Pelvic pain can be a chronic condition that disrupts a person’s quality of life. Pelvic pain can affect both men and women, but is more often seen in women who have experienced problems with their reproductive organs.
The pelvis is the area of the body just below the belly button and extends outward toward the hip region. Pelvic pain can be debilitating and difficult to diagnose, as the cause is sometimes unidentifiable. Just because the pain cannot be diagnosed does not mean that there is no treatment for this sometimes-chronic condition. When there is no known cause for chronic pelvic pain, the treatment plan focuses on pain management.
The numbers of people with chronic pelvic pain are substantial. According to the National Pain Foundation, the majority of sufferers of pelvic pain were women. Of the female population in the United States, approximately 20 percent experience some level of chronic pain in the pelvis, and of those cases, nearly 60 percent go undiagnosed. Women suffer for years without seeking help.
How is Pelvic Pain Diagnosed?
One of the biggest challenges with pelvic pain is finding out the cause for the chronic pain. A process of elimination is often conducted so that doctors and Florida pain specialists can try to determine what is causing the pain. A wide number of tests may be conducted, including a complete pelvic examination, ultrasound, various imaging tests, laparascopy, and other exams as needed.
Determining the underlying cause for the pelvic pain can be a lengthy process and in many cases, no cause is determined. When a diagnosis cannot be identified, the focus is placed on treating the painful symptoms. It is helpful to keep a pain journal to give to your doctor so that your symptoms can be carefully assessed. Your medical history in combination with your symptoms will be examined thoroughly in order to pinpoint the problem.
How Does Pelvic Pain Impact Daily Life?
Even if the root cause cannot be determined, you do not have to suffer from chronic pelvic pain. Pain doctors in Florida and reproductive specialists recognize that even though the cause for the pelvic problems cannot be determined, the pain can be life changing.
According to researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center, approximately 25 percent of people with chronic pain end up in bed for several days at a time, and over 60 percent must modify their daily living for several days each month due to chronic pain.
Women with chronic pelvic pain related to dysmenorrhea or other female problems report they must miss work on a monthly basis due to the pain. Some women have been forced to quit a full-time job and seek part time employment because the pain has impacted their lives enough to make significant changes.
Can Chronic Pain Be Treated?
The underlying cause determines the direction of treatment. However, when the cause cannot be found, chronic pain symptoms are managed in an effort to provide the patient with the quality of life they deserve. No one should live with chronic pain.
Your pain specialist in Florida may recommend a combination of treatments to help alleviate painful symptoms. Medications may be administered, including:
- Pain relievers
- Hormone therapy treatments
When medication does not provide relief, or not enough by itself, other therapies may be recommended. Physical therapy is among the most common treatment for chronic pelvic pain because of its high rate of success in relieving symptoms.
Physical therapy may consist of hot and cold packs applied to the pelvic region to relieve pain. Your physical therapist may suggest stretching exercises that are done in the center as well as at home. Gentle massage and strengthening exercises may also be recommended. It is important to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor in order to provide relief from pain. Statistics show that nearly 60% of all chronic pelvic pain sufferers are provided with some degree of relief from physical therapy and conservative exercise (Clemens, et al., Journal of Physical Therapy, 2007).
Trigger point injections are another form of treatment that helps relieve painful symptoms associated with chronic pelvic pain. If the pain specialist is able to pinpoint the exact location where pain is felt, a direct injection of numbing medication can be administered. The injection of the numbing drug usually provides relief for several weeks or months, depending on how strong the anesthetic is.
Superior Hypogastric Plexus Block
Injections may provide pain blockage and ease discomfort and tenderness that spreads throughout the pelvis.
Electrical nerve stimulation, also referred to as TENS, is another technique that helps relieve localized pain in the pelvic area. Often performed by a physical therapist or your pain specialist, the TENS unit delivers gentle electrical impulses to the nerve pathways (Samhan, Pain Journal, 2011). This procedure provides relief from various types of pain.
An additional interventional pain treatment for pelvic pain is a superior hypogastric plexus block. These injections are outpatient with an overall success rate of 70% (de Leon-Casasola et al, Pain 1992). Patients are able to decrease pain medications and pain relief often lasts over three to six months.
If you suffer from chronic pelvic pain, you do not have to live with it. Consult with your pain specialist to discuss the various treatment options available so that you can get on with life and eliminate the symptoms that are debilitating your daily activities.
The Florida Pain Network helps connect those in pain with pain management clinics throughout the state. This includes pain clinics in Orlando, Port St Lucie pain management, Delray Beach pain clinics and many more.
Visit this page and input your zip code and those clinics closest to you will pop right up! Or simply call (877) 877-8556 for assistance.