| "Pelvic pain” is a broad term used to identify pain anywhere in the pelvic girdle, meaning, in the lower abdomen, the saddle region (including the genitals), or the hips and lowest portion of the spine. Pelvic pain can occur independently of any other medical issues. It also may be preceded by an event, or it may occur in conjunction with other medical diagnoses. Because the number and variation of the causes of pelvic pain are so great, to name all of them would be exhausting, but some very common causes are appropriate for a referral to physical therapy, such as endometriosis, the events surrounding pregnancy, and scar tissue from previous abdominal or pelvic surgeries.
Treatment begins with a thorough discussion about your pain; where it is, when it started, things that aggravate it, and things that alleviate it. Your therapist will listen to you describe your symptoms, she will pay attention to your concerns and she will hear your questions. This first conversation is crucial in determining the cause(s) for your problem.
A musculoskeletal evaluation is performed to assess what areas need to be addressed, and what you might be responsible for on your own at home. Your physical therapist will discuss the results of that examination with you. Once a diagnosis is made, your therapist will design a personalized treatment program for you to help improve function and lessen pain. Treatment methods may include manual therapy, biofeedback, postural training, education, muscle strengthening or stretching, dry needling, and an individualized home exercise program.
Click on the following links to read more about the different types of pelvic pain.
Endometriosis - A condition in which tissue that lines the uterus is found outside of the uterus, usually on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other pelvic structures, and causes pain.
Dysmenorrhea - Discomfort and pain during the menstrual period.
Dyspareunia - Pain with intercourse.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) - An infection of the upper female genital tract.
Vaginismus - Uncontrolled muscle contractions in the lower vagina. This condition makes tampon use or penetration during intercourse difficult or impossible.
Vulvodynia - Pain in the vulva that does not go away or keeps coming back and does not have a specific cause.
With the right approach, support and treatment, physical therapy can help reduce pain, restore function, and provide you with the guidance and tools you need. Together, we can end the isolation you may feel and get you on a path to living better and enjoying life once again!