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Physiotherapy for Chronic Pelvic Pain

Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) is a common condition, with similar rates in the general population as migraines and asthma. CPP essentially means pain experienced below the belly button and above mid-thigh for a duration greater than 3 months. There are many causes of chronic pelvic pain and it is important that you have a thorough review if you suffer with pain, as the different causes require different treatments.

What causes chronic pelvic pain?

Causes of pelvic pain can be divided into:

  • Urological or Bladder pain disorders (e.g. interstitial cystitis)
  • Anorectal pain disorders
  • Gynaecological pain disorders
  • Neuropathic (nerve based) pain disorders – (e.g. pudendal neuralgia)
  • Sexual dysfunctions – (e.g. Vaginismus)


Often the consequence or even the cause of pelvic pain can come from the pelvic floor and wall muscles becoming overactive, short and tight.  Overactive pelvic floor muscles can cause:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Difficulty using tampons
  • Hesitancy and discomfort with urination
  • Back pain 
  • Constipation

How can physiotherapy help with chronic pelvic pain?

Seeing an Alana Physiotherapist is an excellent first step in managing your chronic pelvic pain.  An important part of your treatment is for you to regain control of your pelvic floor muscles so they can get back their full range of motion of contract, relax and gentle bulge for bowel emptying.  Treatment options for pelvic pain are varied and dependent on your condition, and can involve a combination of:

  • Desensitisation of the nervous system with movement and manual therapy
  • Relaxation and stretching of the pelvic floor muscles
  • Learning to relax the pelvic floor muscles with feedback
  • Dilator therapy 
  • Postural adjustments for bowel emptying


You can download the Alana Guide to Managing Pelvic Pain here.

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