Finding Relief for Pelvic Pain

Published January 26, 2017

By Kimberley Haynes-Henson, MD, Anesthesiologist

Pelvic pain is a very real condition. But because it can have many different causes, and even a combination of causes, it can be difficult to diagnose.

Kimberley Haynes-Henson, MD

While women are most likely suffer from pelvic pain, men can also be afflicted. Often described as a sharp or burning pain in the groin area that has not gone away for several months, pelvic pain should not be dismissed.

Many of my patients who complain of pelvic pain are really suffering. By the time a patients sees me, they often have seen seven or eight other doctors and they still don’t have an answer or adequate relief.

If you are having substantial pain, it is important not to delay getting help. Women often try to just put up with it. The problem with delaying help is that chronic pain can change the wiring of your brain, making it more difficult to treat. Chronic pain can also have an overarching affect on other parts of a person’s life that can affect one’s sleep, mood, energy levels, work and personal relationships.

Adhesions or nerve damage from a past surgery is a common cause of pelvic pain that is often difficult to identify. Men can get adhesions from chronic prostatitis or prostate surgery. Women may develop adhesions from endometriosis or past uterine surgeries. In addition, women who have been sexually abused may experience severe pelvic pain with no specific cause. Other common causes include inflammatory bowel syndrome, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, urinary tract infection, kidney stones or interstitial cystitis.

While pelvic pain is typically not curable, we can offer many interventions that can offer significant pain relief. My goal is to find possible causes of the muscle or nerve pain and determine when it’s worse or better. Then I will start treating the symptoms with the most noninvasive treatments such as physical therapy and medication. If it’s muscle spasms, muscle relaxant medications may help. If it’s nerve pain, antidepressants and anti-seizure medications may provide relief; and if a patient has adhesions, a special type of physical therapy that helps loosen scar tissue may help.

If these therapies do not provide adequate relief, the next step may be ablative surgery to destroy the nerves responsible for the pain, or nerve blocks, which involve injecting an anesthetic onto the nerves causing the pain.

Other treatments include trigger-point injections, which are performed for intense muscle spasms in the pelvic area. For severe lower back and pelvic pain, the spinal cord stimulator is another very effective option. This device sends electrical signals to the spinal cord to numb the pain.

Still others may benefit from our Chronic Pain Management Program, which is designed to help people who have had chronic pain for a very long time and suffer from depression, anxiety and sleep disorders as a result. This program incorporates cognitive behavioral therapy to help relieve pain that gets worse due to stress by helping patients learn better coping mechanisms.

This program helps patients by providing them with a lifestyle overhaul – providing tricks and tools to manage their pain and cope with everyday stress. The program has helped many people take control of their pain and get relief.

Even if we can’t eliminate your patient’s pain, we can vastly improve his or her quality of life and the pain’s severity.

Get Help for Your Pelvic Pain
There’s no need to suffer. Make an appointment with one of our pain specialists near you. Call 800.922.0000.