Pelvic pain comes in many shapes and sizes and affects both men and women. Due to the nature and location of the pain, patients often suffer in silence and find little relief from symptoms. This may lead to social isolation, extreme frustration and depression. Common symptoms include:
- Heavy feeling in the pelvic area
- Radiating leg pain
- Pain with urination and or defecation
- Bowel complaints such as constipation and diarrhea
- Suprapubic pain (over the bladder)
- Coccyx (tail bone) pain
- Stomach pain or bloating
- Painful intercourse
- Pain in the scrotum, perineum
- Vaginal pain
- Pain with ejaculation
The muscles of the pelvic floor play an integral part in the self-perpetuation of pelvic pain. These muscles are designed to support our internal organs, control bowel and bladder function, provide stability for movement and sensory awareness for sexual function. These muscles never truly relax and are prime targets for chronic pain. Physical therapy addresses the tension and weakness found in these muscles common in diagnosis such as interstitial cystitis, vulvadynia, prostititis and other pelvic floor dysfunctions. Research shows us that if we can normalize the muscle tone, even temporarily, circulation improves and healing can begin. In my practice I use manual therapy, biofeedback, electrotherapeutic modalities, exercise, functional postitioning, visceral massage and respiration to restore balance and function.
Nerve mapping:Muscles respond to stimulous from nerves. Nerves may become irritated by scars or habitual tightening of a muscle. Nerve mapping is a method we use to track the origin of the pain and address where the nerve may be impacted. This may respond to manual release techniques by a physical therapist or further intervention by a physician.
The multidisciplinary approach to urogenital and rectal pain syndromes is the most effective.The treatment team may include a pain specialist, medication, local treatment regimes, nutrition, physical therapy, a personal fitness routine and psychological support. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with wonderful practitioners and support networks in our area dedicated to treating patients with pelvic pain.