Researchers have identified a target for treating chronic pain among females, in a study which could benefit many using assisted living due to such issues.
In a paper published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers explained that men and women do not possess particularly different levels of mu, delta and kappa opiate receptors, making it difficult to understand why they experience pain differently.
However, scientists found that these receptors tend to interact differently, depending on sex, with hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone affecting the outcome of treatments.
Dr Alan Gintzler, of the University of New York, explained that when prescribing treatment for chronic pain, physicians should take into account the stage of the menstrual cycle, as the same drug may effectively treat the pain at one point in life, while heightening it in another.
"This consideration could become even more critical in managing pain in postmenopausal and elderly women," he said.
"Further research is needed to flesh out these possibilities."
This follows comments from nutritionist Fiona Kirk who said that older people should make sure they do not consume too much acidic food which could increase joint pain.
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