Yoga for Chronic Pelvic Pain

Chronic pelvic pain affects millions of people every year. You or someone in your family may suffer from pelvic pain. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, chronic pelvic pain is defined as “noncyclical pain lasting 6 months or more affecting the pelvic, anterior abdominal wall, lower back, or buttocks that is serious enough to cause disability or lead to medical care.”

Chronic pain can be detrimental to quality of life. The clients I see in physical therapy often report going out less often, missing work, and not feeling present with their family or friends when dealing with pelvic pain. The treatment for chronic pelvic pain often includes medications, counseling, and physical therapy.

In a systematic review from Russell et al, the authors reviewed studies using yoga to treat chronic pelvic pain. In the studies, yoga was found to reduce pain and improve quality of life. The authors report the highest-quality study they reviewed recommended yoga practice one hour sessions, 5 x per week, over the course of 8 weeks. Some studies also found much less time spent in yoga practice was still beneficial.

Yoga is very accessible; whether you choose to practice at a local studio or follow along online at home. Little to no equipment is required. It can be beneficial to help you identify and stretch the pelvic floor muscles, strengthen the muscles that work with your pelvic floor such as your hips and back, and helps promote relaxation. The deep breathing used in yoga can help decrease the sensitivity of the nervous system, which can have a positive impact on pain.

If you are having chronic pelvic pain, and can’t get to a physical therapist or a yoga studio, here are some good poses to start with:

Butterfly Pose:


Child’s Pose:

Legs up the Wall Pose:

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

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