Pelvic Floor PainPelvic floor muscle tension can be a debilitating condition that may have far-reaching effects on a woman’s life including her intimate relationships. Physiotherapists seem to be treating increasing numbers of women with pelvic pain caused by pelvic floor muscle tension or overactive pelvic floor muscles.

Pelvic floor muscles can become taut with spasm and overactive just like other skeletal muscles in the body. Overactive pelvic floor muscles have increased tension and or an inability to fully relax, a little like having very tight and painful neck muscles that will not relax. When a woman experiences pelvic floor pain, this may actually cause her to involuntarily tighten her pelvic floor muscles even more, and so a cycle of ongoing pelvic pain and increased pelvic floor muscle tension or pelvic floor muscle spasm develops.

Sexual problems associated with intercourse and penetration. Vaginismus is the term used to describe the condition where the pelvic floor muscles spasm involuntarily with the threat of vaginal penetration which can prevent sexual intercourse, insertion of tampons and gynaecological examination. Sexual problems that result from overactive pelvic floor muscles can cause considerable emotional difficulty with stress, anxiety and relationship difficulties.

Ongoing pelvic floor pain and discomfort caused by pelvic floor muscle over activity or pelvic floor muscle spasm can be very stressful and anxiety provoking which often makes the condition worse. The physical discomfort associated with pelvic floor muscle tension presents differently in different women; it may present as pain, ache or discomfort in the low abdominal, low back and/or in and around the vagina and anus.

Pelvic floor muscle weakness results from the pelvic floor muscles contracting too much and tiring out. As a result, when they are required to work they are not able to, contributing to problems such as stress incontinence. The supportive function of the pelvic floor muscles may also be compromised, increasing the vulnerability to other pelvic floor problems such as vaginal prolapse.

Treatment can include any of the following:

  • Deep tissue releases external muscles
  • Muscle energy techniques to align the pelvis
  • Internal trigger point release to Pelvic Floor Muscles
  • Retraining of the Pelvic Floor Muscles
  • Bladder retraining
  • Dilators and partner release work
  • Exercise rehabilitation