Pelvic Pain – Its Not All In Your Head

Sometimes its hard to find the source of pelvic pain

I don’t know how many times I’ve had a patient with pelvic pain in my treatment room tell me another provider thought their pain was all in their head. They couldn’t find any other cause of their pain so assumed it was all psychological. This is very distressing to anyone and can in fact make pain even worse.

Cause of Pelvic Pain when other medical tests are negative

Let me explain what a common cause of pelvic pain can be when all medical testing is negative, and how your mental status can affect your pain.

There are many causes of pelvic pain. From problems with the organs, nerves, to muscles and bones, and different medical tests/imaging that can be done to help determine the cause of your pain. Unfortunately, or fortunately, however you look at it, many of those tests come back negative. Although that is a good thing, it can be distressing as the cause of pain may still be unknown. In these instances, the cause of pain is often coming from your pelvic floor muscles; an area that many medical tests don’t look at.

There is no one better to determine if your pain is coming from your pelvic floor muscles than a pelvic health PT. We have extensive training on evaluating pelvic floor muscle function and are able to determine if those muscles are a source of your pain.

Biofeedback can help assessment tight pelvic floor muscles

Biofeedback can help asses tight pelvic floor muscles.

Your pelvic floor muscles function just like muscles anywhere else in your body. If they become tense or tight, they can cause pain. Just think if you have a tight muscle in your back; if you push on it, you may feel pain. The same is true for your pelvic floor muscles! Pelvic floor muscle tension is a common cause of pelvic pain that may often be missed by other medical providers. Tight pelvic floor muscles are also not often found during other medical testing. Because of this, it may lead some other providers to think the pain “is all in your head’, when in fact there is dysfunction going on in your pelvis causing your pain!

Although your pain really is not “all in your head”, your brain does control a large part of how we feel pain. Just think of this example: have you ever had a scrap or a bruise that you don’t ever remember getting? When that happens there is tissue damage, but our brain doesn’t always interpret the input as pain. On the other side, we may have an old injury that has healed, but is still causing pain. Although the tissue itself is better, our brain is still reading signals as painful.

Our brain can make your pain feel worse. When you are stressed or anxious, this will increase the activity of your sympathetic nervous system, or the “fight or flight” system. When this happens, our muscles naturally tense up more, which can cause our pain to become worse.

Although this all sounds scary, working with a physical therapist can help both with the mechanical problem in your muscles, as well as helping regulate your nervous system. Both will reduce pain. A pelvic health PT is also trained in education regarding the mind-muscle connection, and how your brain can make your pain feel better or worse. It has been proven that improving knowledge of what may be causing pain, and how to treat it, can lead to lower pain levels!

Along with being trained to assess your pelvic floor muscles, pelvic health PTs are also the best providers to help guide you through treatment to decrease your pain. We use many different techniques to help improve muscle and nervous system function thus decreasing pain. These may include manual (hands-on) therapy, dry needling, using specific exercises to help muscle function, as well as education on how the muscles work and other things you can do at home to improve their function.

There is no one better to help with pelvic pain than a pelvic health PT.

We can assess your pelvic muscles and nerves to see if this may be contributing to your pain. We will also help guide you through treatment to reduce muscle tension, improve nervous system function, and give appropriate exercises to do at home, all of which will reduce pain!

Ready to start therapy? 

If you’re ready to start therapy to get your life back, contact us today and book your first session.

Written by:

Jill Erhmantraut, PT, DPT, WSC, CAPP

Doctor of Physical Therapy, Women’s Health Certified Specialist, Certificate of Achievement in Pelvic Physical Therapy

How to approach sex after menopause

Sex After Menopause

Understand the importance of pelvic health and potential solutions for managing these challenges.
7 things I learned about being a new mom

7 Things I’ve Learned Since Having a Baby

What I learned; 7 aspects of motherhood and baby care learned by a mother of two shared through personal experiences and working with infants in CranioSacral Therapy.
How Massage can help survivors of a MVA

Massage After a MVA

Massage can be very beneficial after a Motor Vehicle Accident.
How to restore your core after baby 3

Restoring Your Core After Baby!

Step by step method to check for Diastasis Recti and the importance of restoring your core after childbirth.
Have a DPT on your team

DPT Advocacy

The benefits of adding a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) to your healthcare team.
© Copyright - Apex Wellness and Physical Therapy | website by Nufire Marketing in Minneapolis!