I have a new video for you: Yoga for Pelvic Discomfort! This 30-minute routine may be helpful for various types of pelvic discomfort, including: Coccydynia, Pudendal Neuralgia, Proctalgia Fugax, Dyspareunia (painful sex) as a result of Vaginismus or Vulvodynia… Or simply a generalized sense of pelvic pain or tension.
Yes, these are all very different conditions and different diagnoses, but all of them can benefit from a similar exercise/movement approach:
- Opening up the outer hip, inner thigh (groin area), and pelvic floor muscles.
- Breathing fully and deeply.
- Down-regulating the central nervous system via gentle movement and relaxation techniques.
If you have pelvic discomfort, now is NOT the time for kegels, booty sculpting moves, or advanced core workouts. Now is the time to let go. Please click the video below to watch Yoga for Pelvic Discomfort.
*This article (and accompanying video) is not a substitution for individualized medical evaluation and treatment. Stop if anything causes pain or discomfort. See full website disclaimer here.
My Experience with Coccydynia
Recently I had an experience with tailbone pain that developed suddenly, and completely out of the blue. This is known as idiopathic coccydynia, and it’s a relatively common form of the condition. I truly have NO IDEA why it happened — I didn’t experience any type of trauma or injury — but it lasted approximately two weeks, and during that time it was very difficult to sit!
I developed my Yoga for Pelvic Discomfort routine during this time period, and I was lucky enough to experience relief. I’m now symptom-free. I can’t guarantee that this routine will work for everyone, but it’s definitely worth considering as a starting point.
You can also view my full playlist of YouTube videos for pelvic pain/tension HERE.
BEHIND the Yoga for Discomfort Sequence
The Yoga for Pelvic Discomfort sequence begins with a brief period of breath awareness, bringing attention to the abdomen and pelvic regions and deepening and lengthening the breath. This is not only relaxing, it also begins to release the abdomen and breathing diaphragm.
Next, you’ll lengthen the side body (ribs and outer hips), providing more space to breathe, additional release of the breathing diaphragm, and an intro to the hip opening process. Moving on, you’ll stretch and mobilize the hips in ways that lengthen the hip flexors and stimulate the ascending and descending colon to regulate digestion.
The latter half of the video calms the sympathetic nervous system, opens the pelvic floor, and stretches the hip adductors (inner thigh muscles).
You’ll end with a deeply relaxing duo of final resting poses (legs up the wall pose and Savasana).
I truly hope you enjoy this routine as much as I enjoyed creating it!
A Note about Pudendal Neuralgia
Please see references at the bottom of this article.**
Pudendal Neuralgia (PN) refers to pain along the distribution of the pudendal nerve, which has 3 primary branches that go toward the anus, the perineum, and the clitoris (women) or penis (men). People with PN can have tingling, stabbing, and/or shooting pain anywhere in the territory of the pudendal nerve. Because the pudendal nerve also contains autonomic nerve fibers, individuals with PN may experience feelings of sympathetic up-regulation (i.e. the “fight or flight” response) when their pain spikes. This can manifest as an increase in heart rate, a decrease in the mobility of the large intestines, a constriction of blood vessels, pupil dilation, perspiration, a rise in blood pressure, goosebumps, and sweating, agitation, and anxiety.
There are many reasons for PN – a local nerve irritation from inflammation, tight muscles/connective tissue, compression (i.e. sitting for too long in a position with too much pressure), etc.
Pudendal Nerve Entrapment (PNE) has symptoms similar to PN, but in this case, the nerve is physiologically “trapped” due to congenital anatomical variations or scar tissue (or adhesions) associated with surgery or injury. True PNE is rare. The pain of PNE is usually described as unrelenting, although it may be worsened by sitting and may decrease when standing or removing pressure.
Please note that pain with sitting does NOT always equal PN or PNE. As stated in this article by Tracy Sher and Loretta J. Robertson, “A diagnosis of Pudendal Neuralgia truly involves a complete review of the patient history, diagnostic testing (if indicated) and a thorough exam. It doesn’t matter how many times a web search indicates pudendal neuralgia involves pain with sitting (or the Nantes Criteria indicates this), it does not mean you have PN if you have pain with sitting. Furthermore, pudendal neuralgia is not just one thing – it can show up as a variety of symptoms, depending on the branch affected.”
It is always important to look for WARNING SIGNS (or “red flags”) for other possible causes (other than nerve entrapment such as with PNE, or nerve irritation such as with PN):
- Waking at night due to the pain
- Loss of sensation (hypoesthesia)
- Changes in bowel or bladder function
- Pain that’s in one single “pinpoint” area, and not in the general distribution of the pudendal nerve
If you have any red flags, radiological examination (such as an MRI) should be requested. Talk to your doctor!
If you have ANY questions or concerns about your condition, you should NOT WAIT to be seen. Contact your gynecologist or other trusted healthcare provider (a women’s health physical therapist can also be helpful, if you have direct access in your state or country), and get the help you need.
My Yoga for Pelvic Discomfort video is not meant to be used as a standalone treatment, but it can be a great ADDITION to your regular medical care. Try it and see if it works for you. If it makes your symptoms feel better, then continue! If it aggravates your symptoms or is uncomfortable in any way, then please STOP. Everyone is different (even people with the same diagnosis), and everyone will respond differently to different treatments.
You know your body best. Listen to what it’s telling you!
Sending love and light! ~Dr. Bri, PT, DPT
- https://pelvicguru.com/2015/01/10/the-5-things-we-wish-you-knew-about-pudendal-neuralgia/ by Tracy Sher and Loretta J. Robertson, accessed 11/30/17
- https://www.pelvicpainrehab.com/male-pelvic-pain/male-pudendal-neuralgia/726/how-do-i-know-if-i-have-pudendalneuralgia-or-pudendalnerveentrapment/ by Stephanie Prendergast, accessed 11/30/17
"Lift" Pelvic Organ Support Series
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~Dr. Bri, PT, DPT