Pelvic Pain is Not Normal . . . And it Can Be Treated

Pelvic pain generally can occur in the lower abdomen, low-back, tailbone, vagina, rectum, back of the leg or hip region.

Some symptoms of pelvic pain can include the following:

  • pain with bowel movements
  • constipation
  • urinary retention/hesitancy
  • urinary frequency/urgency and or burning
  • pain with sitting/tailbone pain
  • pain, pressure or burning around the genitals
  • pain, pressure or burning around the rectum/anus
  • clitoral pain or sensitivity
  • penile pain or sensitivity
  • pain before/during or after orgasm
  • low back /sacroiliac joint pain
  • pain with pregnancy
  • pelvic organ prolapse (cystocele - bladder prolapse, rectocele - rectal prolapse, and uterine prolapse)

The pain can be caused by a variety of medical diagnosis, including:

  • pudendal neuralgia
  • levator ani syndrome
  • dyspareunia
  • vaginismus
  • anismus
  • interstitial cystitis
  • chronic pelvic pain
  • urethral syndrome
  • vulvodynia
  • vulvar vestibulitis
  • urinary frequency
  • urgency or pelvic muscle dysfunction
  • scars from trauma, surgery or childbirth

Both men and women suffer with pelvic pain and are reluctant to talk to their health care providers, friends or family.  Pelvic pain impacts up to 1 in 7 women in the U.S.  Many health care providers and patients are unaware that a physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor conditions can help.


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What Are The Pelvic Floor Muscles?

The pelvic floor muscles attach to the bottom of the pelvis to create a "floor" for our internal organs. They support these organs and help stop the flow of urine and the passage of gas.  They also assist in normal sexual function and support the pelvic low back region. The pelvic floor muscles may respond to pain by tightening which causes increased muscle tension and therefore, can further aggravate pelvic pain.  The muscles can become shortened over time and restrict mobility.


How Can Physical Therapy Help?


Therapy can help teach you how to relax (with or without biofeedback) your muscles so they can function normally.  Stretching or myofascial release may be indicated will address postural issues and muscle imbalances.  Active participation in therapy can lead to improved muscle function, strength, and flexibility.


What Should I Expect When I Go To Therapy?


Expect help!  Once you have scheduled your first appointment with us, we will need to gather important information to ensure we provide you with the best possible care.  A patient information packet will need to be completed and provided to our staff when you arrive for your first appointment.  The patient information packet will include a description of what to expect, as well as a patient history questionnaire.  Your patient information packet can be mailed to your home or downloaded here.

After a thorough evaluation has been performed, you and your therapist will develop a treatment program. This program may include:

  • examination of current musculoskeletal problems
  • stretching and strengthening exercises to improve posture
  • biofeedback for normalization of muscle function
  • relaxation techniques for the pelvic floor muscles
  • examination of current musculoskeletal problems (low back/SI)
  • connective tissue manipulation
  • neural mobilization
  • trigger point release
  • trigger point dry needling
  • pelvic floor soft tissue mobilization
  • relaxation techniques for the pelvic floor muscles
  • biofeedback for normalization of muscle function if needed
  • home exercise program
  • patient/family education/training

You will be asked to complete a bladder diary for 3 days prior to the first appointment.  This entails documenting amounts and type of food and fluid intake and well as voiding patterns.  This is very important information to have completed before your first visit.

Each person has unique and different needs, requiring varying amounts of time and visits for therapy.  Your plan of care will be based on your individual needs anywhere from 10-20+ times.  In addition to clinic visits, you will receive exercises and instructions for things that you can do in the privacy of your home.  For more information visit Frequently Asked Questions.