Is It All In My Head?

By Riva Preil

Join us tonight at Beyond Basics, 7:00 PM, for the next installment of The School of Pelvic Health.  The next fascinating class is entitled Sexuality and Pain- Is it All in My Head?  Stephanie will discuss how pelvic floor muscle tightness and dysfunction contributes to dyspareunia, pain with vaginal penetration, arousal, and erectile dysfunction.

As a pelvic floor physical therapist, one of my biggest pet peeves is when patients inform me they have been told by medical care providers there is apparently nothing wrong with them.  When diagnostic tests, such as X-rays, MRIs, and blood tests, are all negative, and there is nothing apparent or blatantly obvious that is “wrong,” patients at times begin to question themselves. Some patients have even told me that they were encouraged to “Just take a Xanax.”

This, my friends, upsets me tremendously.  Not only are some patients being mis/un-diagnosed with a proper diagnosis of pelvic floor dysfunction, but they are being told they are psychosomatic or simply too stressed.

I like to make a clear distinction to my patients: It’s one thing to say it’s all in your head, and it is another thing to acknowledge there is a strong mind body connection. I believe in the latter, and many of my patients will admit they notice a worsening of symptoms when they are stressed.  The reason for this is because stress affects our muscles and body in actual physical ways and the manifestation of these physical changes are often associated with muscle tightness and pain.

To learn more about the mind-body connection and how it relates to PELVIC PAIN, be sure to join the class tomorrow night!  We look forward to seeing you there!

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The Hysterectomy and Chronic Pelvic Pain

Often because of the lack of understanding behind chronic pelvic pain, a hysterectomy is performed in hopes of eliminating said pain. The problem is that this can also to rectify the problem. In her latest blog post, “Hysterectomy for chronic pelvic pain? Ask these 7 questions first,” Dr. Jen Gunter, board certified in OB/GYN and pain medicine, discusses some questions to ask yourself to see if a hysterectomy is really necessary. For starters, have you checked for Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Have you seen a pelvic floor physical therapist?

Before undergoing such a serious surgery, it’s important to make sure there are no other possible alternatives, that your pain could not have another cause. Imagine undergoing a hysterectomy and discovering your pain was still there? It can be traumatizing, and to save yourself the trouble, give Gunter’s list a good read-through, link above. She’s a smart cookie, and we like her up-front style. And of course, come talk to us if you have any concerns about your chronic pelvic pain–physical therapy can be a tremendous help, and we’re glad to help ease your pain!

Health Professionals Gather for National Educational Retreat

Check out the press release from Amy’s venture, the Alliance for Pelvic Pain’s upcoming weekend retreat!


CONTACT: Alexandra Milspaw
April 22, 2013


Bethlehem, PA – On April 27-28, 2013 leading health practitioners from New York, NY and Bethlehem, PA will arrive at Historic Hotel Bethlehem to host the first educational retreat for female chronic pain patients in the country.  Robert J. Echenberg, M.D. & Alexandra T. Milspaw, M.Ed., LPC, Deborah Coady, M.D., Amy Stein, M.P.T., and Nancy Fish, MSW formed the Alliance for Pelvic Pain and organized this weekend’s retreat, “Connecting the Dots of Your Experience,” which will offer educational seminars, interactive workshops, one-on-one attention and treatments by local health care practitioners, and more! Patients from 18 different states as well as Canada, and the United Kingdom will attend.


WHO: Patients, Health Practitioners from Bethlehem, PA & New York, NY
WHAT: Educational Retreat for Female Patients with Chronic Pelvic Pain
WHEN: April 27-28, 2013
WHERE: Hotel Bethlehem, 437 Main Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018

This retreat is created for female chronic pelvic pain patients with complex symptoms involving one or more of the following: Interstitial Cystitis (IC), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, Vulvodynia, Vestibulitis, Lichen Sclerosis, Pudendal Neuralgia, Endometriosis, and other pelvic, genital, and sexual pain disorders.

Heading the organization of this retreat, Alexandra T. Milspaw, M.Ed., LPC states, “Our mission is to expand knowledge and care to the underserved population of female patients with chronic pelvic pain. We seek to create an atmosphere where patients can feel safe to be their authentic selves. We listen. We care. We believe. This will be a weekend filled with compassion for the self, and forgiveness for others who do not understand the plight of chronic pelvic pain.”

Dr. Echenberg remarks, “My passion for integrated care in women’s health continues with the creation of this multidisciplinary regional approach to the clinical care, education, and research associated with pain in women. We hope that our retreat will contribute to ‘connecting the dots’ for individuals and the community at large.”

Those interested in receiving information about the next scheduled retreat please contact Alexandra at Visit