Prevention Magazine released a fabulous article, “Why It Hurts Down There“, which discusses how pelvic floor dysfunction can be the cause of many pelvic pain conditions, such as IC, vulvodynia, constipation and so forth. It shares two compelling patient stories who, after many physician visits, finally discovered that the pelvic floor muscles, specifically pelvic floor tension, scars and/or adhesions, were the cause of their vulvar, pelvic and back pain. With the CORRECT treatment, both responded beautifully to therapy and are doing very well!
Urogynecologist Colleen Fitzgerald Md, medical director of the Chronic Pelvic Pain Program at Loyola University in Chicago, said “If you’re not seeing a specialist who understands the impact these muscles have in causing pain or making it worse, you may not be getting the best care. Less than half of the women who would benefit from a pelvic-floor evaluation are getting one.”
We agree completely and so do most IC specialists. There have always been some men and women with IC who did not respond to traditional bladder wall therapies. Now we know the reason why. Many of those patients probably had pelvic floor dysfunction instead. And, as the article notes, physical therapy has a very high success rate in reducing pain and discomfort.
In 2014, pelvic floor assessments are now a mandatory part of the diagnostic process and referral to physical therapists specializing in pelvic pain is a must. Patients who cannot afford treatment may find help in three books: Heal Pelvic Pain by Amy Stein, Ending Female pelvic Pain by Isa Herrera and Ending Male Pelvic Pain, also by Isa Herrera. Physical therapist Mary Ruth Velicki also shares her personal story with PFD and her recovery in a new book, Healing Through Chronic Pain.
One point that the article makes at the end is the importance of using Kegel exercises correctly. Kegel exercises are designed to tighten muscles, therefore are NOT used in patients with pelvic floor tension. Kegels ARE used for patients whose muscles are weak and they are struggling with incontinence.