Pelvic Pain

Pelvic pain is a generalized term to describe discomfort and pain in the pelvis, vaginal/rectal area, lower abdominal region, and can certainly include the buttocks and tailbone. Oftentimes, the origin of the pain is difficult to diagnose with traditional diagnostic methods. MRIs, ultrasounds, and other various types of diagnostic testing may not show the exact cause of the pain. Typically, the origin of this pain will encompass musculoskeletal dysfunctions that produce a cascade of compensatory changes which then can produce the pain. Therefore, the reason for your pain is often not just an obvious, single issue that shows up on a test. On the other hand, you may know specifically the origin of your pain but traditional options such as surgery and medication may not have alleviated your pain. Once again, this is not unusual because your body has made numerous accommodations and compensations to the pain and now the mechanics of how your body should work is altered and thus adding to the problem. Many factors can cause pelvic pain and most often it is a combination of causes that produce your pain.

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Pelvic Pain

What are the causes?

Some of these causes can be:

  • Low back pathologies
  • Tailbone injuries
  • Endometriosis
  • Sacroiliac dysfunction
  • Scar tissue
  • Nerve entrapment
  • Overactive pelvic floor muscles
  • Restrictions or impaired mobility of ligaments, tendons, or connective tissue and musculature
  • Hip pathologies
  • GI issues
  • Chronic constipation
  • Perineal injuries
  • Post surgical muscle spasms and restrictions
What are the symptoms?

Symptoms from pelvic pain can be acute or chronic and can vary immensely from patient to patient. However, sometimes symptoms are not the crux of the problem, but rather pieces of information to find the underlying issue. This is why it is so important to treat the whole patient.  Our therapists are trained to look at the big picture, not just the obvious pain/symptoms, to be able to resolve your issues. It is important to identify your symptoms and understand the dysfunctions which are causing your pain. The most common symptoms our patients describe are:

  • Burning pain in the abdominal, pelvic, or perineal area
  • Shooting pain that can be localized or radicular
  • Pain with bowel or bladder functions
  • Numbness or altered sensations such as hot/cold/tingling
  • Painful intercourse
  • Pain with movement or function

The diagnoses that can encompass patients with pelvic pain and dysfunction are numerous.  Below is a list of common diagnoses that will fall within the pelvic pain and dysfunction category.  However, remember, there is usually a bigger picture that must be addressed before your symptoms can be fully resolved.  That is what your therapist is trained to do-look at the big picture and meet your goals!


  • Dyspareunia
  • Vulvodynia
  • Coccydynia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Endometriosis
  • PCOS
  • Vestibulitis
  • Pudendal neuritis/neuralgia
  • IBS/colitis/GI inflammatory issues
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction

What can I expect in PT?

On your first visit, your therapist will talk with you about the issues surrounding the first time you noticed your pain.  Oftentimes, past history and possible incidences surrounding the start of your pain can be very helpful.  Your work environment, exercise activities, and home life also will enter into the discussion of possible causative factors for your pain.  Next a thorough musculoskeletal exam will be performed.  This is one of the most critical areas of the evaluation as movement dysfunctions and joint dysfunctions often are at the crux of your issues.  Obviously, your symptoms will be addressed and evaluated along with the musculoskeletal exam.  Depending upon your diagnosis, a pelvic floor examination may be necessary to determine all factors involved with your pain/dysfunction.  Many times, pelvic floor pain and spasms are merely a symptom and the crux of your issues are elsewhere in the musculoskeletal system.  A pelvic floor examination, if necessary, will help determine the restrictions, spasms, or dysfunction of the coordinating pelvic floor musculature.  Our therapists specialize in pelvic floor pain and are sensitive to the fact that this can be uncomfortable or embarrassing.  If the pelvic floor examination is necessary, your consent and approval is required.

Why should I choose you for physical therapy?

We know that for many of our patients, the pain has been present for many years and most are frustrated at the lack of resolution.  We are sensitive to this frustration and mental anguish that comes along with this type of pain.  Our therapists are specially trained in the area of pelvic pain and dysfunction. They will develop a treatment program for the patient that will encompass the whole person, and not just the pelvic pain. Through expert evaluations and advanced treatment options, a rehab program will be established to correct and modify the dysfunctions to reach your goals.  We work closely with your healthcare providers to combine treatment options to resolve your issues.  Our goal is to reach your goals so that you can live life the way you intended instead of the one you dread.

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Pelvic Pain

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