We Treat Menstrual Pain Naturally
Primary dysmenorrhea begins with a woman’s first menstrual cycle and may recur until menopause. It can occur when there is no pelvic pathology. Secondary dysmenorrhea has a later onset, and may first appear after identifiable conditions such as surgery, endometriosis, inflammation (PID), infection, or trauma. Secondary dysmenorrhea has also been linked to structural abnormalities inside or outside of the uterus, such as adhesions or an intrauterine device (IUD).
Menstrual pain patterns may vary widely from person to person. Pain may increase or decrease at night, may or may not be continuous and may intensify suddenly. It can feel like a weighty, pulling sensation and may radiate to the lumbar, sciatic, pelvic floor or groin areas. The pain may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, migraines, fainting, fatigue or dizziness.
The main symptom of dysmenorrhea is pain concentrated in the lower abdomen and pelvis. Pain can radiate into the thighs and lower back, and may cause headache.
Causes of Menstrual Pain
The initial onset of primary dysmenorrhea may result from certain chemical or hormonal conditions. For example, hormones such as prostaglandin and arachidonic acid are known to cause uterine contractions. Prostaglandins are released during menstruation, due to the periodic destruction of endometrial cells and the release of their contents. As the menstrual period progresses, the levels of prostaglandins decrease, thus lowering the pain.
The pain can be caused or exacerbated by spasm, endometriosis, tightness or adhesions. Adhesions affect the ligaments, fascias or connective tissues that attach the uterus to surrounding structures. Women with secondary dysmenorrhea may also experience restricted mobility of the reproductive and urogenital structures as a result of adhesions.
Adhesions & Menstrual PainAdhesions can accompany or cause dysmenorrhea, as the body reacts to trauma, inflammation, infection, surgery, or chronic spasm. Adhesions are composed of tiny but strong strands of collagen that form around traumatized tissue to help it heal. Acting like glue, the adhesions isolate the injured tissue while it heals from infection, inflammation, surgery or trauma.
Once the healing process is complete, the adhesions remain in the body as tiny straight-jackets, binding structures that should be mobile. These adhesions can attach to pain-sensitive structures in the pelvis, causing pain. Wherever they form, adhesions join structures with strong glue-like bonds that can last a lifetime.
We know pelvic adhesions well. Twenty years ago, our national director, physical therapist Belinda Wurn, developed severe adhesions after pelvic surgery and radiation therapy. Unable to work due to chronic pelvic pain and having seen the devastating and debilitating effects of pelvic adhesions in her own patients, she was determined to find a non-surgical way to address chronic pelvic pain and adhesions.
With her husband, massage therapist Larry Wurn, Belinda took a much deeper look at the etiology and biomechanics of adhesion formation. They found that the molecular bonds that attached each of the tiny collagen fibers, or crosslinks, to its neighbor appeared to dissipate or dissolve with certain site-specific manual techniques. With this knowledge, they developed the Wurn Technique® to free adhesive bonds and return structures to a more functional, pain-free state.
The Wurn Technique® is designed to reduce or eliminate adhesions crosslink by crosslink. Clear Passage therapists use their hands to detach the adhesions. The Wurn Technique® has been shown in peer-reviewed medical journals to decrease pain and improve function without surgery or drugs.
Until recently, lysis (burning of adhesions during laparoscopy or laparotomy) was the only option to remove adhesions in the pelvis. While lysis of pelvic adhesions can be effective, surgery has two major drawbacks:
- It carries risks from anesthesia and infection
- Surgeons can mistakenly cut of burn nearby or underlying structures.
- Despite the best skills of the finest surgeon, the body creates more abdominal adhesions as it heals from the very surgery designed to remove them.
A study in Digestive Surgery showed that 55 to 100 percent of women develop adhesions following pelvic surgery. (Liakakos et al,, 2001) Another study reported that 35 perfect of all open abdominal or pelvic surgery patients were readmitted to the hospital more than twice to treat post-surgical adhesions during the 10 years after their original surgery. (Ellis et al., 1999) Thus, pelvic surgery itself has been implicated as a major cause of adhesion formation and many patients become trapped in a cycle of surgery-adhesions-surgery – with no end in sight.