Let's talk about your pain.
>> Do you have constant abdominal pain? Intermittent pelvic pain? Occasional cramps? Cramps that leave you stuck on your couch hugging a heating pad? Sharp shooting pain? Dull stabby pain? Achey drive-you-nuts pain?
>> Do you think about your pain more often than you feel you should?
>> Do your cramps ever get in the way of you living your life?
>> Do you have a love/hate relationship with your uterus and ovaries?
>> Are you preparing for a pregnancy, currently pregnant, or struggling to recover physically after a pregnancy?
If you have pelvic or abdominal pain, you’re not alone. Your pain is real. One of every seven women is affected by pelvic pain. Did you know we can treat your pain? Your health is important, it’s worth getting treated.
Treatment for pelvic pain
Osteopathy is often overlooked as a treatment option for the many painful health issues women endure. Beyond medication and surgery, most women aren't aware of the benefits of manual therapy for this kind of pain. Osteopathy is a form of manual therapy that uses gentle, hands-on techniques in a comfortable setting to reduce the pain and dysfunction caused by pelvic pain. The techniques used are called visceral manipulation and clinical research shows that it can help reduce pain and improve quality of life for women. Our clinic provides the evidence-based, effective care that is based upon your specific symptoms.
What is the treatment? What happens in the appointment?
The appointment will begin with a discussion about your symptoms and your health history. The practitioner will make note of when your symptoms started, what makes them worse, what makes them better, what you've tried to do to make them go away, a history of medications (if any), and any surgeries. After completing a detailed history, your therapist will perform a physical assessment. This will include looking at how your lower back, hips and other joints of your body move.
This physical assessment will also include a comprehensive manual palpation of your abdomen, and pelvis using gentle hand pressures. The therapist will note any related tensions, soreness and feel for areas of adhesions. Adhesions are scar-like tissues which make anatomical neighbours stick together. Qualified osteopathic manual practitioners spend years learning to feel for these adhesions and mastering the gentle techniques which release these sticky tissues.
After the evaluation has been completed, treatment can consist of light or moderate pressures to the areas identified by the assessment. Hand pressures may be static and held for 1-3 minutes or there may be gentle slow movements. Your feedback is important, and if pain arises, the technique can be modified to make it more tolerable for you.
What conditions can you treat with osteopathic visceral manipulation?
Osteopathy can treat pain and dysfunction associated with the following conditions: endometriosis, dysmenorrhea (painful periods), polycystic ovarian syndrome (ovarian cysts), uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, surgical scarring, pregnancy-related pain, diastasis recti, symphysis pubis, adhesions due to complications from ectopic pregnancies, C-section scars, hysterectomy, oophorectomy, salpingectomy, appendectomy, IBS, and other pains which have either not been diagnosed or have no clear diagnosis.
It's important to remember that osteopathic manual practitioners are not medical doctors and do not diagnose. We are manual therapists who work in tandem with your family doctor or medical specialist to provide treatment options to reduce pain and restore quality of life. All new and unusual pains should be assessed by a licensed medical physician as they can both diagnose the issue at hand and order imaging if needed. Symptoms which are red flags will be referred back to your primary care physician.
Treatment for pregnancy
Osteopathy can help women during their pregnancy by improving mobility, function, and decreasing pain and soreness during the 2nd and 3rd trimester. This form of treatment can help with symphysis pubis dysfunction, sciatica, and can help prepare the body for birth. After birth, many women choose to follow up in osteopathy to deal with the aches and pains involved with caring for and carrying an infant, and the physical stresses associated with breastfeeding.
Prenatal workshop: Prevent. Prepare. Repair. Join Shauna Ironside, osteopathic manual practitioner, for this 4-part workshop on pre- and postnatal injury prevention and repair. Next session starts Tuesday May 21. For details and registration, click here.
My pelvic/abdominal pain is different. It's kind of unique. Can you still treat it?
Some pain is sharp, stabbing, dull, or achey. It can be constant or it can come and go. It can always be in the exact same spot or it can move around. It can even be in multiple areas, some of which are constant, and worse, and some which move around and are intermittent. All of these are types of pain that can usually be treated with manual therapy. If your pain is bothering you, we can help.
I'm also experiencing persistent pain in my hip/back/knee - can you treat that too?
Yes. Did you know that adhesions and tension in the connective tissues of your abdomen and pelvis can significantly influence pain elsewhere in your body? This means that pain in your lower back, hip, knee, upper back, or even your shoulder may be related to your abdomen and pelvis. A holistic approach of therapy that addresses the source of these tensions typically results in decreased pain and improved function in both the abdomen/pelvis as well as the associated pain elsewhere in your body. Let's say you're seeing a gynecologist for your pelvic pain, a physiotherapist for your hip pain, and your family doctor for headaches. Osteopathy is the manual therapy equivalent of treating all three of those issues simultaneously, by addressing the root cause.
What if I need or have already had surgery?
Whether you are considering a surgery or have already had one or multiple surgeries for pelvic pain, visceral manipulation is a safe form of treatment. Many patients with severe pain undergo surgery to reduce or remove fascial adhesions caused by endometriosis, ovarian cysts or other forms of scarring. As visceral manipulation is designed to release these adhesions, it is safe to perform even if you’re waiting for surgery. While surgery for pelvic pain can significantly help some patients, virtually all forms of surgery cause adhesions. Many people seek out osteopathic visceral manipulation to address the adhesions caused by surgery. This form of therapy is effective regardless of whether the surgery was 8 weeks ago or 8 years ago.
How many appointments do I need?
There are many causes of pelvic pain and people can respond differently to therapy. Most people see differences in pain and quality of life after 1-3 treatments, while some more complex cases may need more.
Why hasn’t my doctor mentioned this?
Education programs for physicians (example: the University of Ottawa’s School of Medicine) are just beginning to include information on complementary therapies such as osteopathy. Unless your physician has personally sought out to learn about osteopathic care, it is unlikely they received information about it during their formal education. Evidence-based complementary therapies such as osteopathy strive to work with your primary care physician. If your doctor has questions about this form of therapy, we’d be happy to help them understand how evidence-based treatment plans can help pelvic pain.
What if I am also experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction, anxiety or depression?
Our multi-disciplinary team of caring practitioners is connected to many other specialized health care providers in the city. We can connect you to other professionals such as a pelvic floor physiotherapist or a psychologist.