Endometriosis, it’s definitely a pain in the back

Women’s health, pelvic floor dysfunction and pelvic pain can be a world of trouble for most women. 1 in 5 women will suffer from some sort of pelvic pain in their lifetime, yet a lot of women will go on for many years without receiving a diagnosis or assessment. The health care system, as well as lack of awareness for these conditions, can keep women in the dark about addressing their pelvic health concerns. This week’s blog post will delve into endometriosis, how to manage it and what osteopathy and physiotherapy can do to help.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a debilitating condition, that is characterised by intensely painful periods. Menstrual lining is only meant to grow within the uterus; however, endometriosis involves growth of adhesions that appear outside of the uterus. They can grow in the bowels, ovaries and fallopian tubes. When it’s time for a period, the menstrual lining is meant to exit through the vaginal canal, however these adhesions have nowhere to exit, therefore go through the process of bleeding, inflammation, pain, healing, and then scar tissue. Overtime the scar tissue causes the organs to stick together, causing deep pelvic pain and effecting fertility. Symptoms of endometriosis often involve; painful periods, painful intercourse, low back and pelvic pain, pain when using bowels and passing urine. The causes of endometriosis are still unknown, however may involve; family history and retrograde menstruation.

Where can you receive a diagnosis?

Many women have gone on for years with heavy, painful and long periods, so much so that they need to stay home from work and school. Diagnosis for these women have not always been straight forward, and that’s because there are still some things we don’t know about menstruation and women’s pelvic health. There are differing severities of endometriosis, and every person’s experience might be slightly different. Expect your doctor to ask you questions in relation to your period, level of pain, and other areas of pain, such as; pain going to the toilet, with intercourse and difficulty falling pregnant. A referral to a gynaecologist can confirm early diagnosis and start management straight away, to reduce the severity of the condition. The gold standard, or the best way, to receive a diagnosis is through a laparoscopy, which is key hole surgery. Ultrasound is another form of diagnosis that is still being investigated. Your gynaecologist can may grade your endometriosis, depending on the severity. There are 4 stages, however the category you sit in does not correlate to the amount of pain or limitation in function you may experience. Someone with grade 1 endometriosis can still suffer the same amount, if not more, than someone with grade 4 endometriosis. Health practitioners who can investigate your symptoms, and refer you to a gynaecologist include: your GP, osteopath, physiotherapist, pelvic health specialist, naturopath or other health specialist.

How can osteopathy and physiotherapy help?

 As the title of this blog says, endometriosis can be a real pain in the back, literally. Osteopaths and physiotherapists can assess, and therefore treat joint restrictions, muscle tightness and imbalances. We can also provide pain relief and self-management of musculoskeletal pain, in conjunction with gynaecological management. Common areas of pain include the lower back region, sacroiliac joints and gluteal area. Another way these practitioners can assist in treating pelvic pain, is through a women’s health pelvic specialist osteopath or physiotherapist. Not a lot of women know about these practitioners, but they can address issues such as painful intercourse, pain when passing bowel movements and address imbalances and restrictions in the pelvic floor muscles via internal and external techniques. A holistic view on health and when treating the musculoskeletal system, in combination with an exercise program that encourages movement and builds strength, is not only beneficial to reduce pain over time, but is great for your mental health too.

In conclusion, endometriosis and women’s pelvic pain is a topic that we are still trying to understand. Due to lack of awareness of conditions and practitioners that can be of great help, women tend to suffer in silence, or believe what they’re going through is normal. No matter the severity of endometriosis, a diagnosis can be made. Osteopaths and physiotherapists can aid in reducing joint and muscle pain that can occur due to endometriosis


Pelvic Pain Foundation. 2022. Pelvic Pain Foundation – Home. [online] Available at: <https://www.pelvicpain.org.au/> [Accessed 19 February 2022].

Jean Hailes. 2022. Pelvic pain: know the different causes and when to seek help. [online] Available at: <https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/news/pelvic-pain-know-the-differences-and-when-to-seek-help> [Accessed 19 February 2022].

Eastern Osteopathy. 2022. Eastern Osteopathy. [online] Available at: <https://www.easternosteo.com.au/> [Accessed 19 February 2022].

Betterhealth.vic.gov.au. 2018. Endometriosis – Better Health Channel. [online] Available at: <https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/endometriosis> [Accessed 19 February 2022].

Betterhealth.vic.gov.au. 2018. Endometriosis – Better Health Channel. [online] Available at: <https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/endometriosis> [Accessed 19 February 2022].



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