When someone is suffering from chronic pelvic pain, sometimes they feel as though they would be willing to try anything to relieve the constant agony and disruption to their lives. And sometimes, when people are pushed to the point of resignation, they end up relieving the pain but wind up addicted to opiate painkillers. So, the trick is to address the pain early on before it gets so out of hand that you rely on highly addictive substances for pain management.
To stay ahead of the pain, here are some treatments that are suggested for pelvic pain:
- Pelvic floor physical therapy (specialty): Pelvic floor physical therapy is a specialized treatment that focuses on relieving pelvic pain and improving pelvic muscle function, which involves a combination of stretches, exercises, and relaxation techniques that target muscles and connective tissues in the pelvic region. By strengthening and relaxing these muscles, this type of specialized therapy has been proven to reduce pain as well as improve urinary and bowel function.
- TENS units: (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) units are a non-invasive treatment option for chronic pelvic pain. They send electrical impulses through the skin, which help block pain signals from reaching the brain, thus providing immediate pain relief. Additionally, many users find that TENS can be a self-management tool to control pain flare-ups.
- Massage therapy: Relieves chronic pelvic pain by promoting relaxation, reducing muscle tension, and improving blood flow to the pelvic region. Therapeutic massage techniques such as myofascial release and trigger point therapy can help release tight muscles and alleviate pain. Additionally, the tactile stimulation of massage can improve overall well-being and reduce stress and anxiety often associated with chronic pain. The myo-facial release component is incredibly beneficial to many suffering from pelvic pain.
- Epsom salt baths: Regular Epsom salt baths relieve chronic pelvic pain as these salts contain magnesium sulfate, known for its muscle-relaxant properties. When dissolved in warm water, Epsom salts can help alleviate pelvic muscle spasms, reduce inflammation, and promote relaxation. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath for about twenty minutes a few times a week can relieve pain significantly.
- Flexural (cyclobenzaprine): This muscle relaxant is prescribed to relieve pelvic muscle spasms as well as reduce pain by blocking the pain signals sent from the muscles to the brain, thereby providing temporary relief. Although, it is essential to use medications under the guidance of a healthcare professional and follow the prescribed dosage to avoid dependency or other side effects.
- Anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medications: For mild to moderate chronic pelvic pain, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium may be recommended; however, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before using these medications long-term or in higher doses.
- Surgery: To remove adhesions, fibroids, and/or endometriosis
Chronic pelvic pain is a debilitating condition that significantly impacts quality of life. Therefore, essential to address it in its early stages as a means to prevent the pain from escalating and progressing into more severe complications.
Note that each person’s experience with chronic pelvic pain is unique, and treatment approaches almost always vary, so it is imperative to consult with a healthcare professional specializing in pelvic pain to determine the most appropriate and effective treatment plan.
For example, they may recommend a combination of physical therapy, medication, lifestyle modifications (like reducing caffeine and carbonation consumption), and other interventions tailored to their specific needs. Personally, as a sufferer of chronic pelvic pain, that “reduction” in caffeine is hard to comply with!
Is it normal to have pelvic pain every day?
Unfortunately, for some, the answer is yes. And, because chronic pelvic pain is often caused by an abnormal function of the nervous system, it may be linked to other types of conditions, such as:
- Psychological conditions
- Gastrointestinal conditions (discussed further below)
For example, when someone is under continuous stressors that exasperate their anxiety, there may be a tendency to “internalize” the stress, therefore causing the core muscles to tense up constantly.
Stress contributes to pelvic pain by activating the body’s stress response system, also known as the fight-or-flight response. When a person perceives a threat or a stressful situation, the body releases stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. And when stress becomes chronic or prolonged, the constant release of stress hormones can ultimately lead to muscle tension and inflammation.
In the context of chronic pelvic pain, continuous stressors can lead to the tightening of muscles in the pelvic region, manifesting as pelvic muscle spasms or trigger points, causing discomfort and pain. The pelvic muscles are interconnected with other muscles and connective tissues, such as the abdominal and lower back muscles. When the pelvic muscles tighten due to stress, it can create a cascade of tension and pain throughout the entire pelvic area.
Remember, if you suffer from these problems, always consult your gynecologist, urologist, or primary health care provider.
What diseases cause pelvic pain?
As mentioned above, gastrointestinal issues can contribute to pelvic pain. Some gastro and other causes could include:
- Colon cancer
- Crohn’s disease
- Intestinal obstruction
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease)
Pelvic pain or pressure is common for ovarian and uterine cancers as well. More frequent or urgent need to urinate and/or constipation are common for ovarian and vaginal cancers, so it is exceptionally imperative to seek medical attention immediately should you experience any concerning pelvic pain.
Is chronic pelvic pain curable?
Typically, chronic pelvic pain requires long-term management as there is no medical cure for this condition, treatments vary depending on the underlying problems.
Chronic pelvic pain can be a complex health problem. Sometimes, tests may find that a single disease is the cause. In other cases, the pain may stem from multiple medical conditions. Should the cause of the pain be found, it can be treated. On the other end of the coin, if the cause is unknown, treatment focuses strictly on pain relief.
This understanding is an essential cornerstone of managing CP/CPPS patients.
Chronic pelvic pain treatment
In conclusion, early intervention and a multidisciplinary approach to treating chronic pelvic pain are essential. People might find relief and improve their overall well-being by utilizing therapies such as pelvic floor physical therapy, TENS units, massage therapy, Epsom salt baths, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory meds. Working closely with healthcare professionals to develop a comprehensive and personalized treatment plan that addresses the underlying causes of chronic pelvic pain is crucial.