Meet Kate


Name: Kate

Age: 33

Location: California

Primary type of riding: Road, gravel

Riding specialty: Climbing, endurance

Years of riding experience: 10+

When did symptoms start: Winter 2017

What did initial symptoms feel like: Pinching sensation in labia while seated on a bike

If known, presumed causes of pudendal neuralgia: Likely a combination of poor fit (sitting on the saddle crooked and too far back, which meant I was sitting on soft tissue & muscle instead of bony structures) as well as inadequate stress/anxiety management.

Amount of time off the bike since injury: 2.5 years


Symptoms:

- General burning sensation of vulva (feels like the start of a UTI)

- Stabbing, sharp pain on labia minora

- Issues wearing tight clothing and underwear

- Strong, intense pain when bladder is partially full or full (sense of urgency to urinate)


Treatment:

- Physical therapy focusing on:

> Dry needling with neuromodulation

> Manual therapy like nerve gliding & muscular releases

>Address muscular imbalances & issues with muscle tone (in this case, a high

tone/overly tight pelvic floor)

- Lifestyle changes

>Stress & anxiety reduction including calming of the nervous system reactivity and

relaxation of pelvic floor

> Breathing techniques - belly breathing to lengthen pelvic floor & slow down nervous

system

> Prioritization of sleep

- Medication

> Gabapentin (100mg-200mg) used very sparingly only on bad days (2-3 days per

month)

- Home care

>Pelvic wand use focusing on the obturator internus & other pelvic floor muscles

> External massage of abdominals, hips, pelvis

> Pelvic stabilization exercises

> Meditation with focus on relaxing pelvic floor

> Stretching


Recovery Status: Majority of daily symptoms have been reduced or eliminated. Still working through the recovery process by means of monthly PT appointments and weekly home care. Still experiencing some bad days alongside many, many good days.


Are you riding again: No, not yet. The fear of reinjury is too high and I am still working through the mental & emotional side of recovery. It may come with time, but I’m not putting any pressure on myself to get back on the bike, as much as I miss it. Living symptom and pain free is too important for me right now.


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