Your pelvic floor muscles naturally hold an elevated tension at rest. It is common for athletes and individuals who exercise a lot to have even more tension in their pelvic floor muscles because the pelvic floor muscles are part of your core muscles and, when the core is activated, the pelvic floor muscles turn on as well. This constant, elevated tension can sometimes trigger muscle contractions known as spasms. The spasms are involuntary, resulting from muscle guarding or partial muscle contractions due to a local irritant, and preventing them from occurring can be impossible. Some common examples of local irritants include urinary tract infections, yeast infections, gastrointestinal issues, and post-surgical pain.
Pelvic floor muscle spasms can make vaginal penetration very painful and sometimes intolerable. Vaginismus is the medical term used to describe pelvic floor muscle spasms from vaginal penetration. When these spasms occur, any form of vaginal penetration, from a routine gynecologic pelvic exam and tampon insertion, to sexual intercourse, can be excruciating.
Many women suffer in silence with this physical and mental pain. Years can pass without finding a solution. Oftentimes, gynecologists do not recognize pelvic floor muscle dysfunction and do not direct their patients to a pelvic floor physical therapist.
Fortunately, a well-trained pelvic floor physical therapist can reduce pelvic floor muscle tension at rest and resolve muscle spasms. The practitioner team at Rebalance Physical Therapy specializes in pelvic floor physical therapy and has decades of experience helping women struggling with pelvic pain.
Once the pelvic floor muscles have been successfully rehabilitated and the patient is able to experience pain-free vaginal penetration, a common question asked by women is:
“Once I’m ready to have kids, will I have more pain?”
Understandably, the thought of pregnancy and giving birth can cause apprehension in women who have previously experienced pelvic pain. They have suffered from frustration, anxiety, and even hopelessness. Because of the powerful emotions experienced in association with pelvic pain, they become fearful of any possible triggers, like the thought of childbirth.
But, there is good news!
Additionally, no findings indicate an increase in Cesarean section births amongst women with a past history of vaginismus.
The best way to improve the odds of having a successful pregnancy and vaginal birth is to consult with a pelvic floor physical therapist. At Rebalance Physical Therapy, you’ll work, one-on-one, with an experienced pelvic floor therapist to treat your pelvic pain throughout your pregnancy and postpartum. Your pelvic floor physical therapist will first evaluate and, if needed, correct your pelvic alignment. To facilitate a healthy pregnancy and birth, the therapist will teach you corrective exercises and posture to maintain your unique optimal pelvic bone position before giving birth. You will also learn proper breathing techniques to practice during birth. Proper breathwork is key in training the pelvic floor muscles to lengthen and relax during childbirth and leads to an easier delivery.
The physical therapist may also teach you perineal massage techniques for use before and during delivery to encourage a more comfortable pregnancy. The perineum is the space composed of tissue and muscle between the vagina and the anus. During childbirth, the perineum stretches and can sometimes tear. Perineal tearing can be mitigated or prevented through stretching and massaging of the perineum. Perineal massage also increases blood flow, encourages muscle relaxation, and alters pain perception. Lastly, a pelvic floor physical therapist can guide you through various delivery positions to make birth easier. Upright and side-lying birth positions have been found to be the most beneficial.
If you are not local to the Greater Philadelphia region, Rebalance Physical Therapy can still help you find relief through our 6-week at-home Female Pelvic Pain Solution video course! You will explore the underlying causes of your pelvic pain and learn to manage your symptoms with easy-to-follow treatments that take just 25-30 minutes each day.
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