Is Your Pelvic Pain All In Your Head?
If you have been suffering from chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) there’s a good chance that your pain is all in your head. Wait! Before you leave this site in anger, keep in mind that we are not saying that your pain is not real. We know it is very real. However, the cause of your pain may stem from stress, anxiety, emotional problems, or other psychological causes all originating in your head and causing real pain elsewhere in your body.
It may seem hard to believe that your stress and emotions can affect your pelvic health, but stress and anxiety can take a toll on your health in several ways. In the case of CP/CPPS, stress and anxiety can affect the pelvic floor muscles. As you know, some people carry their stress in their neck, back, or shoulders, and over time this tension can lead to chronic headaches and neck pain. Other men clench their pelvic muscles instead. Most men who do this are not even aware that they clench their pelvic muscles when stressed. Over time, this causes inflammation that can lead to muscle weakness, chronic tension disorder, and trigger points in the pelvic floor muscles, causing pelvic pain, pain during sex, urinary symptoms, and the feeling as if you are sitting on a golf or tennis ball.
Chronic pelvic pain syndrome affects men of any age and can last from months to years. This condition is difficult to treat through conventional methods, and the best treatment program involves looking at your whole-body health. Yes, you can treat the symptoms and seek pain relief in a variety of ways, but if you want to really seek long-term relief you need to find out what is causing your pelvic pain. Experts realize that prostatitis pain can stem from many causes in the body that do not originate in the prostate itself. One of the most common contributors to CP/CPPS is a man’s psychological health.
The Mind-Body Connection
The mind-body connection is very powerful. As mentioned, stress and anxiety can lead to chronic muscle tension, but stress also negatively affects hormones. Stress, anxiety, and other emotional problems can elevate your prolactin levels, damaging your immune system. This also increases inflammation and causes a possible imbalance in your neuroendocrine system. That can lead to chronic pain.
The research shows there is a relationship between anxiety and stress and prostatitis. When researchers were conducting a study on men with CP/CPPS in Taiwan, they noticed a relationship between anxiety and prostatitis. While reviewing the men’s health records, the researchers found that the men with CP/CPPS were twice as likely to have been previously diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Other studies have also found that men with high levels of stress and little emotional or social support are associated with a history of having prostatitis. If you become stressed and frustrated due to having a chronic pain condition like prostatitis, you can actually amplify your pain and make it worse because the more stress you are under the more likely you are to be in pain. That is why now more then ever it is important to take steps to manage your stress and anxiety so you can stop this vicious cycle.
How to Treat Stress and Anxiety
If you suffer from chronic pelvic pain, take comfort in knowing that there are many of alternative treatments for prostatitis available to you. You should consider trying several different techniques, because a multimodal approach is shown to work best. It is important to incorporate some stress management techniques for treating prostatitis so you can get to the source of your pain, rather than just treating the pain itself. Managing your stress and anxiety is key to long-term management of your prostatitis.
There are a lot of ways you can relieve stress. It is best to try a few different techniques to see what works best for you. Exercise is a popular stress reliever for many men. Whether you prefer going for a run, hitting the weights, or doing more calming exercises like yoga to clear your head, you may find that exercise has tremendous value in reducing stress. If you are prone to anxiety it is recommended to learn meditation and breathing exercises. You might even want to sign up for a local tai chi class to help teach you to relax and improve your mental state.
If you have a pelvic floor disorder, several of the programs that treat pelvic pain combine therapies that treat the muscles with training for the mind in the form of cognitive behavioral therapy. It is important to consider the mind-body connection, which is addressed when you look at whole-body approaches to prostatitis like Dr. Geo’s NPAT Treatment Program. The NPAT program looks at pelvic pain as a whole-body problem.
The NPAT holistic approach involves natural treatments like diet and phytotherapy, alternative treatments (like prostate massage, acupuncture, and pelvic rehabilitation), and total body approaches (like stress management, exercise, and lifestyle). Treating your whole body from your head to your prostate and beyond is going to address any possible causes of your pelvic pain as well as any other health concerns as well.
Another whole-body approach to pelvic pain is the XY Health Program by Isa Herrera. Isa Herrera is a physiotherapist who developed a program for pelvic floor dysfunction that includes exercises, stretches, and pain-relief methods. The XY Program also addresses the mind-body connection as an important part of healing. Patients achieve pelvic pain relief from relaxing or strengthening their muscles and relaxing their mind.
The Wise-Anderson treatment is another method for treating the pelvic muscle dysfunction and the brain. The program includes psychological therapy to treat the behaviors that are causing the tension. This treatment, like many approaches that address both pelvic muscles and behaviors, can take many months.
It is important to understand that treating male pelvic pain is going to take time and patience. If years of tension and certain behaviors created the problem, it will not resolve itself overnight. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix pill for pelvic pain. Antibiotics do not work because chronic pelvic pain is not caused by bacteria. Taking antibiotics when they are not necessary can actually harm your health.
It is best to consider natural, drug-free therapies that directly target the possible cause(s) of your pain. The great part of using natural and alternative therapies for stress and pelvic pain is that they are not associated with negative side effects. Many of these therapies can be done inexpensively and in your home. Chances are that if you follow a holistic program that addresses your whole-body health (including your diet, food allergies, and exercise level), you are going to enjoy improved health benefits in your overall health, and these improvements will not be just in your head.