Yoga has been scientifically proven to both decrease pain and improve quality of life for individuals who suffer from pelvic pain.
There are many different yoga methods, but most practices include techniques for breathing, body positioning, and meditation to promote health.
Typically, yoga principles are taught in a yoga studio but technology now allows individuals to use apps or websites to guide their yoga practice at home.
This technology makes yoga an easy way to self-manage pelvic pain in conjunction with treatments recommended by your healthcare provider. (Russell)
Yoga teaches deep breathing techniques which are a key method to relax the muscles of the pelvic floor. Being able to voluntarily relax your pelvic floor muscles helps prevent and reduce pelvic pain by maintaining the needed flexibility these muscles require during daily motions and by providing good blood flow to these muscles.
Learning how to time relaxation of your pelvic floor with your breathing can reduce pain during penetration of the vagina or rectum during sexual intercourse or during pelvic exams from your healthcare provider.
Treatment of pelvic pain can include medical devices such as a pelvic wand to treat trigger points in your pelvic floor muscles or vaginal dilators to stretch your pelvic floor muscles and retrain the mind to allow pain free vaginal penetration.
Both devices are most effective when used with breathing techniques to reduce pain during insertion and use of these tools.
Additionally, yoga addresses deficits in both strength and flexibility of muscle groups surrounding the pelvis including core muscles of the abdomen and low back as well as hip muscles for good body mechanics.
For optimal and pain free movement, each muscle group in your body needs both the elasticity to move throughout a designated range of motion and the power to perform that motion.
Yoga teaches body mechanics for optimal muscle activation and relaxation in different poses to mimic the variety of motions we perform in our daily lives.
Meditation and body mindfulness can decrease pelvic pain by improving an individual’s ability to identify painful activities and modify these activities to allow pain free participation.
For example, many people fail to relax their pelvic floor muscles while sitting on a toilet to have a bowel movement and instead rely on straining or pushing to force stool evacuation.
This straining can cause anal fissures, rectal bleeding, pelvic pain, or hernias. By learning to relax your pelvic floor and being aware of this relaxation during toileting, stool can pass easily without straining.
Related Article: How to Use a Rectal Dilator
Lastly yoga can improve balance to decrease a person’s risk of falls and injuries which can cause pain and either a temporary or permanent loss of mobility.
By learning how to relax the pelvic floor and by obtaining appropriate strength and flexibility in surrounding areas, you can significantly improve your quality of life.
You can experience decreased pain with sexual activities and pelvic exams, improve body mechanics during daily activities, and improve bowel and bladder functions.
Yoga is an accessible way to learn and consistently practice these techniques to prevent and treat pelvic pain.
Russell, Natalie DPT1; Daniels, Bevin PT, DPT2; Smoot, Betty PT, DPTSc1; Allen, Diane D. PT, PhD1 Effects of Yoga on Quality of Life and Pain in Women With Chronic Pelvic Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Journal of Women's Health Physical Therapy: July/September 2019 - Volume 43 - Issue 3 - p 144-154 doi: 10.1097/JWH.0000000000000135