It is estimated that pelvic pain affects 20% of all adults in North America across ages and genders, impacting individuals' ability to control their bodily functions, engage in exercise, sleep properly and more. Physiotherapy is able to provide a number of different treatments and rehabilitation programs for people suffering from chronic pelvic pain. Here, our Nepean physical therapists explain the symptoms of chronic pelvic pain and how pelvic physiotherapy is able to help.
Pelvic pain can range from a mild annoyance to debilitating and the symptoms accompanying it can include uncomfortable conditions like prolapses, incontinence and severe urinary urgency and frequency. Not only that, but pelvic pain is itself a symptom of an underlying condition and the source of a given case of pelvic pain can be quite difficult to narrow down.
The causes of pelvic pain can range from gastrointestinal and gynecological to psychiatric and musculoskeletal. And in every case, social and societal factors may come into play and worsen the condition.
Physiotherapy for Chronic Pelvic Pain
Despite this difficulty in narrowing down the precise cause of chronic pelvic pain, our team and clinic are able to offer physiotherapy for pelvic pain that can help to address aspects of the health issues contributing to your continued discomfort.
Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation
There is increasing literature that suggests that dysfunction in the pelvic floor is directly related to chronic pelvic pain. Additionally, myofascial pain has been shown to be associated with a number of different kinds of chronic pelvic pain, which can be treated through a number of different methods in the course of pelvic physiotherapy.
Some of the treatments offered at our physiotherapy center include:
- Manual therapy of the pelvic floor muscles
- Electrical stimulation
- Myofascial release of trigger points on the pelvic floor
- Relaxation techniques
- Exercises targeted at the pelvic floor muscles
- Specific stretches
While individuals reporting chronic pelvic pain may be recommended or prescribed with analgesics to help manage the pain levels, our physiotherapists can also offer a number of different services, exercises and fitness plans to help you alleviate your pain and start on the road to recovery without having to entirely rely on painkillers.
Firstly, it is important that physiotherapists walk through some of the psychological and social elements that may be involved in the triggering of flare-ups, especially when they occur as a result of sexual activity. One of the first steps to managing the condition is the identify behaviors like catastrophizing, pain-related anxieties and more and create strategies or recommend professional help for patients who experience them.
After that, exercise planning is often the name of the game when it comes to helping to manage flare-ups of pain in patients suffering from chronic pelvic pain. Often, these flare-ups are either caused by overactivity and extended periods of inactivity, so our physical therapists will work with you to identify the right level of activity for your condition and create a plan for consistently being able to meet that level of activity.
What About Kegels?
Kegels are one of the most commonly thought-of pelvic floor exercises and guides on how to perform them are easily found on the internet. If you have chronic pelvic pain, you may be tempted to look up guides online and start doing these exercises on your own, but in a number of instances, exercises like kegels can actually be harmful to your condition.
Firstly, there isn't much clear evidence that kegel exercises, when done on their own, can affect chronic pelvic pain they should be done in conjunction with other stretches, exercises and manual therapies. Secondly, not all pelvic floor pain is caused by weakness in its associated muscles—which is what kegels can help to address.
In fact, some chronic pelvic pain is actually associated with a tightness of the pelvic floor muscles, meaning that kegels may actually cause injury—just like if you tried to workout a tight muscle elsewhere in your body. The key in these cases is exercises that promote relaxation of the tight muscles to alleviate pain and avoid injury.
In all cases, you should consult with your physiotherapist before you start engaging in any long-term exercise while suffering from chronic pelvic pain. They will be able to help you to plan your workouts to work best for you, regardless of what part of your body you will be exercising.
Are you looking for ways to alleviate your chronic pelvic pain? Have you noticed other symptoms commonly associated with this condition?
Our team of physiotherapists is specially trained in pelvic physiotherapy and can help you to recover.
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