Pelvic Pain & Physical Therapy

Published On 07/11/2011

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Pelvic pain is a general term used to describe debilitating discomfort in the pelvic region. I can occur at any time in a woman's life, frequently causing significant emotional distress and adversely affecting her quality of life. Unfortunately, many women develop chronic pelvic pain, symptoms that persist longer than three months. If chronic pelvic pain goes untreated, additional bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction may develop.

Pelvic Pain Causes

Dysfunction and pain in the pelvis may have many origins or can result from a combination of factors. Each organ (uterus, vagina, bladder, bowel), tissue and joint may produce a specific pattern of pain and vague pelvic discomfort. Your pelvic pain and symptoms need to be thoroughly discussed with your physician to rule out system causes or possible problems with the organs. The bones, muscles and soft tissues of the pelvis can also contribute to pelvic pain syndromes, so these things must also be addressed to ensure proper treatment and outcomes. This is where a physical therapist can help.

Physical Therapy for Pelvic Pain

Physical therapists are experts in treating the musculoskeletal system (the muscles, joints and surrounding tissues of the body). Our physical therapists are specially trained in women's health can safely and effectively help women who suffer from pelvic pain.

Specially trained Physical Therapists evaluate and treat:

  • Improper alignment or impaired mobility of the pelvic bones and joints
  • Overactive pelvic muscles (muscle spasms)
  • Underactive pelvic muscles (muscle weakness)
  • Restrictions or impaired mobility of ligaments, tendons or connective tissues and structures

These problems can occur for a number of reasons including a fall, car accident, or other trauma, as well as childbirth, surgery, radiation, disease processes, inactivity, repeated faulty movement patterns, repeated faulty postures or positions during normal activities. 

Injuries or problems with the hips, abdomen, lumbar spine, or pelvis may also cause dysfunction and lead to pelvic pain. 

Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist if you have:

  • Pain with intercourse or other sexual activities
  • Pain with tampon use
  • Pain with a speculum exam, including a PAP smear, or other types of pelvic exams
  • Difficulty with normal activities such as sitting, rising from a chair, standing or walking
  • Difficulty with recreational activities like golfing, walking, jogging, or other types of exercise
  • Chronic constipation or difficulty passing a bowel movement
  • Urinary urgency, frequency or retention
  • Pain in the groin
  • Pain in the buttock
  • Chronic low back, hip or sacroiliac pain
  • Pain that shoots, burns, tingles or otherwise travels down the leg
  • Abdominal pain

Our physical therapists utilize their specialized medical training to thoroughly evaluate each patient and design treatment programs that address your individual needs. It is the goal of the therapist to empower you to be a partner in your care.

To find a Methodist Healthcare-affiliated physician in Memphis, Tennessee, please use our physician locator or call 888.777.5959.