Mind Body Relief for Chronic Pelvic Pain: What to Do When Your Pain Flares Up

By Lorraine Faehndrich

A Mind Body approach to relieving Chronic Pelvic Pain is the most effective and lasting way I know of to not only relieve pelvic pain symptoms, but reclaim your life. In fact, for many women a Mind Body approach is the ONLY lasting solution.

If you’re new to this concept and haven’t yet explored the effect that your thoughts, emotions, and life experiences can have on your body I highly recommend reading my posts Emotions: The Missing Link to Healing Chronic Pelvic Pain and Chronic Pelvic Pain: What is Your Body Saying to You?

The ways you’ve learned to think and process emotions has a significant physiological impact on your body, and while it’s not likely that any doctor or other health care provider has told you this yet (or if they have they haven’t known what to do about it) it doesn’t change the fact that addressing the mind body connection is a HUGE factor in successfully relieving pelvic pain.

The above posts will help get you started on a Mind Body path towards lasting pain relief.

Today I want to give you some strategies that will help you through painful flare ups of pelvic pain as they occur.

Because when you’re in a lot of pain, it’s NOT the time to do the deeper work that will help you get to the root of your symptoms and heal the underlying causes.  It’s a time to focus on relieving your pain in the moment – and love, nurture and care for yourself, the way you would anyone else that was in a lot of pain.

These tools have proven over and over again to bring my clients relief……both physical and emotional….when their pain is so bad there isn’t anything else they can do.

My Top 3 Strategies for Relieving Painful Flare Ups of Pelvic Pain:

  1. Move from Fixing to Allowing

What you resist persists and pain is no exception. Though it seems counter intuitive, trying to fix or otherwise relieve pain in the moment almost always increases it – and that includes trying to relieve it with Mind Body tools. The only way to find relief is to drop into your body and accept that for the moment the pain is there. (Of course if you’re experiencing new symptoms that you haven’t seen a doctor about yet, or an increase in old symptoms that are concerning you, you should consult your doctor. But, if you’re having a painful flare up of symptoms that you’ve already had checked out and that there isn’t anything else you can do about, than for the moment, the best thing you can do for yourself is to ALLOW the pain to be there.)

Struggling against pain, worrying about pain, and trying to fix pain increase tension and stress in your body and as a result increase pain.

Your body (and mind) instinctively tense and contract against pain and discomfort, so to let this go, you’re going to need to notice and release this unconscious response. The best way to do that is to breathe, and specifically, to breathe into your low belly.

Before you start, take a minute to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Maybe wrap yourself in your favorite blanket and make a cup of your favorite tea.  Now, bring your attention to your breath, place a hand on your low belly, and gently intend for your breath to sink down into and fill your low belly. Don’t force this. Take gentle slow breaths into your low belly.  Notice how your belly rises as you inhale, and falls as you exhale. Imagine tension floating out of your body with your exhale.

Breathing into your low belly this way not only releases tension, it engages your vagus nerve which activates the relaxation response in your nervous system and decreases pain.

  1. Bring In Love

Feeling alone when you’re in pain can increase stressful thinking and as a result physical tension and pain. The truth is that you are never alone.  You are pure positive nonphysical love energy that has manifested in a physical body and connecting to the love that you already are, and that you can access in any moment, is a powerful tool for relieving pain.

After taking a few breaths into your low belly (as described above), imagine that you have a small valve over your heart. In your mind imagine dusting off this valve and that as you do a beautiful golden white light begins to pour into your heart. As this light fills your heart see it expanding out and filling every cell in your body with pure love energy. Imagine that this energy brings each cell everything it needs in that moment to heal. All is well. You are ok.  Your body now has exactly what it needs to heal – love.  Continue until your entire body is filled with this golden white light of pure love.

As you fill up your body with pure love, you can also imagine that you are being held by your own soul, higher self, God or Goddess – or any presence that is all loving and accepting of you.  Imagine that you are being held and cared for the way you would care for your own child, a beloved pet, or someone that you care deeply about.  You are not alone.

  1. Find Comfort

When you are in pain, especially when it is intense, your brain’s tendency is to notice ONLY that pain. The good news is that you can train your brain to become aware of comfort at the same time that you’re aware of pain. Expanding your awareness to include the parts of your body that are comfortable – or at least neutral can help reduce the intensity of your pain significantly.

Here’s what to do:

  1. As you are breathing into your low belly, scan your body to find a place that feels comfortable and at ease. It may feel open, relaxed, and good, or it may just be neutral. Check everywhere, in your feet, legs, torso, arms, hands and head. Often a toe, earlobe, finger, or lip will feel comfortable or at least neutral.
  1. Bring your attention to this area and notice how it feels. Breathe into it and allow yourself to become more aware of the sensation. See if you can allow the comfortable sensations in this area to expand.
  1. Now bring your attention back to the discomfort in your body – whether it is emotional or physical sensation. Breathe into the area. Welcome the sensation. Allow it to be there. Describe it with adjectives like tingly, heavy, tense, burning, prickly, etc. Notice that you can be aware of this sensation and still be ok.
  1. After a minute or so, or as soon as you notice yourself beginning to get anxious or overwhelmed, flip your focus back to your comfortable place.   Focus entirely on this comfortable sensation again and bask in it. Notice how it feels. Notice that even though there is discomfort in your body there is also comfort and you can bring your attention there any time you want to.
  1. Repeat these steps alternating your attention back and forth between the areas of discomfort and comfort a few more times.
  1. Now see if you can hold both the areas of comfort and discomfort in your awareness at the same time. Notice how expanding your awareness to include the part or parts of you that feel comfortable affects your overall experience. Continue as long as you’d like.

Moving from Fixing to Allowing, Bringing in Love, and Finding Comfort are powerful strategies for relieving not only physical pain but the emotional pain, stress, and anxiety that can come along with it. The next time your pain flares, rather than struggling against it, these tools can help you find relief and comfort in the moment.

And remember, these tools are “in the moment” strategies.  As you do the deeper Mind Body work of connecting to your body and emotions, healing the effects of past trauma, and accessing your soul’s guidance your pelvic pain will continue to decrease until you no longer need a strategy for dealing with flare ups.  For now, keep going.  You’re on the right track!

18 Comments

  1. Diane Faehndrich

    Thank you for sharing. Plan on trying all three strategies.

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Thanks for reading mom!

      Love,
      Lorraine

      Reply
  2. Janice

    As always, such a beautiful sharing of gentle, effective and helpful information! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Thanks for your comments Janice!

      Warmly,
      Lorraine

      Reply
  3. Patti

    I love this approach! I tried it the other day while having a root canal! But will also bookmark this page and refer to it the next time IF my sciatica acts up. Thank you, dear soul !

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Wonderful Patti! I’m so glad the tools worked for you. Thanks for sharing.

      Warmly,
      Lorraine

      Reply
  4. Debbie

    Hi Lorraine,
    To not try and fix “it” is a new concept for me. I always want to fix it, make it go away.
    Flares catch us by surprise, disrupt, and that is stress for sure.

    Do you feel this works for peripheral sensitization pain, or centralized pain? I always get annoyed by having to take time to “deal” with the pain, again creating more stress.
    What is the best approach for this type of pain?

    Thanks for all you do – Debbie

    Reply
  5. Buzz blumberg

    Constantly trying to “fix it”. Unsuccessfully. Excellent article. Acceptance is the key but still working at it. Thanks so much for the article. Buzz

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      You’re welcome Buzz! I’m glad it was helpful. You will get there!
      Warmest Wishes, Lorraine

      Reply
  6. Rose

    Hi Lorraine. Thank you for this article. I found it very inspirational. I know your August program is currently closed, but wondering if another will follow soon. Thanks, Rose

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Rose,

      Thanks for your interest. The Healing Female Pain program is available now as self-study, that includes a monthly support call. You can learn more about it and register here: https://healingfemalepain.com. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Warmly,
      Lorraine

      Reply
  7. Rasa

    Hi Lorraine,

    Thanks for your article and HFP program – it has done wonders for me so far. I’d like to share another strategy I use when I’m in pain (often in the middle of the night), which incorporates lessons described in the HFP program. After employing the relaxation strategies described in your article, I then ask myself “what else is going on here?” I check in to my body and discover other body sensations associated with anxiety and its underlying emotions, and attempt to be present in those sensations/emotions and soothe them (e.g. by telling myself “there is no threat here, I’m safe”). It’s been nice to incorporate different tools from your toolbox in a way that works for each unique situation.

    Thanks again,
    Rasa

    Reply
  8. Faith A

    Have just had a bladder biopsy which has caused me to flare. What you have posted actually helped me to decrease my pain significantly. Thankyou

    To anyone else looking for relief through flares, please open your mind to how much the mind has to do with your pain. It has taken me over a year to realise this and not dismiss it for nonsense. Save yourself the time and give it a go because lets face it, when you’re flaring and nothings working you really have nothing to loose.

    -Faith

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      Hi Faith,

      You’re welcome! I’m so glad to hear it helped. Thanks for sharing your experience and encouraging others to give it a go, because as you say, there really is nothing to lose :). All the best to you.

      Warmly,
      Lorraine

      Reply
  9. Annette Baulch

    Hi Lorraine, I have been following your posts for a while now and just love your gentle and very informed approach to something that can be totally soul destroying. I experienced vulvodynia for many years and eventually came up with many strategies similar to yours.
    I just wish I had come across your program years ago as it would have saved me so much struggle and feelings of aloneness. Well done and keep up the fantastic work!

    Reply
  10. Annette Baulch

    Hi Lorraine, I have been following your posts for a while now and just love your gentle and very informed approach to something that can be totally soul destroying. I experienced vulvodynia for many years and eventually came up with many strategies similar to yours and it was great to see them affirmed here.
    I just wish I had come across your program years ago as it would have saved me SO much struggle, feelings of aloneness and fear that I was actually crazy… Well done and keep up the fantastic work!

    Reply
  11. Julie

    Thank you so much Lorraine. (my middle name is Lorraine)
    I have been in a lot of pain today, not only with pelvic but Neuropathy pain. This has helped me beyond belief.

    Hugs,
    Julie

    Reply
    • Lorraine

      I’m so glad to hear that Julie! Nice to connect with another Lorraine 🙂

      Warmly,
      Lorraine

      Reply

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