Persistent Pelvic Pain: holistic tools for management of pain and discomfort
Updated: May 20, 2022
I’ve recently shared a poll on social media asking whether you’d be interested in learning what I do about experienced but undiagnosed pelvic pain that I’ve been experiencing for several months. The response was overwhelming 100% yes, and so here’s a little insight into the tools I’ve been exploring that help me manage pelvic pain.
A disclaimer before I jump straight in; It’s important that you speak with a professional and get properly examined, if you’re experiencing pain or discomfort in your pelvis. I have done several scans, blood and urine test all of which were perfectly fine. I already have a diagnosis of fibromyalgia and feeling pain in different parts of my body has become my “normal”. Yet, when a new kind of pain arises and persists for a period of time, I always check with my doctor.
I’ve become very curious about the pelvic area as it carries the reproductive system, the intestines and includes a few complex muscles. The whole pelvic floor that acts as a bag for the organs resting in there deserves a chapter, if not a whole book, of its own. Not to mention the psoas muscles which hold and support us and are the first ones to tighten in times of stress, fear or anxiety.
Reconnecting with my pelvic area and releasing tension is what I decided to focus on in my daily experiments.
Over the past month I’ve been practicing lovely, gentle and nourishing psoas release practices with a teacher I very much respect, Kaya Mindlin. I dare to say this has been life changing, although very subtle. When it comes to our bodies, we tend to either stretch or strengthen our muscles, but we rarely give them a chance to release tension in a safe and fully supported manner. It’s there, in the relaxed state, where healing and subtle changes can happen physically and energetically.
One of my favorite ways to release the psoas and rest the body is in chair supported savasana. Simply lie on the floor and rest your legs on a chair, sofa or a coffee table. Do not hesitate to cover yourself with a blanket and if your head is uncomfortable/your chin higher than your forehead, pop a folded blanket or a flat cushion under. You can stay here for as long as it’s comfortable. Ten minutes is my personal sweet spot. Try this at the end of your yoga practice or on its own, whenever you need a little break.
Reconnecting with your pelvis
In my lived experience with fibromyalgia and through studies with experts I’ve learnt that when we repeatedly dissociate from our body or part of it as a result of trauma or persistent stress, our brain is “unable to find” that body part on its map and searches for it by sending pain signals into that area. Physically reconnecting with parts of our body where we feel pain can be powerful tool on the way out of persistent pain.
You can simply bring your hands onto the sensitive area and feel the warmth of your hands in your belly, hips or sacrum. Keep your hands on the spot or caress the whole area. This aids with the brain-body connection.
You can achieve similar effect with sound. Take a comfortable seat or lie down, inhale through the nose and produce a deep humming sound as you exhale (through the nose or through pursed lips). Tune inwards into your body and try to feel the vibrations of the sound all the way in your pelvic region. It may take a bit of practice to feel the sound deep down.
I love me a little belly massage and I find it very calming, refreshing and connecting. For this exercise, you can either fold a blanket or a towel into a strip the width of the area between your lower ribs and hip points. Place the blanket on the ground, lie down on your belly over the blanket and simply breathe into your belly. The little pressure of the blanket will do the job.
For a more pronounced experience you can use half deflated pilates ball. Lie down on your belly, place the ball under and then gently roll over the ball drawing an imaginary circle on your belly with the ball.
I will keep this one short because I’m not a nutrition expert, but it goes without saying that healthy, home cooked anti-inflammatory diet goes a long way and will do no harm trying. Cutting on sugar, processed food, deep fried food and gluten will do well to any one of us. I don’t want to advocate for a particular eating regiment, just sharing my own experience – significantly decreasing sugar and gluten intake has been really helpful for me.
Trusted holistic professional
If doctors tell you all is well, but you experience persisting pain, there’s whole lot of other medical and non-medical professionals with holistic attitude that can be of service to you. I have been seeing my fascia therapist twice weekly for years now, who is also a physio (kinesiotherapeut as known in Belgium and France). He’s helped me tons when it comes to fibromyalgia and we’ve been recently exploring the pelvic area through muscle release and fascia release, which has given me some valuable insights into the workings of the body, and of course some pain relief.
Ask around for recommendations and try a few professionals to find someone you click with.
I hope that some of the above information can be of value to you or to give you a direction in which to explore. I myself am on this journey, which can be frustrating at times. Having unexplained pain makes you doubt the health care system and eventually doubt yourself and your sensations, too. But it’s also an invitation to get curious, learn about the body, the mindbody and about ourselves. Yoga and holistic healing is not an answer to every chronic pain and illness, but I believe it’s worth trying.
I love connecting with you. Do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or comments about this theme.
I wish you an enlightening journey.