy within reach.
“Maybe women seem to be the stronger sex because they are the most savvy. They avoid a lot of muscle pain and problems with good preparation and have effective products, like Deep Heat and Deep Freeze, to hand if they do hurt.”
Why Warm-Ups Work
Personal fitness trainer Toby Garbett advises: “The risk of muscle injury and aches is significantly reduced if you prepare properly for actively with a warm up. Massaging Deep Heat Heat Rub into injured muscles before exercise can help stimulate blood flow and reduce the risk of subsequent soreness.”
Anyone who has ever sought the soothing relief of a hot-water bottle knows that warmth can also work wonders – classic Deep Heat Heat Rub has active ingredients which deliver pain relief plus heat therapy.
From easing stiff, painful muscles before exercise or immediate pain relief from a new injury, Deep Heat and Deep Freeze have a range of products for effective muscular pain management.
Visit deep-heat.co.uk for more information.
Deep Heat Heat Rub, Deep Heat Pain Relief Spray, Deep Heat Max Strength and Deep Freeze Cold Gel (containing racemic menthol) are medicines for muscular aches and pains. Always read the label.
Deep Heat Pain Relief Heat Patch, Deep Freeze Pain Relief Cold Spray and Deep Freeze Pain Relief Cold Patch are medical devices.