Pelvic Pain Demands a Rewrite

SHIFT

KEYS TO RELIEF: By making some big paradigm shifts, Sharp lives a full life despite his pelvic pain.

Previously on Painopolis, editor and health journalist David Sharp described his descent into chronic pelvic pain syndrome and recounted his early reliance on a urologist who misdiagnosed the cause of Sharp’s pain for years. The urologist treated him with a drug that failed to quell his pain and would later be taken off the market for causing an increased risk of strokes. Then, on an internet forum, Sharp heard about a clinic in California that had an intriguing though unorthodox new approach for treating pelvic pain, but hadn’t yet published any results on its methods.

Today, our intrepid journalist makes the painful trip to California to attend that clinic—painful because he’s in excruciating pain when he’s sitting. What’s more, he knows full well that yet another urologist plus a physical therapist will not only be looking under his hood, so to speak, but sticking their fingers . . . up his tailpipe, too. The trip also represents a big gamble, because if the clinic’s approach fails to work, he’s got no plan B.

“There’s nothing like excruciating pain for getting you to change your life.”

Sharp wraps up his chronic-pain story with specifics about how he’s doing today. He also reveals the strategies he now uses to rein in his pelvic pain. Thanks to these strategies, he’s gone from being nearly bedridden to living a full life.

In this episode, Sharp talks in-depth about:

•  The key components of the six-day pelvic-pain clinic he attended

•  How he learned a type of meditation called “paradoxical relaxation” that, with practice, allowed him to downshift the tension in his body so his muscles could heal

•  Trigger-point therapy—what it felt like to undergo the finger-in-the-rectum sessions and how, over time, the therapy deactivated his muscle tension

•  How his turbulent childhood led him unknowingly to equate muscle tension with safety

•  How psychotherapy helped him work through childhood trauma and gain a new way of dealing with pelvic pain—and with life

•  How he successfully overcame the panic attacks that began a few months after he started practicing meditation, the cornerstone of his treatment regimen

•  Why you need a support team to help you deal with chronic pain—and who to keep off your support team

•  The top six things he does on a daily basis to reduce his pain. Hear a snippet now: 

Interviewee:

•  David Sharp is a journalist and founding editor of Painopolis.

Pelvic pain overview:

•  Chronic pelvic pain syndrome strikes males and females. Here are the symptoms associated with the disorder.

Resources:

•  National Center for Pelvic Pain Research

•  Prostatitis-CPPS-Interstitial Cystitis Forum is a popular forum where people with pelvic pain share insights, encouragement and treatment experiences.

•  A Headache in the Pelvis by David Wise, Ph.D., and Rodney Anderson, M.D.

•  Paradoxical Relaxation by David Wise, Ph.D.

•  The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Claire Davies and Amber Davies

•  The Long Run by Matt Long with Charles Butler

The Wise-Anderson Protocol:

•  Here are the components of the Wise-Anderson Protocol.

•  These studies document the effectiveness of the protocol in treating chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

•  Developers of the protocol discuss their pelvic-pain treatment in this video.

Updates:

When Sharp attended the National Center for Pelvic Pain Research’s (NCPPR) six-day pelvic-pain clinic in 2004, it was physically impossible for patients (other than maybe those who were carnival contortionists) to perform internal trigger-point therapy on themselves, given the unreachable location of the trigger points. Since then, the NCPPR has created an FDA-approved wandlike device that allows patients to self-administer trigger-point therapy. Also, the NCPRR now treats women as well as men.

Music:

 •  Our theme music is “Gentle Storm,” composed and performed by Betsy Tinney (betsytinney.com).

Wish other people in chronic pain knew about Painopolis? To help spread the word, please post a review about Painopolis on iTunes. We’d be forever grateful.