A Narrative Review of Musculoskeletal Impairments Associated With Nonspecific Chronic Pelvic Pain

Marcie Harris-Hayes, Theresa Spitznagle, Daniel Probst, Stefanie N. Foster, Heidi Prather

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The purpose of this narrative review is to present the evidence relating to musculoskeletal impairments found in people with nonspecific chronic pelvic pain (CPP). The musculoskeletal impairments assessed in this review include pelvic floor muscle: performance, resting state, strength, activation, posture and movement patterns. A search was performed systematically using PubMed, Cochrane, CINAHL, Embase, and Web of Science databases from 1998 to 2018 to identify studies reporting the relationship between nonspecific CPP and musculoskeletal impairments of the hip, pelvis, and trunk. The search resulted in 2106 articles that were screened by two authors. Remaining articles were screened by an additional two authors for inclusion in this review. Thirty-one articles remained after initial screening. Full-text publications were reviewed and an additional 25 articles were excluded. Six additional articles were located through review of the reference lists of included articles. The final review included 12 publications. Seven of these studies were cross-sectional cohorts or case-control comparing patients with CPP to asymptomatic controls. The level of evidence for the studies included in this review was low at Levels 4 and 5. We were unable to draw clear conclusions regarding the relationships of musculoskeletal impairments and CPP because validity and use of terms and assessments were inconsistent. Further research is needed with standardized definitions and measurements to better understand the musculoskeletal system as it relates to nonspecific CPP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S73-S82
JournalPM and R
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - 2019


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