New research regarding the benefits of physiotherapy in treating prostatitis is promising. This urological condition causes infection or inflammation of the prostate gland and is a fairly common health concern for men under 50.
“Physiotherapy is not a cure for prostatitis, but it will certainly provide a framework for someone with this problem to reduce and manage their symptoms more effectively,” says Rebecca Weaver, a physiotherapist who works at the Bladder Control Centre at the University of British Columbia Hospital in Vancouver.
Prostatitis is a serious medical problem if there is a bacterial infection involved. It may cause a fever and be related to a urinary tract infection. However, the most common form of prostatitis is not caused by infection, and is referred to as chronic pelvic pain syndrome. The main symptoms are pain between the testicles and the rectum, pain in the groin and genital area, and low back pain. Prostatitis can also cause pain with bladder and bowel movements, and with sexual function, including ejaculation. Because it involves these very personal problems, men who have it may be reluctant to seek treatment.
Physiotherapy treatments for prostatitis will not aggravate symptoms. This means that urologists can refer their patients to a physiotherapist as part of a treatment plan, especially men with chronic pelvic pain who are not interested in using pain medication as their primary mode of treatment. Physiotherapy treatment involves correcting muscle imbalances by stretching and strengthening hip and back muscles, stretching of pelvic floor muscles, patient education on pain self-management techniques, and biofeedback.
“The role of physiotherapy in the treatment of prostatitis and pelvic pain is not well understood, and many urologists may not be aware that there are physiotherapists who treat this condition,” says Marie-Josée Lord, a physiotherapist who has been treating pelvic floor dysfunctions for 20 years. “More education will help doctors and other health professionals understand that physiotherapy can be an important part of prostatitis treatment and other chronic pelvic pain conditions.”
Both Lord and Weaver would like to see more research done on the effect of physiotherapy on prostatitis as well as more post-graduate courses in male chronic pelvic pain, to complement those that already exist for male and female incontinence, and female pelvic pain.