Pelvic pain is frustrating. It has been poorly understood for years, being dismissed by an array of providers without answers. When patients come see us with pelvic pain, they are often told the following:
Drink wine, that will help
It is in your head
Your pain isn't real or valid
There is nothing that can be done
While these responses can be frustrating, the good news is that there CAN be help for your pelvic pain!
So what does pelvic pain look like? Pelvic pain can be the following:
Painful vaginal insertion (tampon, with sex, insertion, etc)
Vaginismus (inability to insert anything vaginally)
Pubic bone pain (SPD- especially during pregnancy!)
SIJ, back pain, or hip pain
Pain to the vulva (vulvodynia)
Frequent UTI-like symptoms without bacterial cause
Rectal pain (proctalgia fugax)
Pain from scar tissue (from vaginal delivery or cesarean section)
Pain with climax
Chronic pelvic pain with sitting, activities, or at rest
Pain due to endometriosis, PCOS or cycle dysfunction
...just to name a few! This list is not all inclusive to what can be seen in pelvic floor therapy. Pelvic floor therapy can also help with strategies to assist with painful periods and teach you how to use period products, such as menstrual cups and discs! (Pixie Cup is my favorite! code ALI15 for 15% off)
How can pelvic floor therapy help?
In pelvic floor therapy, our goal is to assist you in finding the root cause of your pain. In our practice, we strive to do this holistically. This may look like:
Looking at your hormones and finding a practitioner who can help with this (Motherland Birth Co is our favorite around here)- this is especially important for vulvodynia or vaginal dryness!
Teaching mindfulness strategies specific to your body and pain
Identifying underlying causes of trauma to address the biopsychosocial component of your pain
Helping you IDENTIFY and connect with the pelvic floor muscles, fascia, and tissue
Retraining your sensory system to improve any under or over sensitivity due to scar tissue
Fascial mobility and connection with your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system
Visceral mobility and release
Dilator or pelvic wand use- dilators are a tool used occasionally for tissue stretch but most often to provide graded desensitization and pressure training
Diaphragmatic breathing techniques
And MUCH more! Each pelvic floor therapist may have a unique set of tools in their tool box and course trainings to help you progress.
At your first visit you will discuss:
Subjective history of concerns
Bowel and bladder habits
Fertility history (menstrual, birth, pregnancies, miscarriages, etc)
Anything else that your therapist deems pertinent to your care
Your pelvic floor therapist could also suggest other providers to assist on your care team.
Some common referrals we refer to include:
Functional medicine practitioner (root cause)
OBGYN, Urogynecologist, NP/PA experienced in pelvic pain
Trauma informed therapist (LPC, psychologist, psychiatrist)
If you have had any of the above concerns, and been screened for other causes without definitive answers, you could be dealing with pelvic floor dysfunction! Reach out to someone near you.
If you are in the 417 area, we would love to help you at The 417 Female. We are a cash-based pelvic floor therapist group. This just means that we do not bill your insurance, however, you are able to submit yourself with out of network reimbursement. We believe deeply in this avenue of care because we are able to spend 1:1 time with you and determine what is best for you, the patient, without concern of what we have to bill the insurance or if it will be reimbursed!
Reach out with any questions. We would love to help on your healing journey!
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This content is created in order for individuals to learn more about the pelvic floor. I am in no way giving medical advice or medically assessing the pelvic floor through this blog. If you ever have any health questions or concerns, please consult with your physician or midwife. If you are ever unsure if you are performing exercises correctly, it may be beneficial for you to get a referral from your physician to a pelvic floor therapist for further evaluation. My blog posts are for educational purposes only! I am not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information.