Jessica’s Pelvic Pain Success Story

In Female Pelvic Pain by Stephanie Prendergast10 Comments

success

When you’re in the throes of pelvic pain, it’s hard to believe that you’ll ever get better. You will. But we don’t just want you to take our word for it. We want you to hear from patients themselves who have healed. That’s why we’re kicking off a regular feature of patient “Success Stories” on today’s blog. We’re going to start the series with Jessica’s story. Take it away Jessica!

Since as far back as I could remember, I had on-and-off vestibule pain. In addition, all my life I’ve had bouts of constipation and hypermobile joints, meaning I am overly flexible (not a good thing). These are all factors that likely helped pave the way for my pelvic pain. One day when I was in my mid-twenties, I got a urinary tract infection that kicked off a downward spiral of constant vestibule and vaginal pain. That’s when my search for answers began.

Along the way, a urologist prescribed endless rounds of antibiotics. I underwent a cystoscopy, which is basically a bladder scope (ouch!), received an interstitial cystitis (IC) diagnosis, and got several more opinions from a variety of different doctors—a few of which concluded that my pain was caused by “stress.” I read articles that convinced me that my symptoms were caused by “too much acid in my body” or “chronic yeast.” These revelations resulted in some very extreme diets, including a “yeast cleanse.”

When all else failed, I spent hundreds of dollars on supplements, not because I necessarily thought they would help, but because I needed something proactive to do. Finally, months into my pain, I read about pelvic pain PT online, made an appointment to see PHRC’s Liz Rummer, and started down the road to recovery.

I won’t lie and tell you that that road was an easy one. On the contrary, the ups and downs were crazy making. Along the way, I developed intense pain and fatigue. My joints even stopped working. I did nothing but lay around with my cat, go to doctor and PT appointments, and try my best to dress and feed myself. I had to take medical leave from school and work. I went on opiate painkillers, among other medications, including an antidepressant. I learned that chronic pain is a breeding ground for depression.

It took about seven months of weekly PT for me to begin to feel better, and reach a turning point in my recovery. During my sessions with Liz, she worked internally on my tight pelvic floor, which she said was riddled with trigger points. In addition, she worked externally on my abdomen, thighs and hips, where she found connective tissue restrictions. Besides my regular PT sessions, ice and heat helped, sitting on a cushion and not sitting too much helped, and using a foam roller to loosen tight muscles in my back and legs also helped.

It took about a year and a half of weekly PT for me to fully heal. Today, about five years later, I do not have vestibule or vaginal pain. I have pain-free sex and normal orgasms. I can do any activity I want to and not experience pain. I wear underwear and jeans. (I wore wrap skirts with no underwear for more than a year).

And thanks to the education I received in PT, I am also super-aware of when and where I clench. I’ve learned that when I clench my abs, which I tend to do when I am anxious or stressed, I feel pain in my pelvic floor. Therefore, deep breathing and relaxation exercises are a must for me during any stressful situation. I don’t do yoga or sit-ups because they tense up my pelvic floor and abdomen. I bought an expensive office chair that I will sit in for the rest of my working life. I no longer have the chronic fatigue (I was sleeping over16 hours at my worst).

These days, I just think of myself as similar to someone with a bad back who shouldn’t life heavy things or overdue it. Lastly, I no longer wake up in the morning and think about pain. Instead, I think about what I’m going to eat that day (I love to eat!), who I’m going to see, and what I’m going to do.

I could not have gotten through this without my PT, who was so incredibly encouraging and of course got me better and saved my life, or without the folks I met on the online support group Happy Pelvis, who convinced me that I would see the light of day. If you’re in the midst of this condition, know that there is a way out, and as much as possible, have compassion for yourself. You’re going through something hard, but you will get better.

Love,

Jessica

Thank you so much Jessica for sharing your story with us! We believe it will go a long way toward inspiring hope for those who are struggling on their own healing journey.

Do you have a success story that you could share with us? If so, we would love to hear it! Please share it in the comment section below or email us at blog@pelvicpainrehab.com.

Comments

  1. Hi Jessica,

    I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving us your story: God knows it help to read positive news when you are in the fighting pit…!
    You made me laugh out loud when you said you had to wear “wrap skirts with no underwear for more than a year”: it is the same I have been doing for the past 2 years and a half!! Well, after 1 year or so I reintroduced pants in my wardrobe, but believe me, I had to remove all my beautiful jeans from sight because just seeing them in the morning reminded me of how debilitating my life had become and how radically different I was from the other, normal people in the streets. Lately I have been massively improving too, using Oestrogen cream as a sort of “natural pain-killer” is proving to be the best temporary solution for me. But I am still far from resuming my life without medications, and I am currently looking out for options other than PT (I am already having it and it does work, only not enough to replace the medicines) in order to start dropping the hideous Pregabalin and the old friend Amytriptyline…
    One more thank you for your story.
    All my best wishes for your life.

    Hope

  2. It’s so good to hear that you are feeling so much better, Jessica. I have also recovered from chronic pelvic pain, over 20 years of it, and know what a challenge it is. PT was a huge part of my healing too. Also, mind-body practices including learning how to feel emotions in my body rather suppress them has significantly reduced my muscles tension and is helping me be brave and live my life in a way that I’m passionate about.

    1. What kind of pain did you have? That is so encouraging to hear that yours got better after 20 years? I am in the throws of a flare up right now and am feeling pretty upset. I love reading success stories!

  3. Wow! What a journey, thank you for sharing. I suffer from what I would describe as a mild case of chronic pain due to a tailbone injury. My personal experience and my work as a Pilates instructor has given me the idea that many people suffer from such pain in silence. I am enthusiastic about us all finding relief from pain. And giving voice to our experiences is a crucial part of that process. Sharing is caring.

    1. Dear Eliza,

      My pain originated from a tailbone injury too! You are the first person I actually speak to, who has had the same accident as I did. I fractured my tailbone after falling down the staircase on my bottom and the pain came about one month after the fall. Did you have a similar accident? How are you coping with the pain?
      I have had it for 2 year and a half now, and the pain is all in my urethra and in the left-hand side of my vagina. I am now on Pregabalin, Amitriptyline and Oestrogen gel, and only since I started using the Oestrogen gel I have actually been painfree for a couple of weeks in a row…
      What are you using?
      I look forward to hearing from you!
      All my best wishes,

      Hope

  4. Hi! I just started PT for pelvic pain and my Therapist has not done any connective tissue manipulation. Is it wrong to ask her to do it? I don’t want her to think I’m telling her how to do her job but I think it’s an important part to my healing. Please let me know your thoughts

  5. Thank you all so much for posting stories like this! I could be a direct copy of what Jessica has gone through. I am currently about 8 months into PT and that coupled with two pudendal nerve injections has already made me feel so much better. I have been reading this blog since all this started earlier this year. I was so depressed after receiving an IC diagnosis, and being told “We can’t cure you. You’ll just have to learn to live with it.” This blog has given me so much hope on my worst days. For a few months I only got out of bed to go to work and walk my dog. I am finally beginning to get my life back. I just wish that ya’ll were located here on the east coast!!! Every day I wake up and remind myself of the quote, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”

    1. Michelle, did your pudendal nerve injections help right away? I had one done and it didn’t help for more than a few days. Can you share your experience from that?

      Rachel

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