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Contributions by Molly Moore and Kirsten Floyd, PT, DPT, Clinic Director - Yukon

What is Pelvic Pain?

Pelvic pain can range from a sharp jab to dull, achy pain in the lowest part of the abdomen and pelvis. While it is most common in women, it affects up to 20% of people in the US, men and women. Pelvic pain may stem from an infection or abnormality in internal organs, pain from the pelvic bones, or an issue with a reproductive organ in the pelvic area.

Pelvic pain can be severe and come on suddenly or can come and go for a more extended period. When diagnosing the cause of the pain, a doctor will review your symptoms and medical history. Although the pain is commonly due to an infection or reproductive organ-related issues, pelvic floor muscle spasm is a major driver for chronic pelvic pain that is not related to an infection or other issue.

Pelvic pain can have multiple causes, including:

  • Inflammation or irritation of nerves caused by injury
  • Contractions or cramps of the smooth and skeletal muscles
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Ruptured ovarian cyst or fallopian tube
  • Miscarriage
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Appendicitis

Conditions that can lead to chronic pelvic pain can include:

  • Endometriosis
  • Cancers of the reproductive tract
  • Menstrual cramps or ovulation
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Ovarian disorders
  • Pelvic Floor Muscle Spasm
  • Reduced hip or low back mobility
  • Scar tissue (from C-Section)

Physical exams and other forms of testing may be necessary to help determine the cause of the pain. These tests may include blood, urine, stool, and pregnancy tests, cultures to check for sexually transmitted diseases (STD), ultrasounds, CT scans, a Laparoscopy, or a Hysteroscopy. Once the cause of pelvic pain is determined, treatment may vary. Common treatments include medicine, surgery, or physical therapy.

How can Physical Therapy Help with Pelvic Pain?

Those suffering from pelvic pain can restore strength, flexibility, and function to the muscles in the pelvic region through physical therapy. According to 360 Physical Therapy – Yukon Clinic Director and Pelvic Floor expert Kirsten Floyd, most of the time, patients have a “tissue issue” going on. This causes pelvic pain to refer to other locations such as the abdomen, deep hip, rectum, etc. With physical therapy, this is an issue that can be treated and improved.

During your initial consultation, the therapist will design a treatment program to meet your goals. They will show you how to identify muscles in the pelvic region and teach you how to properly use these muscles in your day-to-day life. Although all physical therapists have the proper education and experience to treat pelvic health issues, it is important to consider finding a therapist that has a background and proven expertise in pelvic and women’s health. At PRN, we have many therapists in our network, like Kirsten, with a pelvic health background.

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