A Pilot Randomized Trial of Levator Injections Versus Physical Therapy for Treatment of Pelvic Floor Myalgia and Sexual Pain

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Introduction and hypothesis Our aim was to determine the effects of pelvic floor physical therapy (PT) and levator-directed trigger-point injections (LTPI) on sexual function and levator-related pelvic pain.

Study design A randomized trial among women with pelvic floor myalgia (PFM) was performed wherein participants received either PT or LTPI. Pain was assessed and 1 month posttreatment completion. Levator-based pain was assessed using a numeric rating scale (NRS) and the Patient Global Impression of Improvement (PGI-I) scale. Sexual function was assessed using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI).

Results Twenty-nine women completed the study (17 had PT, 12 had LTPI). Both groups reported reduction in vaginal pain: mean NRS change from baseline of 4.47 [standard deviation (SD) 2.12) for PT and 4.67 (SD 1.72) for LTPI (p = 0.8)]. A >50 % improvement in NRS was documented among 59 % of women receiving PT and 58 % receiving LTPI (p = 1.0). Consistent with NRS scores, mean PGI-I score was 2.50 (SD 1.17) for PT and 2.17 (SD 1.01) for LTPI (p = 0.5). Mean change in FSFI favored PT [PT +8.87 (SD 5.60), LTPI +4.00 (SD 5.24), p = 0.04], reflecting improvement in the sexual pain domain favoring PT (p = 0.02). However, the time in weeks to effect improvement favored LTPI if controlling for the degree of change in NRS (p = 0.01) and FSFI (p = 0.01).

Conclusions Vaginal myalgia and sex-related pain improved with pelvic floor PT and LTPI. Time-to-effect improvement and significance of therapy are dependent on treatment type.



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