Vulvodynia is defined as pain in the vulva lasting more than 3 months. The pain can be described as burning, rawness, itching, achy, stinging, throbbing, irritation, or discomfort. Vulvar pain can be generalized meaning that the general area of the vulva hurts or localized meaning that a specific area of the vulva hurts. Vulvar pain can occur at rest and/or be provoked by touch/pressure. Localized vulvar pain can be local to the vestibule (vaginal opening) called vulvar vestibulitis, or localized provoked vestibulodynia (LPV), or local to the clitoris called clitoridynia. Many patients complain of pain with intercourse, sitting, tight clothing, and/or sensitivity to topical agents such as creams and soaps. Others report that their pain fluctuates with their menstrual cycle. Vulvar pain can be related to an infection, inflammation, skin conditions, diseases, neurologic or musculoskeletal disorders.
How can Pamela Morrison Physical Therapy help vulvodynia?
Through a comprehensive evaluation of your musculoskeletal system it can be determined whether there is a muscle, joint, or nerve problem contributing to or causing the pain. Those who have vulvodynia may have associated hip, sacroiliac, coccyx, or low back pain. Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction is also a common finding. Nerves that may be involved include the sciatic, posterior femoral cutaneous, sciatic, ilioinguinal, obturator, genitofemoral, and pudendal. Treatment may include pain relieving modalities, biofeedback, manual therapy, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction rehab, therapeutic exercises, core stabilization training, use of vaginal dilators, and a home program. There have been several studies and articles showing that physical therapy can help patients overcome vulvar pain.