Is Pain in Your Pelvis Holding You Back from Family and Relationships?
Pelvic dysfunction affects both women and men. Here is some recent research that presents how pelvic pain can affect our lives and how we can help heal and be the man or woman we want to be for ourselves and the others in our lives.
The latest this month from The Journal of Physical Therapy describes the study by Wuytack et. al brings to light that new mothers describe 3 main themes with regards to pelvic pain: 1. The more they do after giving birth, the more pain there is 2. New Mothers tend to push through this pain to get their work done and take care of their baby, and 3. How mothers describe their role and self-image as different, in part because of this pain. In almost 20% of women, this pain does not subside on its own. Seeking help from a physical therapist for pelvic pain can help in determining which structures may be involved in contributing to this pelvic pain and building a plan to work back to function that will help the new mother meet her new life demands with improved strength, posture control, and tolerance of different functional postures like lifting heavy babies and reaching with carseats.
How can a physical therapist help?
We first create a professional and caring relationship where you can describe what is painful and we help verbalize what important things you are having difficulty with being able to do. As pain can affect us in many ways understanding what you want to be able to do is important is an important first step in having open communication before we jump into the treatments. Then we keep the conversation going by testing basic function in functional tasks like squatting, bending, lifting, the strength the the major movements and range of motion of aspects of the body that connect to the pain you are experiencing. Additionally we look at posture and how the body stabilizes under progressive challenges in a safe and controlled environment that determines the whole picture of where the function is now. Then we build a plan to where you want to go with exercises that incorporate basic functional exercise that mirror your real life demands and specific training on how to use the pelvic muscles, breathing, posture, and coordinate these aspects to work together.
Men likewise suffer from issues related to dysfunction of the pelvic muscles that impact their role to participate fully in relationships from pain with basic motions and postures that prevents them from working and fulfilling their duty in the home as well as diminishing a healthy normal sexual function that is a vital part of intimacy and relationships. Lavoisier et al describes in his paper from 2014 that pelvic muscle rehabilitation is one important and overlooked aspect in men that suffer from erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. That’s right, instead of a little blue pill, we need to work on muscle control, relaxation, and control to optimize sexual performance and overcome these common and oft swept under the carpet issues that come down to posture, mobility, breathing, ability to relax and contract. The Lavoisier study shows that 20 sessions of pelvic muscle rehabilitation increased blood flow 87% in men with erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. If you or someone you know is suffering from these issues, I hope this can be an encouragement that these issues can be resolved and through understanding how to use our pelvic muscles and how to use our bodies to optimize the function of our pelvis. Anytime we can solve a scary problem with a little guidance from a PT and learning how to control and appreciate our own bodies, it can be powerful in helping us reconnect with our own ability to heal ourselves and rely on the signals our body is giving us. It takes some work and attention to change ingrained habits no doubt, but we can solve this. If you are in the Portland area call me at Bridgetown Physical Therapy & Training Studio @ 503-222-1955.
If you are looking for help where you are, search out a PT who specializes in men’s & women’s health.
I have been through pelvic pain myself. It is difficult to find help and understand where to begin to heal. I feel that patience is key, it may be a long process but keep seeking the answers and the teachers available to you to integrate awareness of the pelvis into your everyday movements.
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