Pelvic pain and incontinence can be the result of simple or complex issues that can cause you a great deal of distress by limiting your ability to engage fully in life due to pain, embarrassment, and inconvenience.
There are many causes of pelvic pain and incontinence. Often, it seems like it comes on overnight but, typically it is something that develops over months or even years. Pelvic pain can be caused by childbirth, hormonal changes, abdominal or pelvic surgeries, chronic constipation, recurrent yeast or urinary tract infections, falls, sexual traumas and poor posture. Typically, it is caused by more than one factor. Our bodies are like a cup. If too many injuries, stressors and/or poor habits are put into your cup, it overflows and you can no longer adapt or compensate.
Specialists in Women’s Health Physical Therapy evaluate and treat the muscles and joints of your pelvis, hips and lower back that can contribute to your pain or incontinence. Overactive muscles of the pelvic floor can also cause the brain and nervous system to send pain messages. When you slouch, your pelvic floor muscles shorten and get tight. Movements that lengthen or stretch your tight pelvic floor muscles cause danger messages to be sent to your brain, which are then interpreted as pain. This is much like your hamstring muscle that gets tight due to prolonged sitting and then gets overstretched and “pulled” if you try to run too quickly. Becoming aware of poor postural habits can keep your pelvic floor muscles lengthened and prevent them from becoming tight and weak.
Evaluation for pelvic floor dysfunction is much like an evaluation of back and/or hip pain. A thorough assessment of your posture, hip range of motion, pelvic and spinal alignment, and hip and core strength is completed. Evaluation of your pelvic floor muscles is performed both externally and internally if indicated. This is performed intra-vaginally and sometimes intra-rectally for women and intra-rectally for men.
A word about men: Men can suffer from pelvic pain as well. Pelvic joint misalignment, as well as trigger points in the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles, can refer pain to your testicles. These trigger points can develop in the abdominal and pelvic muscles from poor posture, surgery or a lifting injury. The good news is that through specific Manual Therapy consisting of stretching, postural re-education and with improved lifting techniques, these trigger points can be treated, and your pain can be eliminated.
Not all Physical Therapists are trained in the treatment of pelvic pain. Seeing a Physical Therapist that is specially trained and certified in treating pelvic floor dysfunction will improve your treatment result. Here at Manual Edge Physiotherapy, we have the only board-certified pelvic floor Physical Therapist (WCS) in Colorado Springs.