What is the Pudendal Nerve and Why does it matter? - Legacy Physical Therapy
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What is the Pudendal Nerve and Why does it matter?


When it comes to the pelvic floor the pudendal nerve is one of the most talked about nerves in this region of the body.

The pudendal nerve is a key player in:

  • Controlling peeing – this nerve controls the urethral sphincter to help you maintain bladder continence 
  • Controlling Pooping – this nerve controls the external anal sphincter to help you maintain bowel continence 
  • Sensory information – this nerve provides sensory information regarding touch, pleasure, pain and temperature from the penis, vagina, perineum ( the skin between the anus & vagina or penis), the anal canal and anus.

The main diagnoses that we tend to see regarding the pudendal nerve, is pudendal nerve entrapment. This condition occurs when the nerve becomes compressed as it leaves or enters the pelvis through entrances formed by ligaments and muscles or anywhere on its route through the body. 

When this nerve is not functioning as it should, it can cause symptoms like:

  • You may experience constant or intermittent pain that can feel like a burning, shooting or prickling sensation through areas of the pelvic floor 
  • You may experience more urinary or bowel frequency or urgency 
  • You may experience pain with sex
  • The pain is likely worse in sitting rather than laying down or standing positions.

Since the pudendal nerve provides so much sensory and functional control of the pelvic floor, Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy is often a go -to for helping manage the symptoms and treat the causes that can contribute to pudendal nerve issues. A Pelvic floor PT would be able to do a thorough assessment of the muscles and connective tissue that impact the pudendal nerve and provide treatments that include:

  • Manual techniques to reduce any muscle tension
  • Teach you self-treatment techniques to release areas of tension
  • Exercise to either release and reduce the tension surrounding the nerve and/or introduce good stability exercises to support the surrounding area. 

If you suspect you may be dealing with pudendal neuralgia, and would like to talk to one of our therapists please reach out to us for a discovery session!