That first physical therapy session was certainly an experience. If I had to use three words to describe it I would say it was awkward, painful, and enlightening. Awkward might be a bit of an understatement. I’ll just sum it up by saying that the most effective way of reaching the pelvic floor muscles is internally (and anyone who knows basic female anatomy should realize that leaves only two options). Certain aspects were painful, but it was a different kind of pain. By painful, I mean it literally felt like she was digging her fingernails into me, even though she was barely applying gentle pressure with her soft fingertips. And by different, I mean the pain was not excruciating, and it was the type of pain that was beneficial. It is like the pain you feel when someone is massaging a knot out of a tight muscle—it’s a healing pain.
Overall that physical therapy appointment was incredibly enlightening. Between the painful trigger points (aka muscle knots), clear referral patterns across muscle groups, and the histamine release just from skin rolling, I pretty much fit the textbook description of hypertonic pelvic floor muscle disorder.* It was amazing to finally find a right diagnosis!
But physical therapy is not an overnight fix—it has truly been a long road to healing. I began weekly sessions, but had flare ups of my sciatica which would leave me with back pain for days after each appointment. Eventually I started taking Lyrica, which helped to calm my nervous system and allowed me to continue physical therapy without the painful flare ups. My physical therapist also showed me how to continue therapy between sessions through self-treatment techniques such as skin rolling, effective stretching, and using dilators. After a year I was eventually able to reduce my PT appointments to once a month and even stopped taking Lyrica several months later.
Most importantly, I was finally able to have pain-free sex!
*If you aren’t sure what trigger points, referral patterns or histamine release are, don’t worry. I’ll go into more detail about skin rolling and other aspects of my physical therapy treatment in later posts.