top of page

5 Ways To Heal Pelvic Pain and Pelvic Floor Challenges using Somatic Pelvic Care

Updated: Apr 17

Whether you are pregnant, just had a baby, or have been living with chronic pelvic health challenges for years, it can feel incredibly frustrating to see multiple providers only to feel like something is missing in everything you've tried. Or even worse, like your symptoms are being dismissed. I hear stories like this from women everyday, who are frustrated with their progress and don't know where to turn. In this post I'm going to break down 5 key elements of my Somatic Pelvic Care program that help you get to the root of your pelvic health challenges, so you can get back to feeling connected and confident in your body. The same program that has helped my clients continue to have pain relief years after seeing me, when before they found themself chronically bouncing from PT to PT.

Harness the power of your nervous system to unlock the healing power of your pelvic floor

Yes! Your pelvic floor has healing powers :) We can no longer ignore the role that chronic stress and trauma plays into a Woman's health and wellness. It is now well known thanks to the study on Adverse Childhood Experiences, as well as advances in understanding trauma imprints via the nervous system, that your past experiences of stress has a direct impact your health and wellness as you age. However, so often when you go into a doctor or providers office to talk about your pelvic health, rarely do they ask about your past, let alone a full picture of what is occurring in your life and lifestyle right now. Over the past 13 years as an integrative physical therapist, I have learned that this is one factor is the biggest missing pieces from most traditional approaches to pelvic pain and health challenges:

Looking at the role of your past and how it has imprinted into your nervous system.

Your nervous system is the part of your body that controls your stress response, it is constantly scanning your environment for either cues of safety or cues of danger. It works through sensing patterns, basing what it senses and feels based on past experiences. So for instance, if you have had a history of sexual trauma, your body (nervous system) remembers that experience, and holds the energy of that experience within. So then every time to go to the OBGYN for a pelvic exam, or go to engage in sexual experiences you have intense anxiety, or perhaps you just avoid going all together. This can even happen if you have no memory of the earlier event.

What I have found to be true in the work I do with women, is that if we first support their nervous system health, their bodies can receive the manual treatments and exercises in a much deeper way, and they heal much quicker, with results that last. This goes beyond addressing breathing to relax, but a combination of both hands on tools, simple exercises to help your calm your nervous system bringing your body into safety, and somatic coaching to help release the energy stuck in your body. This way you begin to engage the potency of your mind-body system.

Develop mind- body awareness to accelerate results

The nervous system is one of the main drivers of your mind-body system. It's what relays sensory input from your body to your brain, and from your brain to your body. And fun fact, your vagus nerve, which is the nerve primarily responsible for calming your nervous system down is 80% afferent, meaning it communicates from body to brain. This is why its so hard to use the mind to calm down. You cant just say "relax" or think yourself calm. You have to engage your mind-body (ahem nervous) system.

One of the modalities I've found most helpful in guiding my clients into their mind-body awareness in through Somatic Parts Work (based off of Internal Family Systems work). In parts work we seek to identity parts of your personality that may be acting as protective responses, included the pain response, and to identify the inner child wounds they are protecting. Remember how I just told you that childhood imprints get stuck in your nervous system? I've created Somatic Pelvic Care based off this framework of understanding what the pelvic floor is holding onto, and how it relates to the personality you've developed and the coping (survival) strategies you've created to help you feel a sense of safety and belonging in the world.

The connection between our inner world and our physical pain is truly fascinating when we begin to view it in this way. And when we open up to viewing the pelvic floor muscles beyond just a physical muscle group, we can begin to understand its role in support the core of our being-ness, in addition to being central in our physical core's stability.

Engage Your Pelvic Diaphragm

Your pelvic floor is a set of muscles that sit at the base of your pelvis. If you look at the bones of the pelvis as a bowl, these muscles make up the floor of your pelvic bowl. However, contrary to what the pop media has taught of kegels, there is nothing floor like about it. And having a strong pelvic floor is only part of its function.

Your pelvic floor muscles act as a diaphragm, just like the diaphragm you use to breathe with. In fact, healthy pelvic floor tissue is responsive to your breath. As you inhale, it should soften and expand open toward your feet. And as you exhale, it should gently gather and lift. This pumping action helps to maintain optimal pressure in your core and it also helps with healthy blood and lymph flow and bowel health. When you lose the pumping action of the pelvic diaphragm it can contribute to symptoms such as pain, prolapse, incontinence, constipation, pelvic congestion, and pain with intercourse.

I find that most women are disconnected from their pelvic region and pelvic diaphragm due to the shame women carry around their bodies, their sexual expression, and the high prevalence of negative sexual experiences. But this connection can be restored quite simply with time and dedication, and in restoring this function symptoms can begin to ease. I always love to hear the success stories that trickle in to my email inbox from my free download The Connection Meditation ranging from easing of pain to emotional insights and releases. Your pelvic floor is truly a powerhouse that effects so much of your body- from feeling grounded and centered, to strong and stable in your core, to emotionally open for connection and intimacy. It also plays an integral role in the health of your tissues by being a pump for blood and lymph, and supporting healthy digestion.

Support Liver and Lymph health

Stored emotions play a huge role in pelvic health. We've already touched on how the nervous system can store emotional energy in the pelvic bowl, so lets take a look at how or organs and lymph also play a role. Research is now showing that women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) tend to struggle with repressed anger. I'm so thankful that the research is finally catching up, because I see repressed anger, sadness, rage, shame, and guilt as HUGE drivers to both pelvic pain, how a woman holds herself, and her ability to show up in her powerful confident self. Our organs and body systems are innately connected to our emotional well-being. For example, the liver is tied to the emotions of anger. We also know the liver is essential in digestion, metabolism, hormonal balance, filtration, and mineral/nutrient levels.

The second major playor in your bodies detoxification is the lymphatic system. The Lymphatic system is part of your immune system. And it pulls waste out of your cells and cleans and clears it as it travels through your lymphatic system back into your blood stream, including the byproducts of emotional waste. Your gut and pelvic bowl hold a significant amount of lymphatic vessels, and if the lymph flow is stagnant it can contribute to symptoms of pain and congestion. I like to think of it as a filter for the fish tank. If the filter is not working properly the water gets muddy and the fish (your cells) struggle to thrive. Improve that filter flow, and boom, fish (your cells) are happy, hungry, and full of energy. I believe every person with pelvic health challenges should address their lymphatic health. And in my Somatic Pelvic Care program I have a specific set of exercises to clear your filtration system and get your energy back on board and your pain levels lower. It's truly all connected.

Address the Gut-Brain Axis and its connection to Pelvic Health

And lastly but most definitely not least, your gut health is deeply connected to your pelvic floor. Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause a host of gut health issues such as constipation, fecal incontinence, hemorrhoids, and more. We also know that gut health and your mood are uniquely intertwined. And that there is a high prevalence of what I call the pelvic pain triad: Gut challenges, Mood imbalance, and Pelvic Pain. This circles back to what we spoke to earlier, the tie of the nervous system into your pelvic health.

Your gut and brain are connected via the vagus nerve. And surrounding your entire gut lies the enteric nervous system. This is often dubbed "your second brain", a highly intricate communication network that has the ability to communicate from the gut to the brain via the vagus nerve. That means that your gut health and microbiome plays into your mood, cognition, and mental state. And that your stress also has the ability to slow down digestion. And to tie this all together for you, when you become stressed your breathing mechanics change, this offsets the connection between your respiratory and pelvic diaphragm. We also know that for many people a common response to stress is to tighten the pelvic floor. As the levels of stress increase, your digestion slows, your anxiety increases, and before you know it you are experiencing a gut flare, and pelvic pain flare, and anxiety.

When looking at the unifying factor of the 5 ways to heal your pelvic health holistically- its the nervous system that connects it all together. By working with the nervous system, and the imprints of chronic stress and trauma, we are able to bring your body back into balance and a more harmonic state. And from this place your body is able to do the work of healing itself, without needing to rely on medications, injections, and surgeries to get you there. I have specifically created my signature methodology Somatic Pelvic Care to bridge both hands on/in pelvic work with somatic based nervous system support, trauma healing, and functional medicine.

If you are looking for an out of the box approach, personalized to your unique journy and nervous system I'd love to connect and help you decide if Somatic Pelvic Care is right for you. Click below to apply!

49 views0 comments


bottom of page