Dr. Wise’s new video on pelvic pain and chronic vigilance. WATCH NOW

Escaping the fight, flight, freeze cycle in the healing of pelvic pain

In the 1920s, a well-known physiologist at Harvard named Walter Cannon introduced the concept of fight, flight, freeze. Coincidentally, Walter Cannon was a teacher of my relaxation teacher, Edmund Jacobsen. Commonly, the term Cannon coined is called “fight or flight.” This means that in the presence of something threatening, you either fight it to get rid of it or run away from it. However, the full term is actually “fight, flight, or freeze,” because the biological response to a threat can also be to freeze up, as a way of hiding from the threat, or indicating you offer no threat to what is chasing you. The phrase a deer in the headlights is an example of freeze. Fight, flight, and freeze are terms that make intuitive sense – we all easily understand how we either run away from, fight against, or freeze up in the presence of a threat. How the freeze response is centrally related to pelvic floor pain is a bit less obvious, but I’d like to explain it now.

Pelvic floor pain is associated with muscles in the pelvic floor being overly tightened on an ongoing basis. I’ve described this previously as a charley horse in the pelvic floor perpetuated by anxiety and protective guarding, and unhealing, sore pelvic tissue. Pelvic floor pain takes on a life of its own and remains painfully present on an ongoing basis.

Once we understand that pelvic pain represents a condition of biological “freeze” in the center of the body, we have a path to the solution: unfreezing the chronically frozen pelvis, I suggest, is the remedy for the disorder. While easier said than done, I can tell you from my own personal and professional experience that it is possible.

So, the question is, “How do you unfreeze a chronically tightened pelvic floor?” In the Wise-Anderson Protocol, we recognize that doing this is a psycho-physical task. It requires intervention in both mind and body.

Over the past 25 years we have carefully developed a method to release painful, frozen pelvic tissue. Our FDA approved Internal Trigger Point Wand, in our protocol, is a necessary tool that can enable the unfreezing the pelvis, because it centrally assists internal trigger point release. Trigger point release is a manual method of skillfully pressing on tight bands that form when muscles are held in an extended or intensely contracted state. We teach our patients to use this wand alongside our new external Trigger Point Genie, specific stretches, and other physical methods to loosen the inside of the body.

However, it is also necessary to provide an environment in which the sore tissue of a chronically tight pelvis can heal up from its tendency to freeze (hypertonia). Loosening the inside of the body without this, in our experience, will not provide long-lasting relief, because whatever triggers reflexive muscle freezing will simply cause the pelvic floor to freeze again even if the tightening has been temporarily released physically. Tissue that is sore and irritated is primed to tighten back up with little provocation. This is why most physical intervention that does not reduce nervous arousal at best provides only temporary relief for pelvic floor pain – the state of freeze prevents the healing of the sore tissue in the pelvic floor. Healing this sore tissue is essential to any real, lasting resolution

The pelvic floor in its normal state is soft and responsive, able to easily relax and tighten as the body needs. In the Wise-Anderson Protocol, we teach our patients how to physically loosen the external and internal tissue, interrupting the frozen state of the pelvic floor while reducing the nervous arousal that keeps the pelvic floor irritated and ready to jump back into a state of freeze.

What You Should Know About Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

What You Should Know About Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

  • People suffering from Dysfunction in their pelvic pain are often given a variety of diagnoses and treatments depending on the specialist they see. This can be confusing both to patients and to doctors.
  • Pelvic Floor Dysfunction is used to describe the inability of the pelvic muscles to either contract or relax normally, which leads to a variety of strange and debilitating symptoms.
  • Drugs and surgery are typically not helpful for the symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction.
  • The Wise-Anderson Protocol for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction is offered in a monthly six-day immersion clinic in California. A specific kind of physiotherapy and a pelvic muscle relaxation protocol (called Paradoxical Relaxation) are central parts of the protocol and are aimed at rehabilitation chronically tightened pelvic muscles and reducing anxiety related to this chronically contracted condition of the pelvic floor.

The Wise-Anderson Protocol for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction is a pioneering treatment that may help reduce symptoms in a majority of men and women diagnosed with Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. For more information about and facts about Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, as well as a list of symptoms, visit us online at Pelvic Pain Help. The purpose of our self-treatment is to help patients become free from having to seek additional professional help. For over a decade, research has documented our results of training patients with self-treatment.

NOTE: While it is our hope that these facts about Pelvic Floor Dysfunction are helpful, this information is not to be misconstrued as medical advice. This should be presented as general information about the disorder.