It's generally estimated that pelvic pain affects about one in five adults in North America, impacting their ability to control their bodily functions, engage in exercise sleep soundly and more. Physiotherapy can treat and rehabilitate your body when it is suffering from chronic pelvic pain. Here, our Orleans 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 seriously debilitating. Likewise, its symptoms can include uncomfortable conditions like prolapses, incontinence and severe urinary urgency or frequency. Not only that, but pelvic pain itself is a symptom of underlying conditions and can have any number of possible sources. This makes it potentially difficult to treat.
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 how difficult it can be to narrow down the precise causes of chronic pelvic pain, our clinic and team are able to offer physiotherapy geared towards treating it and addressing aspects of health issues that may be contributing to your continued discomfort.
Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation
There is a growing body of literature suggesting that dysfunction in the pelvic floor is related to chronic pelvic pain. On top of this, myofascial pain has also been shown to be associated with a number of different kinds of pelvic pain, which can be treated in a number of different ways through pelvic physiotherapy treatments.
Some of the treatments offered at our physiotherapy center include:
- Prescribed stretches
- Electrical stimulation
- Relaxation techniques
- Manual therapy of the pelvic floor muscles
- Myofascial release of trigger points on the pelvic floor
- Exercises targeted at the pelvic floor muscles
While individuals that report chronic pelvic pain may be recommended analgesics to help them manage their discomfort, our physiotherapists are also able to recommend a number of different services, including exercises, fitness plans and more to help alleviate your pain and start down the path to recovery without having to rely entirely 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 this, exercise planning is the name of the game. This will help you to manage flare-ups in your chronic pelvic pain. Often flare-ups are associated with overactivity or inactivity, so our physiotherapists will be able to work with you to identify the correct levels of activity for your condition in order and craft a plan to help you consistently 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.
There isn't actually that much clear evidence that kegel exercises when done in isolation can affect chronic pelvic pain. They should instead be done in tandem with other exercises and treatments, like stretches and manual therapy. As well, not all pelvic floor pain is caused by weakness in their associated muscles—and this is the only thing that kegels can 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 work out 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 experiencing chronic or persistent pelvic pain?
Our team of physiotherapists is specially trained in pelvic floor physiotherapy and can help you to recover.
Check in with the Motion Works Physiotherapy Orleans blog regularly for helpful tips, news, information and advice about physiotherapy treatment and your health.