Pelvic pain is simply pain that originates from the pelvis and its supporting structures. The pelvis is a bowl shaped complex of bones, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and muscles. The base of the bowl is lined with the pelvic floor muscles that sling from the front pubic area to the posterior coccyx region of the pelvis. These structures help to support the pelvic contents, including the bladder, intestines, and internal sex organs. When the components of the pelvic floor become disrupted through trauma, surgery, or ongoing medical conditions, pain can result and can be quite debilitating. Chronic pelvic pain, lasting more than 6 months, affects 1 in 6 women. Although more common in women, this issue can affect men as well.
Pelvic pain can be caused by many different things. Sometimes the cause is unknown. Pain in the pelvic region can arise due to:
- Childbirth and post partum issues
- Gynecological problems such as recurrent cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or endometriosis
- Bowel problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, or chronic constipation
- Bladder disorders such as interstitial cystitis or recurrent urinary tract infections
- Vascular problems such as Pelvic Congestion Syndrome
- Post cancer treatment
- Orthopedic conditions such as sacroiliac joint dysfunction or pelvic fractures
Once the cause of pelvic pain is diagnosed by a medical doctor, they may send you to physical therapy to manage your symptoms. Here at Anderson Physical Therapy, our therapists are trained specifically to treat conditions affecting the pelvis and its components. A thorough history and exam are performed and the physical therapist will find the source of your pain. Even if the pain is arising due to a chronic medical condition, the muscles, joints, fascia, and connective tissue are reacting to this disruption and can be a secondary source of pain. This is where physical therapy comes in! By manually releasing the musculoskeletal structures, returning pelvic symmetry, and restoring normal muscle tone, pain decreases.