Intrinsic Physical Therapy

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Chronic Illness General Pelvic Heatlh Persistent Pain

Is Interstitial Cystitis the cause of your bladder pain?

Have you been certain that you’ve had a urinary tract infection (UTI) only to go to the doctor and be told, “Your labs look good, no infection here!” 

Wait…what? 

Then what could be causing this excruciating pain that keeps you from being no more than ten feet from the nearest toilet at all times? 

It could be interstitial cystitis (IC).

IC, which is also known as Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS) is a bladder condition that causes pain or discomfort in the bladder and pelvic region, as well as urinary symptoms such a painful urination, urinary urgency and urinary frequency. 

IC is more common than you might think, with estimates that it can affect up to 12 million people in the United States. It can affect both males and females, but is more common in women. IC largely goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed, so spreading awareness and reducing time to diagnosis is crucial in improving quality of life for people living with this condition.

A diagnosis of IC/PBS is made out of exclusion, meaning your doctor will check for active infection and other causes that could account for your symptoms, but if no other cause is found and your symptoms align with IC, you may receive a diagnosis of IC. 

The three main symptoms of IC are urinary frequency, urinary urgency and pain. Pain may be felt in the lower abdomen, bladder or urethra. Females may experience pain around the vaginal area and males may experience pain around the testes, scrotum or perineum. It is common to experience painful sexual intercourse as well. 

For some people, IC may be the only symptoms they experience, but for many people, it is associated with other conditions. These conditions include: allergies, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, pelvic floor dysfunction, central sensitization, and chronic fatigue syndrome, among others. 

In my practice, I often see people who have symptoms of IC that also have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS). Mast cells are found in high concentrations in the bladder lining, so it makes sense that over activation of these immune cells can trigger hypersensitivity and pain. Often, treating MCAS will greatly improve IC symptoms. 

Treatment of IC is not always straight forward and simple, but it is possible and more accessible than you might think! Although it would feel much more simple to take a quick acting drug to settle an IC flare, the solution is a more holistic approach that includes pelvic floor physical therapy, modifying diet to reduce triggers, regulating the autonomic nervous system and addressing any underlying triggers such as chronic infection or mold. 

Living with IC can be extremely debilitating. The pain and urinary symptoms can make it difficult to partake in your normal daily activities and the symptoms often greatly disrupt your sleep at night. Although IC is a chronic condition, it is possible to gain full remission and live symptom free. There is so much we can do to help you find hope and live a full life, free of bladder symptoms. 

Let’s not let IC run your life. 

Reach out if you are interested in learning more about our holistic treatment approach for IC! 

Categories
Chronic Illness Pelvic Heatlh Persistent Pain

The Trifecta (hEDS, POTS and MCAS) and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Do you suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction such as pelvic pain, bladder pain, interstitial cystitis, painful sex, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, urinary or fecal incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse?

hEDS, POTS and MCAS can play a big role in pelvic floor conditions and treating these symptoms often require a holistic approach that not only treats the pelvic floor, but also the entire system.

Let’s dive into each condition and the potential pelvic health concerns that may be related to it.

hEDS is a connective tissue disorder that causes joint hypermobility due to ligamentous laxity. We often see pelvic floor muscle tightness as the muscles are working so hard to stabilize the core, sacroiliac joint instability/pain due to ligament laxity at the pelvis, pelvic organ prolapse due to laxity of the ligaments holding these organs in place, poor wound healing following surgery or child birth and a greater propensity for anal fissures. hEDS also results in slowed gastric motility, which can contribute to constipation and bloating. 

With MCAS, we have overactive mast cells causing an overreaction to stimuli. Remember, those mast cells are there to protect you, but in some people, they become unregulated and start to react to seemingly everything. The mast cells line our tissues that interact with our outside environment so think: mouth, sinuses, esophagus, lungs, GI tract, bowel and bladder. 

For this reason, we often see GI discomfort, alternating constipation/diarrhea, pelvic pain, and interstitial cystitis when MCAS is present. 

POTS is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system, which is the system that controls the automatic functions of our body, such as heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure. The autonomic nervous system also controls bowel and bladder function! POTS is known to cause constipation and bloating and may contribute to pelvic pain.

Due to the connection between the immune system and autonomic nervous system that we see with the trifecta, hormones can also be affected. Hormone dysregulation can also contribute to bowel and bladder dysfunction including pain, incontinence, prolapse and constipation.

If you are looking for guidance to help treat pelvic floor dysfunction, Intrinsic PT offers in-person pelvic health treatment as well as virtual consults!

Schedule a free discovery call!

 

 

Categories
Chronic Illness General Pelvic Heatlh Persistent Pain

How Is Your Breathing?

We all do it, but are you aware of HOW you’re breathing? 

 

Breathing occurs automatically, thanks to the autonomic nervous system, but the magic of breathing is that we are able to exert conscious control over it as well! Research has shown that we can change our physiology and therefore our health, by changing how we breathe. 

 

I assess breathing with just about every single client. It can tell me so much information, such as their ability to coordinate muscles through contraction and relaxation, ribcage and spine mobility, compensation patterns, and breathing patterns. It is a foundational tool that I like to start with for almost everyone because it is vital to movement and mind/body connection.

 

On average we take 20,000 breaths a day. That’s a lot of opportunity for improved health just by changing the way we breathe!  Ideally, we want to be breathing through the nose. This is especially important at night and affects everything from oxygen saturation, fatigue levels, deep sleep, and dental health. We should also breathe with our diaphragm by expanding the lower ribcage and belly, letting it rise on every inhale and sink on every exhale. By focusing on extending the exhalation, it will activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the rest/digest/heal system and will aid in relaxation. 

 

Stress can contribute to shallow chest breathing, poor posture can contribute to mouth breathing, and lack of coordination or tight muscles can decrease your ability to breathe with your diaphragm. Do you want to learn to be a better breather? Physical therapy can help! 

 

Schedule a free consult with Intrinsic PT today.

 

 

Categories
Pelvic Heatlh

Pelvic Health Physical Therapy

Stepping into the world of pelvic health physical therapy has been eye opening for me but also inspiring in so many ways. The more I learn, the more I realize how uneducated and underserved this population is in this country. Did you know that in France every woman is given PT postpartum? Much better than a quick check at 6 weeks and an ok to return to activity that we get here in the US.

Every woman deserves better care than we are currently getting, whether you are postpartum or not, but the reality is that we all have pelvic floors! Pelvic floor issues can affect anyone, at any age, so although the ladies deserve so much more in terms of quality care, the reality is that every person deserves better!

I treat all genders and all ages with pelvic floor dysfunction. You don’t have to “just live with it” or feel in the dark about what is going on in your body and you are certainly not too old to start working on it. Physical therapy can be so effective at treating pelvic floor dysfunction from incontinence to pain to constipation to figuring out how to return to activity after having a baby. It is so encouraging to see the change that is already happening in this arena.

Let’s keep it going! Follow Intrinsic PT on Instagram to learn more about the importance of pelvic health physical therapy.