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Sexual Dysfunction

Why Physio for Pelvic Pain?

The pelvic girdle is the center of the body’s capacity to be upright and is integral to the stability it needs to be able to locomote on two legs and to move freely. The pelvis also houses many of the body’s vital organs and its sexual organs and all these vital organs need protection and safekeeping.

The pelvic girdle is the seat of sexual pleasure and because of this it is full of nerves and is extremely sensitive. For all these nerves to function for perfect sensitivity there are millions of connections between the brain and the pelvic region.

As can be seen by the way we dress ourselves, our genital area is a very vulnerable place and it has the potential to bring us shame and expose us to danger as well as bringing us pleasure.

An area with so many complex functions and essential roles to play must have been exquisitely designed and for sure the pelvis has been exquisitely designed. But it is also very easy for things to go wrong with such complexity. For this reason, the muscles and nerves of the pelvic region need careful handling when they are not working as well as they can. Specially trained physiotherapists can work with these nerves and muscles to restore their function. When they do that they re-create mobility, pain-free and pleasure generating ability and the sexual capability of the muscles to allow for sexual intercourse to happen easily and enjoyably.

Just as with any other muscles, the pelvic floor muscles can hurt and go into spasm, become weak and lose tone or become infiltrated with connective tissue. The nerves of the region need to be able to glide and slide within their sheaths and they need to be able to conduct without being compressed or stretched. Muscle changes and connective tissue changes can upset the functioning of the nerves and this can cause pain and an up-spiral of the muscular problems.

The pelvic floor muscle controls the vaginal wall, the external urethral sphincter (urinary continence) and the anal sphincter. Problems with this muscle can affect the ability to receive penetration sexually, cause pain with penetration (vaginismus), cause incontinence, frequency and urgency and even inability to urinate, it can also cause constipation, and contribute to irritable bowel symptoms.

The pelvic floor muscle is also part of the core muscles and when one part of the core group of muscles doesn’t work, the whole core is disabled. This can cause back pain and overload in other muscles like the psoas (hip flexor muscles). The core muscles form a circle of integrity which is like a hydraulic lift in its ability to stabilize the pelvic region. If one muscle is either too tight or too loose, the hydraulic lift can't work effectively. This can cause problems in many parts of the body and overstrain or overload many structures.

It can be said the pelvic floor is one of the most important muscles in the body, and an expert physio needs to intervene if it's not working properly.

Problems with the nerves in this region can cause ongoing pain and neuralgia. This is very disabling and needs fast, effective intervention medically and physiotherapeutically as soon as possible, by a physio trained in the treatment of chronic pain.

Get the help you need if your pelvic girdle is not working properly. Even if you suspect it's a problem, there are people who can help you.

Mindfulness for Pelvic Problems;

The body and the mind are intricately linked. Imagine yourself standing up in front of a huge audience to speak and notice the changes that occur in your body. If you tune in carefully, you will notice that your pelvic muscles will contract. Of course, your genitals are a place of vulnerability and when you are under threat you will contract the muscles that control them. Sometimes in very extreme stress, this contraction is so hard it exceeds the capacity of the muscle and failure occurs and the person may lose the control of their bowel or bladder temporarily.

Sometimes we develop a holding pattern, where this muscle remains contracted even long after its contraction is needed for threat management. If we have lived through a stressful time, this muscle may forget how to relax again.

We may unconsciously fear sexual intercourse, even when we are in a relationship with someone who we want to have sex with. This fear can be completely illogical and irrational, and we may be totally unaware that we are afraid at all. The pelvic floor muscle responds more to our unconscious mind than it does to our conscious mind. The only way we can connect with these factors is through mindfulness. Mindfulness means paying attention with curiosity and non-judgment and with absolute compassion to things we otherwise ignore. Once we can feel and understand what is happening in our pelvic region, we can allow ourselves to develop new patterns. We can practice relaxing and recreate neural pathways to allow for that. It's only with mindful attention that we can reverse these holding patterns and learn to use these muscles differently.

When we suffer from chronic and ongoing pain, we cannot resolve the problem at the painful place alone. This is because the problem is complex and is part of the brain’s protective strategies. The brain is hard-wired to avoid a threat and ensure safety. Using mindfulness, it becomes possible to connect with and understand the threat your brain is perceiving. This enables you to shift your unconscious beliefs and create new and more effective understanding.

You may have had a sensitizing event that required defense and your brain did what seemed most logical and effective at the time to defend you from the danger or unpleasant experience. This worked then, but sometimes this defense strategy becomes hard-wired into your nervous system and this can only be altered and released through mindful awareness.

An expert pelvic girdle specialist who is also a mindfulness coach can help you to work with your pelvic problem or sexual dysfunction this way and the results are very good and are lasting because the source of the problem is being attended to.

Not only will mindfulness help your pelvic problem, it will help you to enjoy sex more freely and intensely, it will help you to use your body more effectively and it will also have hundreds of other health benefits like lowered blood pressure, increased focus, better sleep quality and many more.

This blog was written for MSH.

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