Pelvic floor muscles are located inside the pelvis between the
pubic bone in the front and the tailbone (coccyx) in back. They
function as support for the internal organs, help control
elimination from the bladder and bowel, and are involved in sexual
The pelvic floor muscles may cause pelvic pain when they are
tightened for a long period of time. Spasms can cause a dull,
aching pain through the pelvis, buttocks or hips and occasionally
down the leg.
The pain may be a pressure, burning or aching that is localized
in the pelvic organs, genital region and bones of the pelvis or
abdomen. In men, the pain may be in the penis or testicles.
The causes of this condition are not well understood. A history
of pelvic or abdominal surgery and disease may lead to muscle
tension. Emotional stress, poor posture or physical trauma may also
contribute to subconscious tightening of the pelvic muscles.
The results are pain and/or problems with the bowel and bladder
and sexual function.
Male pelvic pain may also be a result of prostatitis. In
addition, a history of hernia repair and disease may lead to muscle
tension or imbalance in the pelvis, ultimately causing pain.
Treatment for both women and men includes a variety of
therapeutic exercises, relaxation, manual therapy techniques, and
pelvic muscle awareness training.
Some patients also benefit from modalities to reduce muscle
spasms and improve muscle coordination.
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
Lora Anderson, PT, physical therapy manager