Tail bone pain? Sharp stabbing pain in the rectum? It might be Proctalgia Fugax

Proctalgia Fugax, characterised by a sudden, sharp, stabbing rectal pain, can be an incredibly uncomfortable and distressing condition. For many individuals, this pain occurs overnight and doesn’t always have a specific cause and it is not unusual for it to come on randomly. The pain itself normally lasts for a couple of seconds to up to an hour. Even though this pain is often transient, it is often linked to underlying pelvic floor dysfunction.

Understanding Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

The pelvic floor is a complex network of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that provide support for your pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus, and rectum. These muscles play a crucial role in maintaining continence and facilitating healthy bowel movements. The pelvic floor also attaches onto the tail bone and wraps around the rectum, therefore any spams, tightness or a non-relaxing pelvic floor can cause pain and discomfort around these areas.

There are several reasons why pelvic floor dysfunction may occur:

  1. Muscle Tension: Chronic muscle tension and spasms in the pelvic floor can cause pain and discomfort. This tension can be a result of stress, anxiety, or physical factors like injury or surgery.
  2. Inadequate Relaxation: In some cases, the pelvic floor muscles do not relax properly during bowel movements, leading to pain and discomfort during or after bowel movements. Constipation that is left untreated can also be a risk factor for prolapse.
  3. Nerve Irritation: Irritation or compression of the nerves in the pelvic region, in particular the Pudenal nerve, can also contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction and pain in the region.
  4. Pelvic Pain conditions: Conditions such as endometriosis and adenomyosis can cause pain in the pelvis and a flow on effect of this is often tightness and pain in the pelvic floor muscles.
  5. Injury or Trauma: Physical trauma or injury to the pelvic area, such as childbirth or a direct fall onto the tail bone, can also result in muscle dysfunction.

Treatment Options for Proctalgia Due to Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

  1. Pelvic Floor Wand Release:
    • Using a Pelvic floor wand can allow you to release the deeper layers of the pelvic floor either vaginally or rectally. This can help alleviate pain and discomfort by promoting muscle relaxation and can be very effective in treating tail bone pain.

  1. Pelvic Stretches:
    • Stretching exercises can be effective in reducing muscle tension and promoting flexibility in the pelvic floor. Incorporating gentle, targeted stretches into your daily routine can help relieve proctalgia. You can find pelvic floor relaxation and yoga mobility flows here.
  2. External Release with a Trigger Point Ball:
    • Trigger point balls are small, firm balls that can be used to apply pressure to specific trigger points in the pelvic area. This self-massage technique can help release muscle tension and alleviate pain. Specifically targeting around the glutes and lower back may be helpful.
  3. Breathing Exercises:
    • Deep diaphragmatic breathing can assist in relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. Practicing controlled breathing techniques can help manage stress and anxiety, which are common triggers for pelvic floor dysfunction. You can learn more about the breath and the pelvic floor here.
  4. Pelvic Floor Relaxation:
    • Learning to consciously relax the pelvic floor muscles is a critical aspect of managing pelvic floor dysfunction. Pelvic floor relaxation exercises and techniques can be taught by physical therapists or other healthcare professionals.



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