Adriaan Louw's Why Pelvic Pain Hurts
Pelvic pain affects many people, but you aren't likely to hear friends or coworkers freely talking about their pelvic pain. The inherent stigma and barriers—like shame, privacy concerns and taboo—make pelvic pain a drastically underreported issue. These concerns, compounded by a lack of information and inconsistent explanations from medical providers, leave many pelvic pain sufferers confused and frustrated. Why Pelvic Pain Hurts, a 70-page patient book by physical therapists Adriaan Louw, Sandra Hilton and Carolyn Vandyken, was written to clear up the confusion and reveal how pain really works.
Chronic pelvic pain requires treatment of the whole person, not just specific tissues. While tissue injury can cause pelvic pain, most tissues heal within 12-16 weeks and pain settles down predictably. With persistent pain, an extra-sensitive nervous system is more likely to blame, with external stressors, fear and confusion exacerbating the pain experience. This means that only treating tissues may not produce the desired outcome—the extra-sensitive nervous system also needs to be addressed. The first step toward calming an extra-sensitive nervous system is learning how pain works.
Most patients in pain are only taught about the specific anatomy that hurts. When someone is in pain, they should be taught more about pain. After all, research shows that when a patient understands more about their pain, they move better, have more ability and feel less pain. Why Pelvic Pain Hurts begins by teaching how the nervous system and brain collaborate to create pain, and how the nervous system can become extra sensitive. Then, the specifics of pelvic pain are added to the equation, detailing potential sources, the unique dilemmas pelvic pain causes and how the pain is produced. The authors then discuss the varied affects that often accompany chronic pelvic pain, including mood swings, fatigue, weight gain, sleep issues, low sex drive, depression, fear, lack of concentration and more.
Here's what people really want to know: How do you treat chronic pelvic pain? Since understanding pain eases fears and starts to calm the nervous system, reading Why Pelvic Pain Hurts is the first step. In addition, the book culminates by discussing a dozen treatment options and teaches how to set goals on the way to recovery.
This is an essential book for anyone who is suffering from persistent pelvic pain (that includes those with spasms, burning, frequency, itching, bowel or bladder urgency, or problems with sexual function). Using metaphors, stories, illustrations and non-threatening language, the authors successfully teach the complex topic of pain neuroscience in a way that easily internalized by readers of all levels. The confusion and fear stop here. Armed with an understanding of pain and treatment strategies, patients can regain control of their lives.