If you suffer from pelvic pain, you’re not alone: it affects many women in the United States in their lifetimes, and can cause discomfort with prolonged sitting and during sexual intercourse. It can also occur in men. At NewYork-Presbyterian, we understand how pelvic pain can impair your quality of life. Our rehabilitation medicine experts use nonsurgical methods to address pelvic pain due to muscle, joint, nerve, and bone problems, so you can live a more comfortable life.
A Team of Specialists
Pelvic pain can be a frustrating condition because it has many overlapping causes. It is often difficult to diagnose accurately because diagnostic testing isn’t always helpful. Many people who experience pelvic pain have sought evaluation by many physicians, only to be left without a diagnosis or treatment plan. At NewYork-Presbyterian, our rehabilitation medicine doctors (physiatrists) coordinate your care with other specialists such as gynecologists, urogynecologists, urologists, colorectal surgeons, and gastroenterologists as a multidisciplinary team to identify the cause of your pain and to customize a plan of care to relieve your symptoms.
What Causes Pelvic Pain?
Pelvic pain is often due to:
- Pain or tightness in the muscles of the pelvic floor (the muscles, ligaments, connective tissues, and nerves that support the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum and help these pelvic organs function)
- Muscle weakness, dysfunction, and imbalance
- Inflamed or entrapped pelvic nerves
- Bone and joint pain
- Lower back pain
- Groin pain
- Hip pain
A Thorough Evaluation
The first step in your care is an assessment of your symptoms to determine what is causing your pain. Your evaluation will include:
- Musculoskeletal evaluation of the way you walk, as well as your posture and your spinal and pelvic alignment.
- Neurological examination using manual muscle testing and sensory/reflex texting.
- Evaluation of your lumbar spine, lower extremities, hip and pelvic joints, and related muscles.
- Examination of your abdomen and abdominal muscles.
- Vaginal or rectal examination to assess your pelvic floor muscles.
Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Pelvic Pain
Once we learn the cause of your pelvic pain, your physiatrist puts together the treatment plan that works best for you. Your pelvic rehabilitation plan may include one or more of the following therapies:
- Physical therapy with pelvic floor exercises to address weakness, tightness, or imbalance in the pelvis and pelvic floor muscles and to relieve pelvic joint pain.
- Medications to relieve your discomfort.
- Pelvic floor muscle injections to decrease pain and tightness and nerve blocks to resolve pain coming from nerves (available at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell).
- Biofeedback using visual signals on a computer monitor to train your brain to consciously relax and/or contract the pelvic muscles.