Physiotherapy treatment of sexual pain disorders

J Sex Marital Ther. 2005 Jul-Sep;31(4):329-40. doi: 10.1080/00926230590950235.


Physiotherapists provide treatment to restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease. Women with vulvar pain, dyspareunia, or vaginismus have limited ability to function sexually and often present with musculoskeletal and neurological findings appropriately addressed by a trained physiotherapist. Although pelvic floor surface electromyography (sEMG) biofeedback has been studied, the inclusion of physiotherapy in the team approach to treating women with sexual pain disorders is a relatively recent advancement, and its exact role is not widely understood by doctors, mental health professionals, or laypersons. This article will examine the supportive and often primary role of the physiotherapist in the overlapping conditions of vaginismus and dyspareunia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biofeedback, Psychology* / methods
  • Dyspareunia / therapy
  • Electromyography
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Pain / prevention & control
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pelvic Floor
  • Quality of Life
  • Relaxation*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vulvar Diseases / therapy*
  • Vulvovaginitis / complications
  • Vulvovaginitis / therapy
  • Women's Health