Pelvic Therapy & Women’s Health
Pelvic floor physical therapy uses physical therapy principles for a structured, safe, and effective reconditioning of your pelvic floor muscles. The goal of pelvic therapy is to improve the function of your pelvic floor muscles to alleviate pain or other dysfunction.
Pelvic Floor Therapy
Pelvic floor therapy targets muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that all work together. Your pelvic floor supports your internal organs, contributes to sexual arousal, orgasms, and assists with bladder and bowel function and control. It also plays a role in labor and delivery. These tissues provide pelvic stability and even help with your posture and breathing. Pelvic muscles not working as they should can contribute to pain and annoying symptoms that interfere with your lifestyle.
Pelvic Therapy & Women’s Health can help with:
- Painful urination
- Urinary incontinence, frequency & urgency
- Fecal incontinence
- Emptying bladder and bowel movements
- Painful sex
- Genital pain
- Pelvis, hip, thigh, abdomen, or low back pain
- Genitofermoral Syndrome of menopause
- Rectal pain
- Postpartum and pregnancy wellness
- Interstitial cystitis (IC)
- Unexplained pain
- Pregnancy-related pain
- Abdominal separation
Pelvic floor physical therapy is a first-line remedy for pelvic disorders. Dysfunctions result from illness, aging, childbirth, or surgery causing pain, sexual dysfunction, urinary or fecal incontinence, bladder-emptying issues, or constipation. Patients coping with painful intercourse, difficult bowel movements or urination, endometriosis, vaginismus, abdominal separation, and recovering from childbirth find relief with pelvic therapy. All therapists in any of our clinics are well equipped to treat patients with pregnancy-related pain or abdominal separation.
Pelvic Health Evaluation
First, your physical therapist takes a thorough medical and surgical history, including your medications, sexual, gynecologic, and obstetric history. They perform a comprehensive orthopedic exam, paying close attention to your lumbar spine, hips, posture, and gait. The assessment includes evaluating both internal and external muscles. So, you’ll be asked to stand, sit, and walk so your physical therapist can detect the issues affecting your pelvic floor muscles.
The initial evaluation determines that the pelvic floor therapy will be helpful and creates the basis of your care plan. The type of pelvic floor therapy recommended depends on your symptoms, but all sessions are 45 minutes.
So, your pelvic therapy treatment plan may include:
- Relaxation exercises if you have shortened or contracted pelvic muscles
- Stretching and strengthening exercises for your trunk, legs, or pelvic muscles
- Education in prevention and self-management
- Biofeedback for relaxation or to strengthen your pelvic muscles
- Coordination exercises
- Ice, heat or electrical stimulation modalities
Using a customized treatment plan, your physical therapist treats the pelvic floor muscles, restoring their strength and function. For example, shortened, contracted muscles are lengthened to relieve pelvic floor pain from spasms. Also, other techniques include strengthening muscles; reducing the contractions that contribute to an overactive bladder; and keeping the bladder, rectum and uterus in the correct positions. Ultimately, pelvic floor therapy helps ease pain and bothersome symptoms to restore normal function.
Techniques used in Pelvic Therapy
Most pelvic floor therapy techniques take a hands-on approach, including both internal and external treatments. But some people find the idea of internal therapy unappealing, so physical therapists are sensitive to your needs and can modify treatment to include only external treatment. External pelvic therapy techniques include trigger point therapy, nerve release, deep tissue massage, joint mobilization, and skin rolling, just like physical therapy for other conditions.
Internal techniques could involve specialized instruments or a finger in the rectum or vagina for specific trigger point therapy. The therapist applies pressure internally to reduce tension in the muscles.
Common techniques for pelvic therapy include:
Your physical therapist will teach you about your pelvic anatomy and how each element works alone and together. You will also learn about how your lifestyle and habits can affect your symptoms.
Pelvic floor exercises
You will learn to contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles and isolate them from other muscles. You will learn breathing and timing techniques to increase the impact of the exercises so they are more effective. These exercises strengthen weak muscles, stretch tight muscles, and boost your flexibility.
Your physical therapist will use hands-on manual therapy to improve your blood circulation, posture and mobility.
After gynecological cancer treatment, pain with speculum exam, pain with insertion or menstrual care products or pain with receptive vaginal or anal penetration for sexual activity, patients often find dilators helpful for rehabilitation. Tube-shaped plastic or silicone devices are inserted into the vagina or rectum to help stretch tight tissues and help you relax your pelvic muscles for easier penetration.
Pelvic Therapy & Women’s Health at Forever Fit Physical Therapy & Wellness
Pelvic floor physical therapy is somewhat unusual, but it is remarkably effective. Most patients see improvements and enjoy an improved quality of life. Still, it does depend on the severity of the condition. Treatment of pelvic pain usually takes 6 to 8 sessions, 45 minutes each over a few weeks, but in some cases could need more. You are welcome to return for maintenance therapy to make sure things stay on track.
Pelvic pain is never normal, and early treatment is critical. The longer you experience pain, the more likely you get sensitized to it. Then, your body develops a heightened reaction, making it more painful and more difficult to recover. So, consult one of our physical therapists who specialize in pelvic floor disorders as soon as possible for timely treatment and relief.
At Forever Fit Physical Therapy, we specialize in women’s health and pelvic therapy. Our physical therapists are specifically trained in the lumbopelvic region with experience in identifying and treating dysfunction in the pelvic floor.
For more information on Pelvic Therapy & Women’s Health, contact us.