Pain in different body areas can excruciate the host as it can affect other regions. In the body, pain can affect the muscles, tissues, organs, and skeletal joints through environmental factors that affect the body’s systems. For example, the gut system provides the body with overall health and wellness by regulating homeostasis and metabolism, which can be affected by common factors like stress or unhealthy eating habits that can cause joint inflammation due to overproducing harmful gut bacteria. Or how about poor posture affecting the organs in the pelvic region and causing the lower back and neck muscles to have a dull ache in the body. Today’s article looks at how pelvic pain affects the somato-visceral reflexes in the body and how there are treatments for relieving pelvic pain. We refer patients to certified providers specializing in chiropractic treatments that help those with pelvic pain. We also guide our patients by referring to our associated medical providers based on their examination when it’s appropriate. We find that education is the solution to asking our providers insightful questions. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC provides this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
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Somatovisceral Reflexes & Pelvic Pain
Have you experienced pain in your lower back or pelvic regions from sitting too long? Have you experienced bladder dysfunction that is causing you to urinate frequently? Or are you suffering from muscle cramps in the pelvic area? Studies have revealed that pelvic pain can be a chronic, persistent pain associated with co-morbidities like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), neurological disorders, or low back pain. Pelvic pain is challenging to diagnose since it is multifactorial and shares various nerve roots that send signals to the brain. For example, individuals that suffer from pelvic pain will complain about the somatovisceral convergence affecting their reproductive organs and connective tissues. Other issues like prolonged sitting and poor posture can also affect the lumbosacral nerve root as it is being compressed, causing low back pain and pelvic organ dysfunction.
The somato-visceral reflexes of the pelvic muscles can become overstretched and compress the surrounding nerve roots like the sciatic nerve and the lumbosacral nerve, causing issues of sciatica or lower back pain. Studies have also revealed that individuals who suffer from spinal cord injuries can disrupt the somatic lumbosacral nerve pathway that is responsible for coordinating bladder function to the pelvic region. These pathways can also produce different autonomic reflex responses to the various organs and somatic afferents. For example, if a female is experiencing pain in her hips or thighs from hyper-sensitive nerve roots, the brain will register that as pain in her reproductive system. Or, if the pelvic muscles are hypersensitive to the touch, something might be affecting the genital regions.
An Overview Of Pelvic Pain- Video
Have you experienced muscle tenderness located in the pelvic region? Have stressful events caused changes in the reproductive system? Have you experienced pelvic pain that is associated with low back pain? You might be experiencing these systems due to pelvic pain and associated co-morbidities. The video above gives an overview of pelvic pain and how it affects the body. Research studies have revealed that the characteristic of mechanically induced pelvic pain and organic dysfunction that correlates to lower sacral nerve root compression results from low back disorders. The environmental factors that can cause low back conditions include:
- Heavy lifting
- Muscle strain
- Poor posture
- Herniated disc
Treatments For Pelvic Pain
Various treatments can help relieve these overlapping risk profiles associated with pelvic pain and low back pain that are causing the issue and strengthen the weak muscle affected. Exercising can help support the hip and thigh muscles to prevent muscle strain on the low back and pelvic muscles with the combination of chiropractic therapy to provide beneficial pain relief. Chiropractic therapy on the lumbar spine can help alleviate pelvic pain and lumbosacral nerve root irritation affecting the pelvic region. The effects of chiropractic therapy help sustain the caudal flexion of the lumbar spine and release the muscle that aggravates the lumbosacral nerve root that is running along the pelvic region.
Pain affecting the pelvic region can be due to co-morbidities affecting different areas in the body. With pelvic pain being multifactoral, it can be a challenge to diagnose since it shares various nerve roots signaling to the brain. This causes many individuals to complain about somatovisceral convergence that can affect their reproductive organs and connective tissues in the pelvic region. Other issues like low back pain associated with prolonged sitting and poor posture can cause pelvic pain too. Treatments like chiropractic therapy and exercising can help strengthen the low back and pelvic muscles to alleviate painful symptoms that are causing underlying issues and discomfort in the body.
Browning, J E. “Mechanically Induced Pelvic Pain and Organic Dysfunction in a Patient without Low Back Pain.” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 1990, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2212886/.
CM;, Spitznagle TM;Robinson. “Myofascial Pelvic Pain.” Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 9 June 2014, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25155122/.
Craggs, Michael D. “Pelvic Somato-Visceral Reflexes after Spinal Cord Injury: Measures of Functional Loss and Partial Preservation.” Progress in Brain Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2006, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16198702/.
Dydyk, Alexander M, and Nishant Gupta. “Chronic Pelvic Pain – Statpearls – NCBI Bookshelf.” In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL), StatPearls Publishing, 11 Nov. 2021, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554585/.
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The information herein on "The Somatovisceral Interface With Pelvic Pain" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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