Symptoms make the diagnosis
There are no laboratory tests for this condition. Levator ani syndrome is a
collection of symptoms and findings. Not all patients have all the symptoms. Only your
doctor can diagnose levator ani syndrome. The most common symptoms include:
- · Deep dull aching in the rectum/vagina
- · Referred pain to the thigh and buttock
- · Sensation of “sitting on a ball”
- · Pain is worse in sitting and with bowel movement
- · Spasms and pain in the pelvic floor muscle
- · Pain during or after intercourse
Tests usually show there is no inflammatory bowel disease, infection, ulcers
or other bowel problem
What treatments can help?
- · Medications to decrease muscle spasm and pain
- · Biofeedback to learn how to relax and contract the pelvic floor muscles
- · Electrical stimulation to the pelvic floor muscles to relax them and to increase
circulation and promote healing
- · TENS electrical stimulation to the pelvic floor nerves in the lower spine may
help to “cover up” the pain and helps to relax the muscles
- · Sometimes the pain is worse because of spasm in the buttock muscles or
problems in the sacroiliac joint. Physical therapy can treat these areas.
- · Heat and ultrasound are used by physical therapists to relax the pelvic floor
- · A special form of rectal and buttock massage can be performed by the
physician or therapist to decrease pain and spasm.
What can I do to help?
- · Sitting posture is extremely important with levator ani syndrome. Do not
slouch !!! Slouching puts pressure on the coccyx and increases spasm of the
pelvic floor muscles. A special cushion may also be helpful. Do not sit on a
donut as this increases the pressure on the tailbone.
- · Avoid constipation. Do not strain to move your bowels.
- · Sit in a warm tub or apply a warm towel to the vaginal or rectal area Kegel
exercise can help pump the muscle improving circulation.
- · General exercise increases circulation to the pelvic area
- · Relaxation and stress management can also help decrease pain
Coccygodynia – pain in the coccyx (tailbone)
As mentioned in the pain book, the tailbone is a common area of referred pain.
Careful evaluation should determine the cause of the tailbone pain. It is often not the
bone or the joint. Levator ani syndrome may be present.
Proper sitting posture is necessary for relief of tailbone pain
You should shift your weight forward onto the thigh and “sit bones”
away from the tailbone.
A firm chair will put less pressure on the tailbone and support
your posture better.
The seat cushion pictured below may help to decrease tailbone pain further