Pain from Levator Ani Syndrome
Recently I was suffering tremendous spasms of pain which I believe were the result of Levator Ani Syndrome, a cause of chronic pelvic pain. (Here is a post on how I ultimately got relief from the pain of Levator Ani Syndrome– it works for many different types of back pain, abdominal pain, and body pain).
The typical symptoms of levator ani syndrome include pain, pressure, and discomfort in the region of the rectum, sacrum, and coccyx, which tends to be aggravated by sitting. Suffers of Levator ani syndrome may experience rectal butt spasms, rectum pain and tightness, and a sensation of fullness in the rectum or butt.
Other names for Levator ani syndrome include coccygodynia, levator syndrome, levator ani spasm syndrome, proctalgia fugax, and proctodynia.
It is sometimes confused with proctalgia fugax, which is defined as a short, sharp pain in the rectum. However, Levator ani syndrome tends to be more constant pain. The pain is located in the pelvic floor muscles in the rectum, mainly the levator ani muscle. It is very literally a “pain in the butt”.
Gluteal discomfort and high rectal distress usually occur. Tenderness and muscle spasm affecting the levator ani muscles are the principal symptoms of this disorder.
The root cause is pelvic floor muscle tension or myalgia. In simple terms, it is muscle knots in the internal walls of the rectum. When these tiny knots are active, they can cause great pain and a sensation of tightness in the rectal area. This is typical of levator ani syndrome.
A natural muscle relaxant such as this might help: http://www.iherb.com/MRM-Relax-All-with-Phenibut-60-Veggie-Caps/4842
Levator Ani Syndrome Symptoms
- Rectal Pain and Burning
- Rectal tightness and muscle spasm
What is the treatment for Levator Ani Syndrome?
The common treatments for levator ani syndrome are usually muscle relaxants, hot baths, and proper diet and exercise.
Its often recommended to take hot baths nightly for 20 minutes. Sleeping on a hot water bottle or an electric heating pad applied to the anal area is also effective. Biofeedback training is also reportedly effective.
In order for most cases of levator ani syndrome to be resolved, trigger point therapy or internal massage on the levator ani/rectal muscles can bring great relief. The treatment itself can be very painful, but the overall relief from treatment can be felt almost immediately. In those patients who do not respond to massage, electrogalvanic stimulation is employed. The rationale on which this therapy is based is that a low frequency oscillating current applied to the muscle induces fasciculation and fatigue which breaks the spastic cycle.
Cause of Levator Ani Sydrome
In most cases, there is an underlying element of chronic stress and anxiety which causes these muscles to tighten up and spasm. This pelvic floor muscle tension causes pain and burning.
Levator Ani Syndrome Symptoms
Most sufferers complain of a ache in the rectum. There may be a feeling of constant rectal pressure and occasional burning. Some people report of feeling like they are sitting on a “ball” or that there is a “ball” in their rectum. The pain can be made worse by a bowel movement when the stool presses against the levator ani (muscle) as it is being expelled.
A variant of the levator syndrome is proctalgia fugax, a feeling of severe pain in the rectum which generally occurs at night and which will awaken the patient from a sound sleep.
The term coccygodynia was often used in the past for this condition, but few patients actually have coccygeal (tailbone) pain.
Diagnosis of Levator Ani Syndrome
Many patients will have sought previous treatment for their discomfort, but the diagnosis was missed. A complete examination fails to reveal other painful lesions in the anorectum. Rectal examination reveals a tender levator muscle, which when digitally pressed, reproduces the patient’s discomfort.