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Airing Pain 33: Gender and Communication

How gender can influence experiences of pain, and living with cluster headaches

This programme was funded by an educational grant from Pfizer.

We hear about orofacial pain (pain of the face and mouth) from Dr Barry Sessle, a professor in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto in Canada. Dr Sessle also explains why some types of chronic pain are more common in women than men. Continuing with this topic, clinical psychologist Dr Amanda Williams talks about pelvic pain and the difficulties men in particular have in coming forward to seek treatment.

The International Association for the Study of Pain designated 2012 as the Global Year Against Headache. We speak with a husband and wife on how they manage as a couple to live with husband Phil’s debilitating cluster headaches.

Issues covered in this programme include: Gender, pain perception, migraines, cluster headaches, pelvic pain, orofacial pain, sex differences, women’s pain, men’s pain, urogenital pain, society, communicating pain, breast cancer, prostate cancer, brain signals, throbbing pain, burning pain, nerve blocker and relationships.


  • Dr Barry Sessle, Professor in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto
  • Dr Amanda Williams, clinical psychologist, University College London
  • Phil and Sue O’Brien, living with cluster headaches.
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