Painful Pelvic Conditions Need Pelvic Therapy Treatment

The Great Falls Tribunepublished a piece Tuesday about McKenna Fromm, an eighteen-year-old girl who suffers from interstitial cystitis, pudendal neuralgia, and levator ani syndrome. Alone, each of these conditions can be debilitating, leaving patients in pain. Often each of these conditions is coupled with urinary or fecal incontinence. This piece, titled ?Great Falls Teen Fighting Three Painful Pelvic Conditions,? elucidates the struggle of patients who suffer from these conditions.

Each of these conditions is known to be difficult to diagnose, particularly interstitial cystitis which has ?[n]o specific diagnostic tests.?? Sometimes these conditions require surgery.? Other times, treatment includes ?a ?cocktail? of medications that include topical anesthesia or anti-inflammatory.?

However, one aspect of this article fails to truly emphasize is the role of physical therapy in treatment.? Stephanie Prendergast, president of the International Pelvic Pain Society, demonstrated this point well in a Facebook post about the Tuesday article.

?More often than not, pelvic pain syndromes are driven by the musculoskeleture of the pelvic floor. That said, when something goes amiss with the pelvic floor all of the many systems that make up this unique part of the body will most likely become involved--the muscles, nerves, organs, and derma of the area become locked in a vicious pain cycle that needs to be broken. Physical therapy has an important role to play in the unwinding of this pain cycle. That's because a PT is in the best position to uncover and treat any musculoskeletal impairments that are contributing to a patient's pain/symptoms?

??What often happens in these cases is that the patient's pelvic floor muscles guard in response to the pain of the infection; however, once the infection clears, the muscles remain in this tight, guarded state causing a lack of blood flow to the area and the formation of trigger points, both of which can cause the symptoms that McKenna presents with. What a PT can do in such a case is to manually relax any tight muscles, and treat any trigger points or other musculoskeletal impairments contributing to the patient's pain. That said, to date, there is no standard of care when it comes to pelvic floor PT. It is my opinion that manual, hands-on treatment under a multidisciplinary setting is the best approach to treating pelvic pain for a patient like McKenna. I am hoping that this is the kind PT that McKenna is currently receiving.?

Well said, Stephanie.? We completely agree.? The more people know about these conditions and realize the role PTs have in treatment, the better off patients will be.

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