Pelvic Pain is a broad term used to describe any pain experienced in the pelvic region. It can be further categorized by the specific tissues that are affected or by when the pain is felt. Dysmenorrhea, for example, is defined as pain during one's menses, while Dyspareunia is defined as pain during sex.
There are many different muscles of the pelvic floor that can become tight and sore. These may be muscles surrounding the vagina, urethra, rectum, shaft of the penis, or the joints of the pelvic girdle. Symptoms often include muscle spasms, tenderness, pelvic floor dysfunction (i.e., prolapse, incontinence, constipation), reduced flexibility, difficulty with daily activities (i.e., running, sitting, cycling, intercourse, etc.), or pelvic girdle pain.
Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) is another broad term used to describe pain that is more specifically affecting the joints of the pelvis. These areas include the tailbone, the pubic joint, and the sacroiliac (SI) joints. PGP is often the underlying cause of acute or chronic hip and low back pain.
All pelvic pain, whether affecting the muscles of the pelvic floor, the joints of the pelvic girdle, or both are often caused by muscle imbalances acting on the pelvis, previous physical injuries, pregnancy, childbirth, poor posture, hormonal imbalances, emotional/mental influences (i.e., stress, anxiety, depression), and more.
Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy begins with identifying and treating the underlying cause of pelvic pain. Whether it is acute or chronic, pain is best treated when Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy takes a multifaceted approach, in other words, when patients are treated holistically.
Depending on the specific cause of pain, treatments will often consist of hands-on therapy, such as soft tissue release, trigger point massage, and manual stretching. Additionally, breathwork and other exercises are regularly practiced, enabling patients to play an active role in their care. In the case of chronic or persistent pain, Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy also helps encourage self-management strategies, such as daily practices of gratitude, laughing exercises, and even meditation to help reduce the mental impact of pain on one's psyche.
Even though pelvic pain can be debilitating, it is not something that patients need to endure. There is always something that can be done, and Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy is the best place to start!