Trigger Point Therapy for Pelvic Pain
If you suffer from pain in the area of your pelvis — the large ring-like structure of bones between the hips — the pain may be coming from one or more trigger points.
A trigger point is a sensitive area in a muscle or connective tissue that becomes painful when compressed. The pain may radiate throughout the muscle and connective tissue. Pressing on a trigger point can also cause referred pain that is felt elsewhere in the body.
The pelvic floor consists of layers of muscle and other tissues that stretch from the tail bone at the back to the pubic bone in front. The pelvic floor muscles control the bladder and the bowels. Trigger points can be a source of pain in any part of the pelvic floor and cause the affected muscle(s) not to function properly.
Trigger points are generally caused by a muscle being “overloaded” following an acute, prolonged or repetitive incident. Trigger points may form in pelvic floor muscles for a variety of reasons, including:
- Trauma (injury or previous surgery in the pelvic region)
- Joint problems
- Stress (tension held in pelvis)
- Misuse of pelvic muscles, such as a change in walking or performing Kegel exercises incorrectly (an exercise used by women to strengthen pelvic floor muscles)
- Pregnancy/injury during childbirth
Pelvic muscle trigger points occur in both men and women. They may experience persistent pain resulting in a decreased range of motion in the affected muscles. In some cases, the pain can limit a person’s ability to walk, work, enjoy intimacy and perform the activities of daily life.
Among men, one of the most common symptoms of a trigger point is testicular pain. Other symptoms include difficulty voiding, prostates pain or urinary symptoms. Urologists need to rule out common causes such as infection, prostate growth (BPH) first before assuming the cause is pelvic pain.
Among women, common symptoms include pain during or after intercourse, difficulty voiding, pain during exercise and urinary symptoms. As in men, common sources of pain such as a urinary tract infection or other gynecologic conditions (cysts, fibroids, endometriosis) need to be rules out before assuming pelvic floor dysfunction.
Learn more about the Women’s Incontinence & Sexual Health (WISH) Program on the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin website.