Success story: rapid recovery from non-bacterial prostatitis through physical therapy

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 Hi all,

I wanted to make a post in case this might be useful to anyone else suffering from prostatitis. I’m 26 years old and was diagnosed two months ago with nonbacterial prostatitis. It's honestly been one of the roughest periods of my life. However, in the past week, my symptoms have decreased nearly 90%, and my symptoms now border on unnoticeable.

While I know everyone's case is different, hopefully my experience could be useful to someone on here and could point them in the right direction.

My symptoms were a burning in the urethra, a sharp acute pain in the urethra about 3/4" in from the tip of my penis, and later on, pressure in the rectum/tailbone area, off and on flow during urination, and frequent voiding.

At its worse, the burning pain was constant throughout the day and debilitating. I was on prescription codeine to deal with pain, and became non-productive and deeply depressed.

I went to a few urologists, who prescribed me antibiotics. I went on azithromycin, doxycycline, and Bactrim for weeks, without any improvement. Finally, my last urologist referred me to a physical therapist, who specialized in pelvic floor pain.

By this point, I was extremely pessimistic and depressed, and stressed; my symptoms began to get increasingly worse with the stress. I noticed my pelvic muscles were tensing, particular with some of my new symptoms involving off-and-on urination.

Impatient for my wait to see the physical therapist, I decided to do some pelvic floor drop exercises that I read about online, to see if they would help relax those muscles. They immediately solved my issues with off-and-on urination, and frequent voiding. The burning in my urethra halved in intensity with just two days of pelvic relaxation.

As I noticed this working, I got less stressed and I think I went from a negative spiral to a virtuous feedback loop, where my stress become less and less as I gained a more positive outlook.

A week later, my physical therapist examined me and determined that my hip bones were misaligned, causing my pelvic floor to be stretched and my symptoms to occur. As far as the cases she's seen, mine was fairly straightforward, as was the treatment: a simple exercise where I pressed one leg up and the other down. It's largely now reset my hip bones into alignment. In a single day, my symptoms decreased 80%.

An interested side-effect has been an increase in the flexibility of my right knee: I've gained 30 degrees of motion in just a week, after just a week of realignment exercises.

Now - just a six days later - it's to the point that I hardly notice any symptoms, and my life is pretty much back to normal. According to my physical therapist, I'm recovering surprisingly fast and while many people's recoveries take quite a bit longer, people can ultimately recover from this condition, which appears to be in many cases a muscular-skeletal issue.

I'm posting here because a few weeks ago, I was scrambling on the internet for answers, breaking down crying, and panicking about my future. And now, I feel like I have my life back. I'm drinking caffeine and beer again, and have begun sitting without a donut cushion. My physical therapist expects I'll make a complete recovery within two months.

Last month, I found myself sitting in the waiting room of an ER for six hours, and was sent home with pain medication, with no answers. Now, I realize I could've laid down on the floor of the waiting room, did a simple exercise, and gotten rapid relief in a day - more than the codeine prescription I was ultimately sent home with.

If you're reading this and haven't tried physical therapy yet, and your tests have come back negative for bacteria, I'd recommend you consider pelvic floor tension/pelvic misalignment as a possible cause and maybe try to find a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor issues. They can be hard to find, but could be well worth it. I'm driving 90 minutes to my appointments, but am more than happy to make the drive.

I should end by saying that I think prostatitis is a collection of various issues, and ultimately, your solution will depend on the particular cause in your case. This may not help, especially if the cause is bacterial. But if you haven't investigated whether there might be a skeletal-muscular cause involving pelvic misalignment and/or pelvic floor tension, I'd recommend checking it out, especially if you have non-bacterial prostatitis.

 

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  • Posted

    Hi all,

          Just wanted to post a short update - my recovery got a bit complicated, thanks to a strenuous hiking trip. Ended up seizing up a back muscle (my quadratus lumborum), which pulled my hip back of out of place. I've since done exercises to realign it, but the pain has stuck around.

    My PT is now doing some internal massage of the pelvic floor, which is definitely having a positive effect. My pelvic floor muscles around my tailbone are quite tight and stretching them out is doing things good - I'm wondering if misaligning my pelvis a second time on the camping trip has tensed them up.

    On a side note: I'm also a fairly anxious person (been diagnosed with OCD, and I tend to think the worst case scenario about things). Yesterday and today, I've made a conscious effort to avoid ruminating about the condition and just live my life like normal, as well as I can. My doctor also prescribed me a small amount of anti-anxiety meds to help when I feel my mood spiraling down.

    I noticed that when I don't focus on the pain as much, it tends to go away, and today has been the most pain-free day I've had since the hiking trip.

    Not to say at all that this is all in my head, but I think holding the pain front and center in my mind is causing me to stress and tense up in my pelvic muscles (where I believe the pain is coming from) and hurt more, which causes more stress and more tensing, thus more pain, and so on. Anyway, I think I'm breaking up a negative cycle between by brain and the muscles in my pelvic floor which are responsible for my pain.

    So, I just wanted to post an update on how it's all been going. My PT says rapid recovery, like it appeared I was having, is a bit uncommon, and it looks like I'll have the more common case of a longer recovery, but with every reason to believe I can be pain-free again, given enough time and PT. Feels like I'm already half-way there as of today.

    I definitely still believe PT is the answer for me and many men with this condition. I'm also learning to appreciate how the role of stress and tensing muscles plays in this condition.

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    • Posted

      Hey Dan,

      I think your PT is bang on. I'm seeing a specialist PT and she spent a lot of time discussing how important it is to relax your mind, the brain sends the signals for pain. Stress is a major cause apparently for those pelvic issues. So far doing the breathing techniques she gave me. Have an appointment this Tuesday, so we will see what happens.

      Thanks for updates and I'll keep you posted with mine.

      I too believe that a specialist PT is the cure for many men who have been diagnosed with prostatitis. As mentioned before, prostatitis is a general label given that could mean many things.

      Best of luck to all.

      Chris

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    • Posted

      Hi Walkercarr, did you resolve your irritable urge to urinate symptom since seeing your physiotherapist? 

      Has it subsided/been cured? If so, what was recommended. If not, how have you been coping with it?

      Please let me know,

      Cheers, 

      DC

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  • Posted

    Hi all,

    So I wanted to add a follow-up post here. I'm still doing great - my symptoms are about 70-90% better. 

    However, my physical therapy quit working. In my last post, I mentioned that a back muscle had pulled my hips out of alignment. Even after getting everything back into alignment, the pain never improved again. I tried for about 5 weeks for things to improve, with no luck. Tried a chiropractor for a week, doing some Active Release Technique - but that had no effect either.

    My PT thought I had a nerve entrapment and referred me off for a consult with a sports medicine doctor. As of early last month, my pain was back, and worse than ever. And I was in a really bad place. Looking back, I doubt the PT did much for me (I'll explain in a bit), but I definitely do think pelvic PT can help some people.

    So I'm better now! Just not from PT. And how I got better is going to sound crazy. You might just browse past this, and I wouldn't blame you. Just felt I owed everyone a post here on what's finally worked for me.

    I started reading about chronic pain conditions, and about the role that the brain plays in them. I noticed that my pain varied considerably with my mood and emotions. Whenever I tried a treatment that I thought would work, it tended to work. Whenever I doubted a treatment, it wouldn't work. Antibiotics seemed to help for a few days when I was first put on them; PT worked for two weeks.

    Did some more research and ended up reading about something called TMS (tension myositis syndrome), sometimes called Mind-body syndrome. Most of the people who have it have things like back pain, but there were also a number of folks who'd dealt with chronic nonbacterial prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain. The theory is that your brain can cause your body significant pain to distract it from troubling thoughts or deep-seated issues.

    Sounds strange, but I decided to give it a try. It was free, there were some great resources on the web. I'd tried everything else, and it was basically this, or some fairly experimental surgery.

    Working on fighting TMS was hard work: it actually hurt more at first. I started shifting my focus away from my pain, not letting the fear of it catch hold of me. Previously, I'd spent hours and hours researching what this could be online, and then I'd spend hours and hours researching possible treatments. According to the Mind-body syndrome theory, that just reinforces your focus on the pain and amplifies how serious your brain.

    Ended up finding a program run by a fairly prestigious regional medical center that is one of the few places to work on Mind-body syndrome conditions (Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA), and got some more guidance there. They have a great 100 page online document, outlining their STOMP program. 

    And now three weeks later, I have my life back. Most of my day is pain-free. When the pain is still there, it's in the background and not bad. And I just acknowledge it's there and focus on living my life. I know I have more work to do to get rid of that residual pain, but I'm fully confident that it'll fully go away in time).

    So yeah - that's what's worked for me, and I couldn't be happier. I'm beating prostatitis and I know it doesn't stand a chance.

    I wish you all the best of luck, and hope you find something that works for you. And if you have any questions, feel free to ask me here.

     

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    • Posted

      Hi c90danwaiel,

      Im going through some similar difficulties at the moment, ive found that pelvic stretches have reduced my symptoms a fair bit, but i still have bouts of pain throughout the day.

      Were you ever able to recover fully?

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    • Posted

      Sorry for the late reply. I've been making sure to post followups to my former posts, but missed this one.

      To answer your question, I consider myself 99.9999% recovered. The 0.0001% is in reference to the slight discomfort I sometimes get when thinking about my former pain. I think my brain starts activating those neural circuits again (I've heard people compare psychosomatic conditions to learned pain, similar to how people with phantom limbs can steel feel pain).

      The pain (I hesitate to even call it that - it's more a burning tingle or just irritated awareness, if that makes sense) goes away as soon as I quit thinking about it though.

      But yeah, happy to report my life is back to 100% normal otherwise. I'm cured.

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  • Posted

    Hi Daniel, thank you for your post, I'm glad I found it! The symptoms I have been experiencing are: (1) a stinging/irritation in the tip of the penis (as you described) and (2) a constant irritable urge to urinate. These 2 symptoms have been 24/7 for the past 2 weeks. 

    Did you ever iradicate the above 2 symptoms completely with your pelvic floor exercises or do they return? Do you have days/weeks where you feel completely 'normal', without the constant irritatavle urge to urinate... or are these 2 symtoms

    I have for life? What's your thoughts please as I'm extremely distressed. 

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    • Posted

      Sorry for the late response. So as you'll read in my latest post, I don't think the pelvic floor exercises did anything but give me a placebo response, or possibly counteract psychosomatic tensing of my pelvic floor, but I'm really grateful for the break it gave me and how it showed me that there was some path out of the pain.

      I actually don't think I had those two particular symptoms right when I began PT, although I certainly had them before the PT and I definitely had the urge to urinate after (my symptoms often changed every few weeks so it's hard to place when I had what exactly). I think I had some sort of urinary tract irritation afterwards, but it was more a dull pain I think that was my main symptom.

      In any case, all those symptoms - including the urge to urinate, the dull pain, urinary irritation, urinary hesitation - all went away in time. It wasn't a fast process, but I got to the other side and I go weeks without even thinking about how this was a thing I had, and then when I do, it seems so bizarre.

      The mind-body approach cured me. I'm pain-free (unless I'm actively dwelling on the past pain and then I sometimes get a slight irritation which goes away after I quit thinking about it) and have been for several months.

       

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  • Posted

    I'm posting a final update here. If you haven't read any of the previous discussion, basically what happened was:

    1) I tried pelvic physical therapy. (Had previously tried antibiotics with no luck, as virtually all of us have)

    2) I had temporary relief from the physical therapy, got really excited and posted this, but the pain came back.

    3) I realized I'd tried so many things that nothing made sense other than it might be psychosomatic.

    4) My daily hours of googling possible cures finally led me to find stories of people who'd had success with a mind-body approach (e.g. TMS approach).

    5) I got referred to the Swedish Medical Clinic and followed their STOMP program.

    6) I also followed a TMS protocol roughly, though with more of an emphasis on getting over the fear of the pain and less on deeper emotional work, like some people find useful.

    This all worked. And this was about a year ago. I don't have any pain. I'm cured of the dreaded non-bacterial prostatitis. It was a psychosomatic issue. A very painful, depressing, life crushing condition that sent me to the ER at one point in desperation, but still a condition that was rooted in learned pain (if this sounds crazy, think of phantom limb pain and then google neurogenic pain).

    It took me about a month or two for the pain to drift away. I had to quit dwelling on it constantly and let go of the fear of the pain, since the attention I was giving it was feeding those learned neural circuits. So I had to reprogram myself, which takes work and time. Very oddly, my pain shifted to other areas of my body when its grasped started to go. Ended up with a case of 'tendonitis' in my foot after a grueling day of . . . sitting in a desk chair?

    I used to google "prostatitis cures" all day. I'd look up diagrams of pelvic muscles and think about whether the psoas muscle was impinging on some nerve and whether I should do a serious of complex stretches. I'd see people who claimed they were cured from giving up alcohol or gluten, some tried experimental injections into their prostates, others tried supplements, chiropractic work, Active Release Therapy, organ manipulation massage, prostate massage - the list goes on and on and on.

    Now I go weeks without even remembering this was a thing.

    The reason I'm posting now is that I was sorting my browser's bookmarks today and found a link to this old post, and wanted to post an update, because I always wondered if anyone actually found a way out of this condition and then forgot to post an update.

    I drink beer, have sex, eat spicy foods, I have bad posture, I'm probably structurally misaligned according to the structural alignment people. I sit on hard objects and ride my bike long distances. I gave away all my donut cushions. I don't have to urinate constantly. I'm pain-free and I have my life back.

    I don't want to say this approach will work for everyone, since I've been wrong so many times on my journey getting cured. But I will say this worked for me profoundly, that this is my experience, and I'm not the only one this approach has worked for. And I wish you all the best of luck, and would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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  • Posted

    Thanks very much for all of these, helped me a lot.

    By the way, you'll find my PM in your message box. It would be really appreciated if you reply to me, by PM or in this discussion so that everyone can see, any way you prefer.

    Best of luck to you all,

    Mark

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    • Posted

      Hi Dan

      I really appreciate that you came back with your story. I have all the usual prostatitis symptoms and the frequent urination every 2-3 hours. I think my case could be psycosomatic as well. I’ve experienced some other psycosomatic things before. Been afraid of cancer and had all kinds of symptoms like night sweating, pain etc that all went away as soon as I really believed I was alright.

      I got prostatitis 2,5 years ago during a stressful time. 1,5 years ago I was terribly convinced I also had kidney cancer and then I didn’t focus on the prostatis and it was much better. Then I scanned my body and there was no cancer and I got relieved. The day after the urinary symptoms came back and has been since then. 

      Now I’m trying real hard to convince myself again that it’s all in my head but it is very hard.

      Do you have any suggestions? What kind of protocol did you follow? I try to do the relaxation and deep breathing

      Thank you

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