Back Pain Cycling

Vulvodynia Sufferers - Seek Massage Therapy to Help Ease Pain

Vulvodynia is a complicated condition that affects so many women that there is no consensus as to how many actually suffer from this type of chronic pain. Vulvodynia is a pain syndrome that involves the vulva, labia, and entrance to the vagina. The pain associated with this condition is described as burning, stabbing, achy, itching, throbbing or irritated. The syndrome can present generalized or localized pain and can be triggered by pressure or can occur at rest.

Experts believe that some risk factors may contribute to the development of vulvodynia. One consideration is an injury to the nerves that supply sensation to the vulva. Another cause may be an abnormal response of various cells in the vulva to environmental factors such as infection or trauma. Other considerations might include genetic factors associated with susceptibility to chronic vestibular inflammation or a localized hypersensitivity to yeast (Candida). Lastly, researchers have speculated that spasms of the muscles that support the pelvis might be correlated to vulvodynia. Though it is undetermined what triggers individual cases of vulvodynia, the pain is pervasive and massage can help to manage some discomfort associated with this chronic condition.

Women who suffer from vulvodynia oftentimes have associated hip, sacroiliac, coccyx or low back pain. Many women also experience tightness in their adductors, hamstrings, and gluteal muscle groups that are in constant state of contraction due to the body favoring the pain of the pelvic floor. The attachments of these muscles can become tight and inflexible, adding further pain in the pelvic region. The excess muscle tension occurring in the hamstrings, adductors, gluteals, and lower back becomes a pain cycle and can worsen the physical symptoms of vulvodynia, leading to decreased quality of life. Some women have reported disengaging from activities that they once enjoyed because the pain of their condition prohibited movement or interest.

Muscle relaxation training and massage therapy is an important and overlooked treatment method for addressing vulvovdynia. The physiological effects of massage have shown to provide relief for women suffering from vulvodynia. Massage helps to relax and soften injured and overused muscles by causing vasodilation in the skin and muscles that have become used to stimulating and stressful responses of the sympathetic nervous system. Deeper tissue massage causes the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain killers. If pain is diminished, the body is under less stress and the parasympathetic nervous system is more likely to be activated, which helps to support homeostasis. Thus, since massage relaxes the client and reduces sympathetic activity, pain is likely to be less intrusive and disruptive to the individual.

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