In a study published by the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Pamela Stratton discussed the need for comprehensive evaluation of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems to look for sensitivity and trigger points in women with persistent pain due to endometriosis. (1)
Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue from the lining of the uterus is found elsewhere in the body.
It is estimated that 10% of all women during their reproductive years from onset of menstruation to menopause are affected by this condition. This is equivalent to 176 million women throughout the world have dealt with this pain during the prime years of their lives. (2) This type of chronic pain significantly impacts the patient's quality of life and frequently results in: depression, anxiety and fatigue.
Patients who suffer from chronic pain conditions such as: endometriosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and migraines experience increased sensitivity to pain throughout the body. (3) The interesting thing is the severity of the pain experienced by patients is not always correlated to the location of the endometriosis, or the amount of disease in the affected tissues. Essentially this means patients with chronic pelvic pain can experience extreme pain with light touch.
Muscles also have myofascial trigger points. These are characterized as hard nodules within tight bands of muscle. When these muscles are touched, they cause pain.
Dr. Suttons’ research demonstrated that nearly all of the women suffering from endometriosis presented with myofascial trigger points in addition to anxiety and depression. Moreover, the anxiety and depression might, in fact, contribute to the development of chronic pelvic pain.
As physical therapist specializing in pelvic pain, we are very familiar with myofascial trigger points and how they continue to cause increased pain cycles. We have advanced training here at Physical Therapy Specialists to work with trigger points. Additionally, we teach our patients how to manage the trigger points on their own so they can stop this pain cycle. If you have any questions or know of anybody who may be suffering from endometriosis or chronic pelvic pain, please feel free to call us at any time so we can restore your quality of life!
1. Stratton P, Khachikyan I, Sinaii N, Ortiz R, Shah J. Association of Chronic Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis With Signs of Sensitization and Myofascial Pain. Obstet Gynecol 2015;125(3):719-28.
- Rogers PA, et al. Priorities for endometriosis research: recommendations from an international consensus workshop. Reprod Sci 2009;16(4):335-46.
3. Vercellini P, Fedele L, Aimi G, Pietropaolo G, Consonni D, Crosignani PG. Association between endometriosis stage, lesion type, patient characteristics and severity of pelvic pain symptoms: a multivariate analysis of over 1000 patients. Hum Reprod 2007;22(1):266-71.