Many women take on a caretaker role. As mothers, wives, sisters and friends, we commonly put everyone and everything else before ourselves, especially when it comes to our health. Some days, self-neglect catches up to us and we feel it physically.
This happened to me a few weeks ago. At the end of my work day, I felt a dull pain in my left hip and upper thigh. It was different from the kind of soreness I might feel from a strenuous workout. By morning, I could hardly walk or even get out of bed.
Melissa Ulfe, BSN, R.N., CBCN, nurse navigator at Norton Suburban Hospital, referred me to a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic and women’s health. Even after delivering two children, I never thought about pelvic health or seeking physical therapy for such an important area.
Susan Dunn, physical therapist, examined me and quickly determined I have pelvic ring instability. My lower back, hips and abdominal muscles are weak, which led to my pelvis becoming unstable. That’s what caused the sudden spasm I experienced. Dunn also found that muscle imbalances have created an abnormal pull on my hips and my spine needs to be placed back into alignment. So for the next few weeks, I’ll concentrate on several therapies, including deep tissue massage and dry needling techniques. Therapeutic exercise is also in the schedule to teach me how to stabilize my pelvic ring and core.
Dunn said pain is not always caused by sudden injuries, such as those from a fall. “It’s usually a mechanical problem in most people,” she said. “Our bodies can adapt over time, but at some point it can’t adapt anymore. Then you have pain and the pain is your body’s way of protecting you to stop doing what you’re doing and fix the problem. ”
According to Dunn, the biggest mistake many women make is ignoring their pain and trying to self-diagnose, which can make problems worse. (Watch the video “Pelvic Physical Therapy”) Dunn said that while every woman is different, seeking medical advice for the slightest pain is best.
I’m still learning a lot as I finish my first few sessions. My biggest lesson from this experience is to really listen to my body, something all women should remember to do. Let’s start making every area of our health a priority.
Pelvic Health 101
Half of all women have never talked to a physician about pelvic health symptoms. Learn about common pelvic conditions that can disrupt your life, such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, incontinence and more. Our medical experts will present the latest information on symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of common pelvic disorders.
Monday, April 21 • 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Marshall Women’s Health & Education Center
Norton Suburban Hospital