Your pain is REAL...
After I had my second baby, a perfectly beautiful amazing daughter, I began my journey into mothering 2 children, and also pelvic pain. Sometimes, I think birthing my daughter birthed my purpose. Intense, huh. Well, when I reflect, almost exactly 10 years ago now, I can see a little more clearly how it all intertwined.
My second pregnancy, like the first, was healthy, even relatively easy. I was strong, healthy, no big complaints. Both births were at a Birth Center, which means 4 hours after you give birth, they ensure you can pee, you are led out the door and on your way home. Off you go into the messy recovery of postpartum, mostly alone, aside from some support thru family, doulas, spouse, etc. if you're lucky.
As the days ticked into weeks, ticked into months, I had begun my own progression back into exercise. My commitment was always steady, so I more or less was doing "what I could" as soon as I could. Throughout that first year I continued to push my limits, progressing intensity, increasing weights as well as duration. Concurrently, I also began to notice pelvic pain. Sometimes with certain exercises, but mostly always with intercourse. As if that wasn't enough, I also began to have a cycle of reoccurring UTI's. I spent the better part of the year going to the MD, Urologists, Urogynecologists, and Urgent cares. I had resorted to carrying Kleenexes around in my purse, prepared knowing I'll have tears afterwards, repeating my story over and over again, while simultaneously feeling unheard, invalidated, and even hopeless at times. It was an endless cascade of treating the infection with antibiotics, the UTI going away, only to get another one in a month or two. Cue: repeat medical cycle, repeat emotional fallout. Now, despite being a PT, maybe you wonder how could this happen to me????? Wasn't I supposed to know more, realize how to get out of this cycle???
That year marked my own journey with pelvic pain, and ultimately became the reason I shifted my focus towards Pelvic Health as a Women's Health PT. It was unimaginable to me that the cycle I had been caught in was so baffling to endless numbers of Specialists. Wasn't that happening to other women? Why couldn't anyone really help me, and figure out why I was caught in this vicious cycle. What did others do when this happened? There had to be a way out of the maze.
My own healing came by way of a Pelvic Floor PT and a Naturopathic Physician. The Pelvic Floor PT addressed the imbalances in my tissues, both internally and externally. Eased the pains and discomforts in my body, and with time helped me restore better resting positions for my muscles away from dysfunction. Ultimately, helping me retrain the muscles that needed to have improved patterns. And importantly, allow me to return to life without pain. The Naturopathic MD addressed the physiological contribution and immune depletion, as a result of the repetitive antibiotic use. My body had to rebuild it's foundation, my immune system had been pummeled and needed to be lovingly and thoughtfully restored. The combination of healing both the inside and outside, as well as a lot of patience and commitment from me, became the ticket to getting better.
It's not uncommon that we fall into struggle; the path is often scary, isolating, invalidating, confusing, unclear, time consuming, and often not inexpensive. This struggle was in part what led me to become a Women's Health PT. Ideally, none of us should ever have to feel abandoned or invalidated by our medical system. I am always a partner with my patient. Know you are not facing your pain alone! There is help, good help, don't give up. Be persistent. Advocate for yourself. Ask questions. Stay involved. Make time. And most of all be hopeful. Stay consistent with your care even when you want to throw in the towel.
I hope this post leaves you feeling inspired and motivated! I'd love to hear about other's struggles, you can share below. If you're struggling with pelvic pain and feel alone message me about how to start your journey healing. There is help.
Rachel Aronson, DPT, PT, owner of Core Elements Physical Therapy, specializes in Women's Health and Orthopedics, validating one patient at a time along their healing journey. After receiving her Doctorate from Duke University in 2005, she brings 15+ years of experience in delivering care via a compassionate, kind, and calm expertise. She works with women helping them restore and thrive by using holistic hands on treatment, movement training, and functional strengthening. Empowering patients to regain hope and ditch fear! When you're ready to begin your rehabilitative journey she's your guide.