Why Treat the Pelvic Floor to Resolve Pelvic Pain?
Tension in the pelvic floor, sometimes known as Levator Ani Syndrome or Non-Relaxing Pelvic Floor, can cause pain in the pelvic floor and in the structures next to the pelvic floor. This could include the bladder, bowel, uterus, vagina, penis or vulva. Due to the closeness of the pelvic floor to these structures and the nerve connections between all of them, the pelvic floor can mimic symptoms that occur with other diagnoses. For example, classic symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis are bladder pain and frequent urination. These symptoms can also be caused by excessive tension in the pelvic floor and adductors muscles of the inner thigh. Tension in the pelvic floor can also make it harder to empty your bladder and bowels, creating pain during those activities. Just like a cramp in your calf hurts and will be sore for a day, so will a "cramp" in the pelvic floor (although these muscles don't get to rest so it's more like having a constant cramp).
The pelvis is a relatively small area containing several organs, muscles and fascia all connected with a massive network of nerves. Each of these structures can and often does impact the other. Having a bowel full of stool due to constipation puts more pressure on the bladder and can cause incontinence or pain as your bladder fills. An injury to a tissue can increase sensitivity of the nervous system and your brain pays more attention to everything happening in that area. With so many messages coming from the pelvis, the brain begins to interpret non-threatening stimuli as painful. You begin having pain with activities that previously were not painful.
The pelvic floor is a major group of muscles that works to stabilize the pelvis during activity and support urinary, bowel and sexual function. You may have developed symptoms that include one or many of these areas in addition the pain you are experiencing. Dr. Katy Girlinghouse is trained in treating all of these concerns and will discuss each of these with you on your first visit to better meet your goals for recovery.