The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that attach to the front, back and sides of your pelvis and to the tailbone and sacrum. These muscles support your pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus or prostate and rectum, and wrap around your urethra, vagina (in women) and rectum. Coordinated contraction and relaxation of these muscles helps control bladder and bowel function.
In patients who have IC or other pelvic pain conditions, these muscles may be tight or spasms, have a combination of tightness and weakness or have pain-triggering spots or knots called “trigger points”. Pain referred from internal organs, such as the bladder, may set off muscle problems, but the muscle problems themselves can set off bladder symptoms. Pain can also be referred to the skin and other muscles, such as in your lower abdomen, lower back, buttocks, thighs, and perineal area. Pain there can also refer back to your internal organs, contributing to your symptoms.
Physical therapy to treat these problems can help to relax and lengthen tight muscles and release trigger points, thus decreasing pain. Your physical therapist should be specially trained in the techniques that help IC and pelvic pain patients. Your physical therapist may also looks at how you stand, walk and sit. Bone and muscle problems in your low back, hips, sacroiliac joint, buttocks or thighs can stress your pelvic floor muscles, contributing to your pelvic pain.
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