Mayday! Mayday! My Pelvic Floor is Malfunctioning…
You’ve searched near and far for the answer to the problem lingering in your loins only to find yourself reading yet another blog post. (Sigh…)
There’s copious amounts of conflicting information out there about pain down below.
Pelvic floor this, pelvic floor that.
It leaves your head spinning and you feeling ever more hopeless and confused.
Luckily, you’ve landed here on this no-bullshit blog. The aim of this post is to demystify the pelvis, to explain the ins and outs of your pelvic floor “dysfunction” as it relates to pelvic pain, and to reclaim your “area” and all its glory.
So hold on to your knickers, because we’re about to dive deep - pun, totally intended.
Let’s get something straight right off the bat. Pelvic floor “dysfunction” isn’t a disease or permanent illness.
I’m confident Google MD did a good job at scaring the shit out of you so I’m not about to go down the same rabbit hole. I’m here to tell you that no matter what you’ve read online, pelvic floor dysfunction doesn’t mean you’re flawed or that your muscles are malfunctioning.
When you see that term “dysfunction”, all it usually means is that your muscles are functioning in a different way to what was intended. In the case of pelvic pain, I’d go further. I’d argue that the muscles are often over-achieving - functioning the way they’re supposed to and trying to protect you by working so hard.
Pain, tension, tightness, over-activity, or whatever term you’ve heard to describe what’s happening down there, is a result of your brain and nervous system igniting a response - protection.
Protection comes in many forms - motor, endocrine, immune, respiratory, cardiovascular, emotions, pain. These happen when your brain detects that there’s a threat lurking down below and naturally the alarm bells go off. The more you use a body part, the more real estate it has in the brain.
And let’s face it, peeing, pooping and sex are daily functions. So that’s a whole lotta real estate.
Anything pelvis-related can be taboo too, leaving you more in the dark about any issues. This contributes to ongoing excitation of your alarm bells.
I mean, it’s not like you go around showing your private parts to your family and friends.
“Hey Steve, would you mind just checking out my bits? Something’s not quite right down there…”
Not exactly something you hear very often. So you worry more and feel alone, exacerbating the issue.
The question I hope you‘re asking yourself right now is: WHY?
Why does my brain want to protect me by giving me crotch pain?
I wish the answer to this question were simple, but just as each snowflake has its own unique pattern, so do you. Truthfully, the answer to this question starts with you.
Before I go any further, here’s a newsflash: As long as you’re alive and have a body, pain is unavoidable. (Sorry to burst your bubble!)
Pain is a normal part of life and what you’re experiencing right now is the real deal, despite the fact that fancy scans and tests may not show anything. Let me assure you, this is often the case with pelvic pain, so you're not alone if this is you.
And that’s just it. Many healthcare providers, specialists, gurus and experts go on scratching their heads at this clinical phenomenon, trying to blame this or that.
That’s why - without context or explanation - you see them slap a generic label on you: PELVIC FLOOR DYSFUNCTION.
So, here you are, still in pain, worried that maybe they missed something more serious or that you’re just shit out of luck and have to live like this for the rest of your life.
Theories do float around as to why pelvic pain develops but none of them have yet been proven. As far as I know - and reading around the research is kinda my jam - there’s no definitive cause of persistent pelvic pain.
Oftentimes, it results from the perfect storm of causes and conditions coming together at the same time and in the same place, setting off those “handy”, AKA painful alarm bells.
Here are some reasons why your pain can persist despite no actual tissue damage or harm:
Nervous system on alert from ongoing pain
Frustration with failed treatments
Hearing multiple conflicting theories
Thoughts and beliefs about pain and what’s happening in your body
Lack of support
Brain and spinal cord changes in response to persistent pain
What you probably don’t realize is that the longer these issues persist, the better your brain and nervous system gets at protecting you. In most cases, this perpetuates the “headache in the pelvis”.
You’ve probably already guessed that Advil isn’t going to take care of that pain in your pelvis. You need an approach that will free you from pelvic pain and not slap a Band-Aid on it.
And here’s where I leave you hanging at the edge of your seat, biting your fingernails, anxiously waiting for more.
No, this isn’t some marketing gimmick. These days the human attention span is less than that of a goldfish. So to avoid a brain-freeze, I’ll be sharing my top three solutions for pelvic pain in the next post.