Pelvic pain is a general term used to describe debilitating discomfort in the pelvic region. Pelvic pain can occur at any time in a man's or woman's life, frequently causing significant emotional distress and adversely affecting his/her quality of life.
Chronic pelvic pain occurs when symptoms persist longer than three months. If chronic pelvic pain goes untreated, additional bladder, bowel, and sexual dysfunction may develop.
The Normal Pelvis
The pelvis serves many roles in our bodies. Nearly every movement and position of the human body depends on the pelvis. Proper activity and balance between all of the muscles, joints, and tissues of the pelvis are essential for normal pain-free function. The pelvis also plays a role in sexual function, support and protection of the internal organs, and control of bladder and bowel function
Why Physical Therapy?
Physical Therapists are experts in treating the musculoskeletal system (the muscles, joints and surrounding tissues of the body). Physical therapists that are specifically trained in pelvic health can safely and effectively help persons who suffer from pelvic pain.
Specially trained Physical Therapists
can evaluate and treat:
- Improper alignment or impaired mobility of the pelvic bones and joints
- Overactive pelvic muscles (muscle spasm)
- Underactive pelvic muscles (muscle weakness)
- Restrictions or impaired mobility of ligaments, tendons, or connective tissues and structures
These problems can occur for a number of reasons including a fall, a car accident, or other trauma, as well as childbirth, surgery, radiation, disease processes, repeated faulty postures or positions during normal activities.
Injuries or problems with the hips, abdomen, lumbar spine, or pelvis (including the sacroliac joints, pubic bones, or tailbone) may also cause dysfunction and lead to pelvic pain.
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Interstital Cystitis: Interstitial Cystitis or IC is characterized by pelvic pain, pressure, discomfort in the bladder and pelvic region and urinary frequency and urgency. To learn more about how pelvic floor physical therapists can help you, go to The Interstitial Cystitis Association's website :
International Pelvic Pain Society: The International Pelvic Pain Society (IPPS) was incorporated to serve as a forum for professional and public education. Go to the International Pelvic Pain Society website for an educational booklet on Pelvic Pain and how pelvic floor physical therapists may help you. International Pelvic Pain Society
Prostatitis: Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland, often resulting in swelling or pain. Prostatitis can result in four significant symptoms: pain, urination problems, sexual dysfunction, and general health problems, such as feeling tired and depressed. Pelvic floor muscle spasm and pain can result perpetuating the pain well after the inflammation in the prostate is gone. The Prostatitis Foundation has information on how pelvic floor physical therapists are able to help you.
Vulvodynia: Vulvodynia is chronic vulvar pain resulting in pain especially during vaginal intercourse. The National Vulvodynia Association website has information on how pelvic floor physical therapists can help you.
Dyspareunia (Painful Sex): There are many causes of painful sexual intercourse: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Endometriosis, Interstitial cystitis, Vaginismus, Vulvodynia, Some sexually transmitted diseases, Urinary infections, Vaginal dryness, Vaginal Atrophy, Pudendal Neuralgia, Physical injury and chronic pain, Women who have intercourse with a man with a very long penis can experience pain, Some infections (like thrush) can cause soreness and itching. Female Pelvic Myalgia or Vaginismus