Mind-Body-Spirit connections: body and mind

Last month I wrote about the mind-body connection. How our thoughts and emotions can have a very real physical impact and how our bodies communicate with us through physical ailments such as chronic pelvic pain. Fortunately our bodies can also communicate with our minds in more subtle ways. However, most of us don’t actually take the time or know how to listen. This has certainly been true for most of my life and, honestly, is still true for me most days. Taking time to be still without any distractions is a direct contradiction to the culture around us. Yet there is a treasure waiting for us when we do, and we don’t have to look any further than within ourselves.

mind-body - when sex hurts there is hopeAs I progress down my own healing journey I am slowly learning how to listen to my body. Continue reading

Yoga for pelvic health

This month I had the opportunity to join a yoga workshop specially designed for pelvic health!  The workshop was put on by Casie Danenhauer, DPT at Sarton Physical Therapy in Orange County (quick shout out to my favorite pelvic floor physical therapist, Julie Sarton!)

This yoga for pelvic health workshop was full of great information, including an overview of
basic pelvic anatomy (complete with a musculoskeletal model of the pelvic floor).  And not yoga for pelvic health - when sex hurts there is hopeonly did we spend time in actual yoga practice, we received specific instruction on various poses that are good for pelvic health.  Casie walked us through the details of how to do these poses correctly, and considering pelvic floor conditions such as hypertonic pelvic floor muscles (like me!) and hypotonic pelvic floor muscles (where the muscles are too weak).  Continue reading

Wish you were here…

restful state of mind - when sex hurts there is hope

I had the amazing blessing of taking a week vacation earlier this month.  I was definitely overdo for taking a break to really disconnect from work and all my other “doing.”  Although I still have a long way to go towards gratitude and that state of being rather than doing, I feel like I truly was able to soak in a restful state of mind and just be.  And, I have to say that I really do wish you were here. Continue reading

Traveling with pelvic pain

traveling with pelvic pain - when sex hurts there is hope

Sitting in an airport waiting for my flight home, I got to thinking about how differently I travel these days.  Traveling with pelvic pain can be difficult which leads some pelvic pain sufferers choosing not to travel at all.  I am certainly more selective about my travel plans and have learned some ways to help reduce the pain that typically comes with traveling.

1. Pack the essentials

Travel light, or be prepared to ask for help.  Continue reading

Interview with Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist Dr. Julie Sarton (Part 3)

interview with pelvic floor physical therapist Dr. Julie Sarton - when sex hurts there is hopeAnd here’s the final installment of my interview with pelvic floor physical therapist Dr. Julie Sarton, PT, DPT, WCS.  This amazing woman is truly a healer of sexual pain, and in part 3 of my interview she discusses ways you can promote healing on your own.

8.  In your experience, how long does it typically take for a patient to see improvement in their symptoms?

There is a wide variety and we always say that usually it depends on how long you’ve had the symptoms.  So a patient that walks in through our doors with a 17 year history of complex pelvic pain is very different from a patient that walks in with a 4 week history of pelvic pain or sexual pain.  We can see patients anywhere from 4 visits to 2.5 years if they are complex case. Patients will usually see at least some relief, even in the worst cases, in 8 visits or after about a month of treatment, but it can be a long road to full recovery for some patients who have been experiencing pain for a long time.

I have learned to never give up, even on the toughest cases. I once had a patient who had been married for 39 years, but had never consummated her marriage because of her condition. Continue reading

Open up those hips

pose to relieve hip tension - when sex hurts there is hopeI can think of many good reasons to open up those hips. But, if you are like me that’s easier said than done. I have a tendency to sit too much, which contributes to tension in my hips (among other things). I have learned how to reduce this tension with massage and stretching through yoga. There are so many yoga poses that are great for relieving tension in your hips, but here are just two of my favorites which are good beginner stretches.

Butterfly pose to relieve hip tension

Begin by sitting on the floor with your knees bent outward and the soles of your feet pressed together. This is similar to a cross-legged position, but instead of folding your ankles over each other your feet are pressed together Continue reading

Skin rolling is not as scary as it sounds

There are many techniques performed in physical therapy that can be incorporated into your own self-treatment regimen. Skin rolling is one of easiest because there isn’t necessarily a wrong way to do it (or at least none that I have discovered). For those of you who think I am referring to some type of ancient form of torture, let me assure you that skin rolling is not as scary as it sounds.

Skin rolling is a type of myofascial release. You can find a lot of information just by typing “myofascial” into your favorite search engine, but here’s my abbreviated skin rolling - when sex hurts there is hopedefinition. The “myo” means muscle and “fascial” is pertaining to the fascia or connective tissue that surrounds every muscle, bone, ligament, and organ in our bodies. Thus, myofascial release is simply a way of releasing tension or constriction in the connective tissue around our muscles. I find skin rolling a pretty interesting technique because it so clearly demonstrates the presence of constricted fascia and muscles (I’ll get into this further after I describe the technique).

Step 1: Show some skin!

Continue reading