Introduction and hypothesis: Pelvic floor myofascial pain (PFMP) is associated with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). The objective of this study was to test movement-based pelvic floor physical therapy (PT) for patients with PFMP and LUTS. We hypothesized that movement-based PT designed to target PFMP would result in significant improvement in both PFMP and concomitant LUTS. Methods: This pilot trial enrolled patients with moderate-to-severe PFMP on palpation who were referred to movement-based PT to diagnose and treat pelvic floor dysfunction in the context of body alignment and movement patterns. The primary outcome was change in Urogenital Distress Inventory (UDI) scores after PT. Factors associated with PT attendance were also measured. We aimed to enroll 55 participants to achieve 80% power to detect a difference in 11 points on the UDI scores with an alpha-level of 0.05, accounting for a 10% loss to follow-up. The sample size was increased to 65 owing to a higher-than-expected loss-to-follow-up rate. Results: Sixty-five patients were enrolled and 62 analyzed. Thirty-eight (61.3%) attended PT, and 30 (48.4%) completed a follow-up PT Attendance (PTA) survey. Overall, UDI score and irritative, obstructive, and stress subscales (p<0.0001) improved in participants who attended PT as well as mean myofascial examination scores at each site. Conclusions: Participants who attended movement-based PT demonstrated an improvement in LUTS. Future studies should extend our findings by: first, confirming whether the myofascial pain-directed elements of PT improved LUTS; second, investigating whether movement-based PT improves prolapse symptoms; and third, including a non-PT control arm to rule out the possible influence of a placebo effect and behavioral modifications on LUTS and PFMP.
- Lower urinary tract symptoms
- Movement-based physical therapy
- Pelvic floor myofascial pain