The pelvic area is a complex and important part of the body that serves several functions, especially for women. Pelvic pain can occur at different points during your menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, after giving birth, after surgery, or as a result of an underlying condition – such as endometriosis.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a disease that occurs during menstruation. It develops when the endometrium tissue (a similar tissue to the lining of the uterus) migrates outside of the womb, where it is not supposed to be. This results in inflammation, pain, and abnormal menstrual cycles.
If you are living with endometriosis, you are not alone. In fact, approximately 200 million women worldwide experience endometriosis with their menstrual cycles. Some common symptoms include:
- Severe cramping
- Heavy periods
- Periods lasting longer than a week
- Pain during intercourse
- Disorders of the bowel and/or urinary tracks
- In severe cases, infertility
How can I find relief for my endometriosis?
Endometriosis can affect the bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves in the pelvic region. Visceral manipulation (hands on therapy for your organ systems) and pelvic floor rehabilitation can help reduce the pain and bloating that you may be experiencing with endometriosis, in addition to strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and core with specialized exercise training.
Some common techniques used during visceral manipulation, core and pelvic floor rehabilitation include:
- Postural exercises. These exercises are aimed at improving posture and strengthening the pelvic floor muscles that affect posture.
- Myofascial exercises. These exercises will target the pelvic floor muscles and the connecting fascia. This treatment may include light exercise, in addition to stretches and massage, in order to target painful trigger points and provide relief.
- Diaphragmatic breathing. Deep breathing exercises allow your diaphragm to expand and contract, which helps in relaxing muscles in the pelvic area. When the muscles are relaxed, they will drop and lengthen, providing pain relief and allowing for regained function.
- Relaxation techniques. Relaxation is a large part of physical therapy. It allows your muscles to ease tension, making it easier for them to be stretched and massaged. Our Portland physical therapist may suggest some certain techniques, such as guided imagery or biofeedback, in order to help you relax.
- Organ mobility techniques. Endometriosis often causes adhesions and lack of mobility fo the affected organs. The ability of each organ to move about in the designated range it is meant to move within the body is critical for pain-free living. If that space becomes restricted or any part of the connective tissue becomes compromised that organ will not be able to move like it is supposed to.
- Organ motility techniques. Motility is the inherent cellular flow within each organ itself. When the mobility of an organ becomes compromised or there is a disease process going on in the body and the organ has to work harder, the motility (inherent cellular flow) becomes sluggish. Every organ has a specific pattern of cellular motion within it kind of like the tide of an ocean. Organs are fluid and very viscous in nature and so must be treated accordingly. If the motility of an organ is not optimal than the organ itself will not be able to function at an optimal level and do the work it is built to do for your body.
- Specialized core exercise training. Your core is designed to function as one harmonious unit creating a healthy, mobile, and nourishing environment for your abdominal and pelvic organs as well as a stable base of operation for your entire body to function. Primary core muscles include your diaphragm, pelvic floor, rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominals, and multifidi. With endometriosis mobility and nourishment are critical.
If you are suffering from endometriosis, don’t wait any longer to contact Providence Physical Therapy. Schedule an appointment with us today to get started on your path toward relief.