When you experience pelvic floor pain, it can hinder your daily life. Find out how physical therapy can help get your pelvic muscles feeling back to normal.
by Featured Provider Nicholas Warnken on Monday, September 12, 2022
Biceps, calves, and hamstrings — all muscles that we can easily pinpoint the pain and quickly receive treatment for. We often forget muscles that we don’t think about as much but still serve a critical function to our everyday living — like the pelvic floor.
Pelvic Floors Do More Than You Think.
Our pelvic floor is made up of muscles, tendons, and nerves just like every other muscle in the body, which means it can be injured and cause pain in the same way. It serves many purposes, including bladder and bowel movements, internal organ support, and especially in men — erectile dysfunction. When muscle tightness or nerve entrapment occurs within the pelvic floor, it can cause extreme discomfort. Many people don’t realize that physical therapy can be a solution to this painful problem.
“The purpose of physical therapy for patients with pelvic floor pain is to figure out whether the pain is muscle or nerve based and where the problem is coming from,” said Nick Warnken, PT. “If a specific muscle or nerve is causing the issue, we can address those particular muscles and nerves to help loosen that pain.”
How Does It Affect Me?
When you experience pelvic floor discomfort, your pelvic muscles aren’t relaxing or working together the way they should. This can result in constipation, frequent urination, incontinence, pain during sex, and ED. Many men who participate in higher intensity workouts, like long distance running, cycling, and weightlifting are also at increased risk for pelvic floor dysfunction.
If you experience a gradual increase in symptoms that don’t go away within three to four days, it may be time to see a provider.
“The pelvic floor is a vital area for overall health in men,” Nick said. “It is important for bowel and bladder control, but also very important for sexual function. Men will often become worried when they begin to have decreased sexual function. Any change in sexual function, bowel and bladder movements, or pain in the pelvic floor region is often not normal. Just like any other pain or dysfunction in your body, it is important to let your primary care provider know of these changes sooner rather than later.”
How Can Physical Therapy Help Pelvic Floor Pain?
Depending on the level of comfort determined by the patient, there are hands-on therapy exercises that can be used to treat the pain. Determining whether it is a muscular or nerve-based pain will help decide the course of treatment, which can include stretching techniques and nerve gliding exercises that emphasize building back up to general exercise for daily life.
“The biggest thing is physical therapy will move at the level the patient is comfortable with,” Nick said. From coming in to discuss possible issues and potential treatment, to a more thorough exam performed, physical therapy can offer significant education and treatment options for a wide variety of pelvic floor issues. More importantly, it is the job of the therapist to know when and who to refer out to when physical therapy is not the correct treatment.”
Whether your pelvic floor pain is a musculoskeletal problem, or something else, there are resources to help you. Talking to your physical therapist or primary care provider can get you on the road to recovery.