Endometriosis is sometimes associated with osteomyofascial (bone and muscle) dysfunctions leading to pain that may persist despite appropriate medical or surgical treatment. Treatment by osteopathy is available for this type of pain.
Osteopathy is a hands-on therapy used to maintain or restore the mobility of muscles, bones and joints for optimum functioning.
Osteopathy techniques are based on the principal that there are interrelations between the different body systems (skeletal, muscular, visceral, nerve).
Organs and tissues are linked, closely or not, by mechanical (joints, muscular or ligament insertions), neurological (nerves, spinal cord, brain) and vascular links.
Endometriosis and osteopathy
The endometrial tissue, under the influence of hormones, changes during the menstrual cycle: it develops during the ovulation period and bleeds during menstruation.
This mechanism leads to an inflammatory phenomenon and the appearance of irreversible lesions such as adhesions and nodules, treated by surgery depending on the level of damage, but also to reversible tissue reactions in these same tissues and surrounding areas, which can be treated by osteopathy.
As endometriosis is generally located in the abdominal-pelvic area (pelvic peritoneum, bladder, ovary, digestive tract), it is here that t reversible tissue reactions will occur:
- Pelvic-perineal hypertonias: permanent involuntary contractions of one or more muscles leading to some kinds of dyspareunia and heaviness in the pelvic area.
- Changes in the viscoelastic properties of attachment and support systems for abdomino-pelvic organs.
As the ligaments and fascias lose their flexibility and capacity for deformation, the organs linked to them will lose their relative mobility, which may affect their functioning.
The impact will depend on the affected area:
- colon: digestive disorders, constipation…
- uterus: deep dyspareunia, dysmenorrhea (period pain)…
- bladder: bladder pain, urethral syndrome, interstitial cystitis…
All of these tissue modifications can also have negative effects on bones and joints.
An increase in constraints exerted by these tissues (ligaments, fascias, muscles) on their insertion sites (pelvis, vertebrae) can disturb joint mobility resulting in lumbar, sacral or coccygeal pain, chronic sciatica…
What happens in a session
Having obtained a detailed gynecological history of the patient, the osteopath carries out an in depth pain analysis, with precise description of all pain including when the pain began, details of circumstances and times when pain occurs, and investigates any possible associated trauma (fall, traumatic childbirth, surgery).
The osteopath will perform a clinical examination, to look for loss of osteoarticular mobility and tissue modifications (hypertonia, modification of viscoelasticity).
A gynecological examination is required to investigate the small pelvis region. This can only be performed by a qualified practitioner: physiotherapist-osteopath, midwife-osteopath, doctor- osteopath.
Following diagnosis, osteopathic treatment can begin.
It will most often include treatment for visceral and pelvic areas and osteoarticular manipulations.
When should I consult an osteopath for endometriosis?
An osteopath can be consulted in various situations:
- For superficial endometriosis where surgical treatment is not proposed or would be ineffective and when certain pain persists despite taking suitable hormonal treatment.
- Before surgery: particularly in cases of pelvic hypersensitivity, with the aim of improving the condition of local tissue and reducing post-surgical pain.
- After surgery: 3 months after surgery, if certain pains or dysfunctions persist, treatment will be prescribed to soften scars and restore visceral, myofascial and pelvic perineal tension and joint mobility.
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