Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Pain

I've noticed this year (seemingly out of no where), I've has a lot of patients coming to me for treatment for conditions you may not typically expect a chiropractor or acupuncture provider to treat. One example is vertigo, but the most interesting has been patients with pelvic floor dysfunction.  I don't know what it is, but something is drawing them to me this year.

 The human pelvis with some of the pelvic muscles and ligaments represented. 

The human pelvis with some of the pelvic muscles and ligaments represented. 

Pelvic floor dysfunction, simply put, is the inability to properly control the muscles of the pelvic floor (those which support the organs of the pelvis and control bodily functions). Often times this lack of control presents as abnormal contraction of the muscles in this region. Symptoms range from difficulty with bowel and bladder function, sexual issues, pain or pressure in the pelvic region and even lower back pain. In addition to the muscles that line the floor of the pelvis, deep hip rotators and hip flexor muscles, superficial gluteal muscles and ligaments of the pelvis can be involved as well as the pelvic joints themselves. 

This condition is commonly seen in postpartum women, but affects just about anyone, even men - often the result of an athletic injury or after prostate surgery. 

For a long time, people didn't seek treatment for pelvic floor dysfunction. However, it seems the tide is shifting, as it appears recently that more and more people are seeking treatment rather than just living in agony. This is fantastic, because until recently, the idea of pelvic physical therapy seemed odd to some folks, but it shouldn't. If you can have a contracture in your bicep and seek treatment for that, why shouldn't you for pelvic muscle contracture? (Understandably, the region is more vulnerable but the therapists who treat these conditions are professionals. It is important to seek out a therapist's reputation first, of course, and if possible get the referral from a doctor or friend you trust.) 

While I myself do not perform specialized pelvic physical therapy, I have received referrals from those professionals to have their patients get trigger point needling to enhance the therapy they are already doing. And I've seen some great results!  

For many of the patients I've treated, needling has really kicked their rehab programs to the next level - past passive therapy and pain management and onto meaningful active care! THIS IS THE GOAL!!! THIS IS WHERE THE REAL CHANGE HAPPENS!

and it is THRILLING me! 

Don't get me wrong, I love helping all kinds of people with all kinds of issues, not just the less talked about ailments, but, what I find really gratifying is that these patients lives are truly changed in the most fundamental ways when they get this condition under control. The fact my needles can aide that process makes me really happy. It's why I do what I do. 

It should be noted that trigger point needling performed in my office does not involve any internal pelvic muscle treatment or complete disrobing of the patient. Patient's are draped appropriately to their level of comfort and deep needling is applied to the accessible muscles of the pelvic region. I leave the more specialized treatment techniques to the therapists best suited to perform that. 

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