Pelvic pain can be a complex condition. As women, most of us feel pain at some time or another in our pelvic region, such as with our monthly menstrual cycle.
Some women experience pelvic pain at other times, and this is when it becomes a little more complicated. Pelvic pain is a hidden problem and often women suffer for many years both physically and emotionally before finding help.
Chronic pelvic pain can originate from a variety of sources in the pelvis; you may have been diagnosed with vaginismus, vulvodynia, endometriosis, pudendal neuralgia, painful bladder syndrome or coccydynia. You may have never spoken to a doctor and have no diagnosis.
Typically in women with chronic pelvic pain, pelvic floor muscles are found to be tight or in spasm - much like a muscle in your neck can spasm or tighten up after a long day in work in front of the computer. This tension within your pelvic floor muscles can cause pain.
If you have difficulty relaxing your pelvic floor muscles, sex can be painful. Sometimes these muscles spasm involuntarily in anticipation of pain or penetration. Tense, tight or overactive muscles can lead to ongoing pelvic, vulval, coccyx and bladder pain.
Feeling tired, depressed, hopeless or anxious with your pelvic pain
Possible causes of pelvic & sexual pain
Psychological factors such as mood, relationship issues or past abuse
How can we help?
We will assess for structural and alignment changes to the spinal and pelvic joints, pelvic floor weakness or spasm and vaginal structure.
The protective guarding response that can occur in women with chronic pelvic pain needs to be unlearned, so that the body begins to remember that inserting something into the vagina does not need to be painful. This can be achieved through physiotherapy to desensitise the area and gently stretch any contracted vaginal tissues.
What to expect
After an internal vaginal examination (with your consent), physiotherapy treatment may involve