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  • Writer's pictureSusan Winograd PT

Is Pelvic Pain Giving You Anxiety?

There is no question that pain triggers a stress response and often causes anxiety.

When people struggle with pelvic pain , bowel bladder and sexual dysfunction there is a huge impact on quality of life which often winds up the nervous system to the anxious state.

Pain during pregnancy or pain after birth ( during postpartum recovery) can be distressing to new moms.

People struggling with painful bladder, overactive bladder, interstitial cystitis, prostatitis, incontinence, constipation and/ or IBS has a huge impact on quality of life.

Getting a diagnosis of pelvic organ prolapse or diastasis recti (abdominal separation) can lead to fear and stress.

Even those with tailbone pain that have to sit for many hours at a time for work can struggle with the anxiety of finding a comfortable , non-painful sitting position.

I am always trying to come up with the best ways to help my clients ease that anxiety because the body cannot heal in the anxious state.

I was feeling anxious myself this afternoon , overwhelmed with the week ahead and all of the projects I wanted to get done.

So I did what I always try to do to try to defuse my anxiety… the one strategy that always helps me the most......I went outside for a run....

However, today I had a major "aha" moment about why my long runs calm my nerves so well......

I always thought that I felt great after a run because it increased my heart rate and releases endorphins ....

I’m sure that’s part of it but today I realized that’s not what does it for me....

When I run I have my best meditations, it is a time when I am able to reflect and think.... Oddly , I tend not to think about my to do list, my projects or work ....

I usually end up reflecting on my family that I love so much, I reflect on the wonder of nature, how beautiful the sky is, the magnificent formation of the clouds, the countless variations of palm trees and their beauty.

In other words.... I end up reflecting on all the things that I am grateful for.

Gratitude is what calms my nervous system!!!!

- Gratitude shifts the nervous system into the rest, digest and repair mode.

- It activates dopamine, neurotransmitter that makes you feel good.

- gratitude increase activity in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus which positively impact functions of the body, memory, and emotions.

- practicing gratitude can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and reduce biomarkers for inflammation.

- gratitude has been shown to improve sleep which is imperative for healing.

My favorite ways to practice gratitude:

- Writing in a Gratitude journal

- Thinking of things that bring you joy

- Connecting with a loved one

- Any form of meditation

- Simply reflecting on a memory that brought you joy , being on the beach, a vacation, a sunset

We all have things in our lives that we are grateful for, let's tune into them to calm the anxious mind and facilitate the healing journey.

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