Association between lumbopelvic pain and pelvic floor dysfunction in women: A cross sectional study

Musculoskelet Sci Pract. 2018 Apr:34:47-53. doi: 10.1016/j.msksp.2017.12.001. Epub 2017 Dec 9.


Background: The prevalence, cost and disability associated with lumbopelvic pain continues to rise despite the range of available therapeutic interventions, indicating a deficiency in current approaches. A literature base highlighting a correlation between lumbopelvic pain and pelvic floor function is developing; however, the features that characterize this correlation have yet to be fully established.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and characteristics of pelvic floor muscle function among women with lumbopelvic pain.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on non-pregnant women presenting with lumbopelvic pain to one of seven outpatient orthopaedic clinics in Canada. Potential participants underwent a screening process to assess for pelvic floor muscle dysfunction.

Results: A total of 182 women were recruited and 97 were excluded, leaving 85 participants (n = 85). Of these, 95.3% were determined to have some form of pelvic floor dysfunction. Specifically, 71% of the participants had pelvic floor muscle tenderness, 66% had pelvic floor weakness and 41% were found to have a pelvic organ prolapse. Participants with combined low back pain and pelvic girdle pain presented with higher levels of disability and increased characteristics of pelvic floor dysfunction.

Conclusions: Our findings corroborate and extend recent research supporting the hypothesis that a high proportion of pelvic floor muscle dysfunction is present among women with lumbopelvic pain. Specifically, increased pelvic floor muscle pressure-pain sensitivity represented the most frequent characteristic, the clinical implications of which require further study.

Keywords: Lower back pain; Lumbopelvic pain; Pelvic floor; Women's health.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Canada
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Pelvic Pain / physiopathology*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*