By Riva Preil
Stress can be a little devil. Not only can it result in tension headaches and jaw pain, but it can also result in tightness in the pelvic floor muscles. In men, this pain has been described as “a golf ball in the rectum” or “stabbing pain in the groin.” It can interfere with one’s ability to urinate, pass bowel movements, participate in intercourse, tolerate prolonged sitting, or even wear underwear. Oftentimes, these symptoms are often misdiagnosed as chronic prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) when in truth, there is NOTHING wrong with the prostate… however plenty wrong with the pelvic floor muscles. Therefore, drugs, including antibiotics, prostate reducing medications, anti-inflammatories, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, and steroids, do NOT help alleviate the pain.
An extremely effective approach to combat the pelvic floor muscle tightness is TRIGGER POINT THERAPY. This approach involves applying pressure to the tight muscles to help them relax and release. Fortunately, the FDA has recently approved a therapeutic wand, a two-foot long plastic device with a finger-tip like rubber end, to allow individuals to treat their own pelvic pain. The device has a pressure gauge to ensure that patients don’t apply too much pressure while performing the internal self-treatment. Dr. David Wise (a psychologist) and Dr. Rodney U. Anderson (emeritus professor of urology at Stanford’s medical school) worked with physical therapist Tim Sawyer to develop a thorough treatment plan for patients to perform their own internal trigger point releases through a program that become known as the Stanford pelvic pain protocol. This approach has been accepted by the American Urological Association.
Fortunately, we here at Beyond Basics Physical Therapy have been aware of the benefits of the wand long before the FDA. It is a tool that is often employed during treatment and as part of home programs, for both male and female patients (depending on the judgment of the skilled physical therapist). Perhaps this approach can help YOU treat your pelvic pain! Please contact us at Beyond Basics Physical Therapy with any questions you may have, including whether the wand is appropriate for you!