Lower back pain and pain in your pelvis is unfortunately very common. But, determining what is causing the pain is not always an easy answer.
Medical Causes of Pelvic Pain
Pelvic pain can be caused by several medical conditions. The source of the pelvic pain needs to be correctly diagnosed in order to relieve the patient’s pain. The pelvic area is from the belly button down and the hips upward. The pain in the pelvic area can be constant or come and go. The pain can be dull or sharp. The pain can be mild or severe enough to interfere with normal activities of daily living. Listed below are common medical causes of pelvic pain. • Endometriosis is the tissue from the uterus moving to the fallopian tubes, ovaries, in the pelvis, bladder and other areas. The tissue will swell and bleed during your menstrual cycle. • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is an infection of the female reproduction organs. The cervix normally keeps all bacteria of the vagina from spreading. When a sexually transmitted infection is in the vagina, it will damage the cervix allowing the bacteria to spread.
• Fibroids are benign growths on the muscular wall of the uterus. The growths, which are not cancer can be extremely small or grow to the size of a cantaloupe.
• Ovarian remnant can be left behind after a complete hysterectomy. This piece of the ovary can develop painful cysts. • Irritable Bowel Syndrome can cause pelvic pain as the intestine either moves food too quickly or too slowly.
• Interstitial Cystitis is a chronic bladder infection that causes the bladder to be stiff due to scar tissue. A bladder that is too stiff is unable to increase its size when the bladder fills with urine. The bladder walls my bleed slightly. • A person who is suffering from child sexual abuse or has suffered from child sexual abuse may experience pelvic pain.
Your doctor will take a complete history and perform a physical exam to begin determining if a medical issue is the cause of the pelvic pain. You may be asked questions to help pin point the source of the pain. • Is the pain more severe when you are having your menstrual cycle? • Is the pain more severe when you are having a bowel movement? • Is the pain more severe when you are urinating? • Is the pain more severe when you are having sexual intercourse? • Have you recently had an infection? • Have you ever had surgery in your pelvic region? Your physician may run tests on your blood and urine. Your physician may choose to have an x-ray performed or schedule a laparoscopy. A laparoscopy is a surgery in which a lighted scope in inserted in your pelvic region to identify any abnormalities in your organs.
If any of the above mentioned conditions are found you physician will begin an appropriate treatment.
• Stop ovulation through use of a birth control pill or Depo Provera • The use of anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen • Relaxation exercises or physical therapy • Abdominal trigger point injections • Antibiotics • Psychological counseling • Surgery if cysts, fibroids or other growths are found
Lumbar Pain and Posterior Pelvic Pain
Lower back and pelvic pain can also be caused by hormonal changes monthly or due to pregnancy. Hormonal changes will loosen joints and ligaments in preparation of the growth of a fetus. Even if you are simply having a menstrual cycle and are not pregnant; your joints and ligaments will loosen slightly. This pain is divided into two main categories. Lumbar Pain is found over and around your spine. The pain can radiate above and below your waist. This pain is known to radiate down your leg even below the knee to your feet and toes. This pain is felt after sitting or standing too long and when lifting items. The intensity of this pain increases at the end of the day.
Posterior Pelvic Pain is found lower than your lumbar area. It is felt inside the buttocks, on both sides of the pelvic regions, and the back of the thighs. You will feel this pain when you are walking, climbing stairs, getting in or out of the bath tub, rising or sitting in a low chair, getting in or out of bed, twisting or doing any lifting.
Treatment or prevention of both lower back pain (lumbar pain) and posterior pelvic pain are the same. The muscles protecting the spine can be weakened by a sedentary lifestyle, pregnancy, weight gain or sitting and standing in a slouched position. Exercise that strengthens the core muscles in your abdomen and back will keep the spine and hips in position. The strengthened core muscles will also aid your posture.
Always check with your physician whenever you experience back and pelvic pain to determine the proper source of the pain.