What exactly is pelvic pain?
Chronic pelvic pain is pain occurring in the low abdomen, perineum (the area between the pubic bones, tailbone and sitting bones) or low back for at least 6 months; the pain is severe enough to affect daily functioning and relationships.
What causes pain in the pelvis?
- the reproductive organs
- infections or inflammatory conditions
- the urinary tract
- the gastrointestinal system
- nerves, ligaments, bones and muscles in the low back and pelvis.
Often, pain will initially be caused by one structure or condition, then the pain will increase due to further involvement of other tissues and structures because of the body and mind’s reaction to pain. For example, a person may begin slumping over to relieve pain in the low abdomen; this posture disrupts the balance of muscle strength and tension around the spine and pelvis. The imbalance leads to increased stresses placed on the body, resulting in more pain, either in the spine and hips or radiating into the pelvis from these tissues.
How does physical therapy help?
Physical therapy can help by restoring ideal muscle balance around the spine and pelvis and by use of modalities to reduce pain. Treatment may include:
- manual therapy techniques vaginally or rectally to decrease scar tissue or trigger points
- manual therapy externally to improve joint alignment or to decrease trigger points
- neuro-muscular re-education (re-learning how to activate or de-activate certain muscles)
- electrical stimulation to decrease pain, or improve how a muscle contracts
- electro-myographic biofeedback to improve how a muscle contracts or releases
Pelvic pain diagnoses
Unique types of pelvic pain respond well to the “big picture” approach that physical therapy offers. These diagnoses may include:
- interstitial cystitis
- vulvar vestibulitis
- dyspareunia (pain with sexual intercourse)
Here at CoreBalance Therapy, you will meet physical therapists skilled in applying these treatments specifically for pelvic pain; at the same time, we encourage a multi-disciplinary team approach to pelvic pain to address the many physical, emotional and sociological impacts of chronic pelvic pain.