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Pelvic Pain

Is your pelvic pain interfering with your daily life? Is sex painful? Have you been constipated? Are you having an uncomfortable pregnancy and Tylenol is not enough? Have you tried all means of treating your pelvic pain but have not been able to get any relief? Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT), the all-natural alternative to pain relief, may be the answer for you.

Studies have shown:

  • OMT positively affects pelvic pain during pregnancy.
  • Pain and tense pelvic floor muscles can be relieved with OMT. Entrapment of the pudendal nerve that innervates the pelvic floor muscles can be released by OMT to treat related pain.
  • OMT is suggested to help prevent pain by stabilizing the structures contained in the pelvic region.

The pelvic floor is made up of many soft tissues, the most important being a sheet of strong muscles that form a hammock to contain the organs of the pelvis.

Changes during pregnancy to accommodate the growing baby and expanding uterus usually cause strain and pain in the pelvic floor. A hormone called relaxin is released during pregnancy to prepare the pelvis for delivery. Relaxin causes the ligaments to become stretchy, which can cause problems and lead to pelvic pain.

The pelvic floor muscles in women have three openings – the front one is the opening of the urethra, which allows you to urinate, the middle one is the vagina, and the back one is the opening of the rectum, which allows you to pass bowel movements. These pelvic floor muscles are what you’re strengthening when you do Kegel exercises. These muscles are also what your OB or midwife is referring to when you’re in labor and they’re asking you to push or bear down like you’re trying to have a bowel movement when you’re constipated. The pelvic floor muscles are also important because if you have dysfunction in them, you can have issues with urinating, constipation, painful sex, and a more challenging childbirth.

Pelvic pain may be dull or sharp; persistent or intermittent; mild to severe, and can extend to your lower back or thighs. The common symptoms with pelvic pain are:

  • Pain in the hip and groin area
  • Pain and cramps during menstruation
  • Pain during urination, bowel movements and intercourse
  • Fever or chills
  • Constipation or diarrhea

The common causes of pelvic pain include pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease (infection of the reproductive organs), urinary tract infection, ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus), endometriosis (abnormal growth of uterine lining), spasm or tension in the pelvic floor muscles, and uterine fibroids (non-cancerous uterine growths).

The cause of pelvic pain can be diagnosed by observing your pain symptoms, reviewing your medical history and performing a pelvic examination. For additional information, blood tests, urine and culture test, pregnancy test and imaging studies may be ordered (X-ray, ultrasound, CT and MRI scans).

Treatment for pelvic pain depends on the cause of pain, intensity and frequency of the pain. Conservative management of pelvic pain includes rest, osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), and certain exercises. Medication will depend on the cause of your pelvic pain and may include pain killers, muscle relaxants, and antibiotics. Hormonal medications may be prescribed for pain relief during menstruation. Surgery may be considered for patients with ectopic pregnancy, chronic pelvic pain due to endometriosis, and other pelvic problems.

For a list of articles supporting OMT, please click here.


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