Pelvic pain can have a number of underlying causes. Some of these might be acute such as appendicitis, diverticulitis, urinary tract infection, ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cysts, and fibroids. Other causes of pelvic pain might chronic such as Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, herniated disc, sciatica, radiation damage from cancer treatments and endometriosis.
If you have sudden pelvic pain that is severe, you should see a doctor immediately. Pain that is chronic can last weeks, months, even years. If it interferes with your day-to-day life and the activities you can participate in, you should see a pain doctor.
A Better Understanding of Chronic Pelvic Pain
Medical experts are now able to validate what many women have long since known. Researchers at the International Pelvic Pain Society in Birmingham, Alabama, have found that people can have hurt a lot even with little pathology. Research over the past 4-5 years in women have helped get a better understanding of the neurophysiological process.
Researchers found that chronic pain causes an increase in the sensitivity of the cells transmitting the sensation of pain. This is referred to as CNS upregulation. The spinal cord transmits pain signal to your brain and then back to your organs. If chronic pelvic pain cannot be stopped, it can lead to multiple disorders, which can eventually become an end-stage disease.
Harmony Women’s Health in Los Altos, California researchers have found that inflammation can cause chronic pelvic pain. They found that when the inflammation was treated the pain disappeared.
The New Jersey Pain Institute at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Brunswick, N.J found that individuals have undergone a traumatic event in the past, such as being raped, store that information in the non-linguistic side of the brain as a feeling of terror rather than a memory of the actual event. Trauma causes the nervous system to speed up and so pain is perceived as severe. These individuals don’t have a graduated pain scale. It’s either off or on and on is severe.
There is a great deal that chronic pain sufferers might not understand about their pain. In fact, many general practitioners don’t really understand chronic pain, which is why if your doctor has not been able to bring your chronic pain under control, you should ask to be referred to a pain doctor who does understand chronic pain and can work with you to create a pain management protocol.
How Pain Doctors Can Help You
There are a number of treatments a pain doctor might recommend including lifestyle changes, medications, therapies and surgery including the following:
• Lifestyle changes – This can help working on improving your posture, doing stretches, and exercises that you are instructed to do daily. It can also include relaxation, nutritional therapy, and supplements.
• Physical therapy – These therapies combine physical therapies like acupuncture with nerve stimulation therapy and relaxation techniques to help you not tense up.
• Pain medications – Prescription and non-prescription pain medications and NSAIDs.
• Interventional pain treatments – This is a hypogastric plexus block that has a high success rate.
• Surgical procedures – In a small number of cases where you don’t respond to treatments, surgery may be an option your pain doctors recommend.
Also Read: Pain Management For Chronic Pelvic Pain