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AMWA and the North American Spine Society (NASS)

At the recent NASS annual meeting in Orlando, AMWA co-sponsored a half-day symposium on Women’s Issues in Spine Care. The symposium was organized and moderated by Greg Whitcomb, DC from NASS. The goal of the program was to address the impact of sex and gender on evolving clinical, research, and policy initiatives. Saralyn Mark, MD, past recipient of AMWA’s Lila Wallis Women’s Health Award, was the initial speaker, setting the stage with a talk regarding her program, iGIANT (impact of gender and sex on innovation and novel technologies). Following Dr. Mark’s talk, there were lectures on pain perception and expression (Shira Weiner, PhD, PT); bone health, low impact fractures, and impact on pain in function in women (Kim Templeton, MD, FAMWA); biomechanical and motor control considerations in degenerative spondylolisthesis in women (Jacek Cholewicki, PhD); pelvic floor and chronic pelvic pain (Kate Temme, MD); pregnancy-related back and pelvic pain (Shiela Dugan, MD); post-partum axial rehabilitation (Suzanne Badillo, PT); and gender considerations in the hip-spine connection (Heidi Prather, DO, past-president of NASS). This was followed by an iGIANT roundtable discussion on sex and gender in spine research, practice, and policy. Roundtable participants included symposium faculty, NASS leadership, and industry representatives. Raising awareness of sex and gender differences in all areas of health and disease remains a key effort of AMWA. Up to this point, there has not been as much emphasis on the differences in spine conditions as in other areas. However, considering the impact of pregnancy on spine health and back pain, the higher incidence of chronic pain and common pain-generating conditions such as spondylolisthesis among women, and the impact of fragility fractures of the spine on function and the ability to maintain independence among older women, sex-based differences in spine conditions deserves more attention, increased research, and a higher profile in education initiatives.

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