What is Chronic Pelvic Pain?

 

Chronic Pelvic Pain generally refers to pain below the umbilicus downwards towards the pelvis and laterally to the hips which has been ongoing for 4 to 6 months, and interferes with daily living.

Many patients suffer from chronic pelvic pain on a daily basis, and just as many silently bemoan the horrible inconvenience of bladder dysfunction, which oftentimes presents along with pelvic pain, as the bladder and the pelvic floor are intimately related. On average, some patients will see 8-10 healthcare providers since their pain began, with no answers to what exactly is causing their pain. Others are advised that the pain is "all in their head" and they just needed to relax.  Some undergo surgeries, including hysterectomies, only to find the pain persisting even after surgery. 

Many lose hope. Relationships can suffer when they are no longer able to be intimate with their partners, and can no longer can participate in joyful activities.   Women of all ages may suffer from painful sex - a topic that is oftentimes ignored in a routine visit with a clinician because the question isn’t asked, or it’s too intimate of a topic to discuss.  

Oftentimes, the pain and/or dysfunction that may have started out as mild, progresses to a higher severity, and begins to encompass other systems of the body that were possibly not involved in the beginning stages of their pain.

The musculoskeletal system is most always a factor when it comes to identifying organ systems contributing to chronic pelvic pain. The muscles of the pelvis act as a "bowl" that attach to the bones of the pelvis.  If any part of this is out of alignment, or too much tension is maintained on a regular basis, it can lead to chronic pain. The reverse is also true - patients who suffer from chronic pain can ultimately build more tension within the pelvic floor that can then exacerbate their overall pain.

Within the digestive system, many patients can develop gastrointestinal issues that further complicate their pelvic pain.  Some may have been labeled much of their life with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and have been left to believe that this is something that they will just have to endure for the rest of their lives.

The nervous system is extremely intricate and interconnected between all organ systems, making it challenging to determine where exactly a patient's pain is coming from. Pain in one area can be referred there from elsewhere within this complicated system. Depression and anxiety can be common among patients who have chronic pain of any type.  Painful memories of sexual trauma can also interfere with our body’s ability to heal. Whether or not we have developed healthy coping mechanisms can impact how we perceive our pain.

Our comprehensive, holistic approach to pelvic health & wellness can address all the above, oftentimes overlapping layers of symptoms that can come with pelvic pain and dysfunctions. At Inner Balance, patients can feel comfortable discussing any of these health concerns, and confident that they will truly be heard.