There are many reasons for pelvic pain; Endometriosis, Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome, Polycystic Ovarian Disease, Vulvodynia, fibroids, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.
Having pelvic pain is stressful, it affects all parts of your life. Your work, play, sex life, sleep, ability to defecate or urinate. Often the treatments for pelvic pain leaves much to be desired, and many treatments are just a shot in the dark. Often we are treated, not as whole humans, but just as body parts. This is a toxic practice and we need treatment for our whole selves. Often most people with pain hear the same old line “you need to deal with your stress better.” I find this absolutely infuriating! I want to scream “I don’t live in a bubble!” every single time these words are spoken to me.
The irony is that the doctors are correct, we do need to learn with stress better. There isn’t a Stress Switch we can turn off and on. Having a medical professional telling a patient to do so is woefully inadequate.
One of the common under treated issues in the pelvis is Non-Relaxing Pelvic Floor aka Levator Ani syndrome, aka Pelvic floor Dysfunction. This is when the muscles of the pelvic floor are hyper-toned, or too tight. When these muscles are too tight they can cause pain, burning, and referral pain. When this is happening, the muscles are constantly in flex mode without an opportunity to relax.
The pelvic floor is a sling of muscles that support the pelvic organs. It goes from the coccyx to the pubic bone and from hip to hip. The Vagina, urethra and rectum are surrounded by these muscles.
The core muscles engage when we enter into our flight/fright/freeze state and the pelvic floor is part of our core recruitment process, This is a very important point to learn-when we are stressed the pelvic floor engages AUTOMATICALLY. It is part of our bodies process to keep us safe and secure, which is necessary for survival.
Now our brains are pretty smart…..but not THAT smart. They cannot tell the difference between a real and a perceived threat. This means that all the negative thoughts and stresses running around our brains can lead to pelvic floor engagement. This is why we need to learn to deal with stress. To help break this stress-pain-disease negative loop. Please take a minute to let that sink in. We create stress in our daily lives that our body automatically responds to, whether we want it to or not.
The pelvic floor is intrinsically linked to stress tension in our body; just like a neck and shoulder tightness from stress. There is also a link between clenching the jaw and holding the muscles of the pelvic floor.
So why yoga? How can one activity help your body in so many different ways?
Yoga has a unique position to be able to help you bring balance to your body, mind and spirit. Since pelvic floor dysfunction is connected to all 3 integral parts of us, we need to treat our entire selves. We need more than just medication and doctors visits.
We need yogic relaxation to help us release the tight muscles and to bring our bodies into the rest and healing state. We need yogic philosophy and meditation to learn how to deal with the variety of stress in our daily lives as well as how to treat ourselves with care and compassion. Pranayama (breathing) can help us get out of the stress state. Combining pranayama and asana (movement), we can teach our pelvic floor to engage and release properly. By learning to express our true selves we can be at peace and bliss.
Yoga is an amazing tool to help us break the pain cycle. It is not going to cure you of your disease, but it can make a dramatic impact on your quality of life. The variety of yoga practices helps the different pains our body goes through. Every day is different for our bodies and there is a yoga practice that can help each day.
If you like what you see here please come find me on FB! Helena Spears Yoga, or follow through the links on the bottom of the page. I also have a fb group called “Yoga for people with pelvic pain” this group is linked to my FB page. You could also go to the contact page and book in a free 15 minute call with me to see how I can help you start your Yoga journey