You Are An Overcomer
Pause for a moment and repeat aloud what you just read – “I am an overcomer”. Do you believe that? Do you truly believe that you have it in you to overcome your pain?
Over the years we have worked with hundreds of women who have persistent pelvic pain – and they get better. So we know that it is possible for pain to decrease and ultimately go away – but it must start with a mindset shift. With a bit of guidance from us and a lot of bravery from you, you too can overcome your pelvic pain.
Let us show you how.
The pelvic area is considered to be the area below your navel and above your thighs; it includes the lower abdomen, pelvic floor, pelvic organs, hips, groin, buttocks, lower back, tailbone, perineal region, vulvo-vaginal area, rectum, and genitalia.
Pelvic pain can be constant or intermittent, deep or superficial, provoked by touch or simply there. It can vary in nature (eg. dull, sharp, burning) or change based on activity (eg. urinating, sitting, or intercourse).
No matter the location or description, pelvic pain can have a tremendously negative impact on nearly every aspect of your life.
- dyspareunia (painful intercourse)
- vaginismus (involuntary spasm of pelvic floor muscles with penetration attempts)
- vulvodynia (generalized pain in the vulvar region)
- vestibulodynia (specific pain in the vestibule region of the vulva – also known as vulvar vestibulitis)
- clitroidynia (pain in the clitoral region)
- coccydynia (pain in coccyx or tailbone)
- dysmenorrhea (painful periods)
- endometriosis (pain caused by inflamed endometrial-like tissue outside of the uterus)
- adenomyosis (pain caused by inflamed endometrial-like tissue inside the muscular lining of the uterus)
- painful bladder syndrome (hypersensitivity and inflammation of the lining of the bladder wall – similar presentation to interstitial cystitis)
- levator ani syndrome or proctalgia fugax (tension or spasm in one major group of muscles that make up the pelvic floor)
- pudendal neuralgia or pudendal nerve entrapment (irritation or compression of a major nerve supplying the pelvic floor muscles)
- persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD is persistent or recurrent, unwanted or intrusive, bothersome or distressing, abnormal sensations that are not associated with sexual interest. PGAD is also referred to as genitopelvic dysesthesia)
- Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome – (CPPS is a descriptive diagnosis that you may have received from your doctor)
- Other types of pain due to: hormonal changes, menopause, abdominal or pelvic surgery, autoimmune disorders, internal scar tissue, gut or bladder dysfunction, pelvic girdle pain, SI joint pain, hip labral tears, myofascial or connective tissue dysfunction, trauma, or hypertonicity and overactivity of pelvic floor muscles
Anyone can be affected by persistent pelvic pain. At our practice, we work with women of all ages (and some children) who live with pelvic pain.
One of the most difficult features about pelvic pain is that it is invisible. People who suffer from this invisible pain seem “normal” to everybody around them. They have a hard time explaining to their partners, family members, friends, and coworkers just how much the pain is impacting their lives. This only adds a layer of complexity to the story.
If we understand what causes persistent pain, then theoretically, we should know how to treat it, right?
You may think that your pain is from a past fall, accident, event like childbirth, a sports injury, or an infection that you had. But are these events from long ago to blame for your ongoing pain? Even more confusing is pain that started out of the blue that you cannot attribute to anything specific.
You may believe that your pelvic tissues continue to be injured and damaged – but then why can’t your doctor find anything wrong with you? Why can’t the imaging and lab tests offer concrete findings? Why don’t the medications seem to be doing much? Why has it been months of doctors visits, tests, and pill prescriptions with no real change? Why did you have surgery only for the pain to become worse?
Permit us to be bold in stating something: your treatment thus far has been focused on managing symptoms but not at getting to underlying causes.
So what is the underlying cause of persistent pelvic pain?
What we are now learning through the fascinating study of neuroscience is that the brain and central nervous system is highly involved in someone’s pain experience. In fact, it completely runs the show. When we approach pain, we cannot just look at the offending body part. To effectively treat pain, we need to zoom out and examine the entire pain system itself. When that happens, we are finally able to make sustainable gains in the treatment of persistent pain.
The pain system consists of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) and the tissues of the body.
At The Mama’s Physio we care less about labels, and more about doing whatever works for you. Overall we adopt:
1) A bio-psycho-social-spiritual framework
This means we look at the whole person, not just one part. We consider the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual factors that may be impacting a person’s health, wellness, and experience with pain. We understand the psycho-somatic nature of pain – that the body impacts the brain and the brain impacts the body. We keep all these things in mind when working with you.
2) A multidisciplinary framework
We are really good at helping people with treating their pain from a biopsychosocial framework. However, sometimes much more in depth work is needed in areas like psychotherapy, medication management, surgery, nutrition, or alternative medicine. We have a fabulous network of healthcare professionals whom we respect. We may consult with them or we may recommend that you work with them as you move forward in your healing journey.
The first visit is the initial consultation which typically lasts around 75 minutes and takes place in a comfortable and private office with closed doors (or you may see us virtually as well). You share your story, let us know your goals, and we go over some important pain inventories that you’re sent beforehand to complete. We then complete a physical assessment.
The physical assessment may focus on a number of different areas depending on features in your story. We may evaluate your positions and movement patterns, breathing, your abdominal wall, lumbo-pelvic balance, your central nervous system, pressure system, or something else. The physical assessment may include an internal pelvic floor muscle evaluation, with your consent. (Note, we can only complete internal evaluations in person).
After completing the physical portion of the consultation, we share our findings, answers any questions, and outline a plan of care. Treatment sessions may focus on a number of different things including: pain education, mind-body awareness, brain remapping techniques, relaxation and tension-releasing exercises, improving flexibility and mobility, increasing strength, endurance and capacity, re-training your pelvic floor, manual therapy techniques such as myofascial work, breath training, lifestyle coaching, pain and flare up management strategies, acupuncture or dry needling, and more.
Certain tools, products, or other services (for example, naturopathic medicine or counselling) may be recommended to you as well.
Our Pelvic Pain Programs
We start by getting to know you and understanding your lived experience. We want to know how pain is affecting your life, what you have tried, and what your goals are.
After this, we check out how your unique body is working and let you know what we find. Our programs include custom recommendations, hands on strategies, practical advice, step by step home exercise protocols, email support, accountability, educational resources, product recommendations, letters to your healthcare team, and more. All that we offer is strategically designed to move you closer to living a pain free life.
Our persistent pelvic pain programs will help you – but only if…
You have one or more of the persistent pelvic pain conditions described in the FAQ above
- Your doctor has ruled out red flags and (such as cancer, growing cysts, mechanical diagnoses, or other significant pathology)
You are willing to think outside the box and try a new approach to treating your pain
You are not looking for quick fixes, but are ready to make a commitment to doing the challenging (yet rewarding) work of overcoming pain
I went to see Ibukun after a 4 year struggle with pain and discomfort following an injury to my leg. She did a very thorough assessment and listened intently before she made any conclusions and subsequent treatments. She was very keen to research my condition and then try non conventional methods which really helped me. Her level of interest – follow-up emails and time to demonstrate exercises and treatment that I could do at home were beyond my expectation. After just 3 visits I have seen significant improvement. I have been so impressed with Ibukun and my only regret is that I didn’t go to her earlier.