Improve your Life with Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
By: Dr. Abe Kopolovich, DPT, MBA, JD-IP
Pelvic floor physical therapists meet men and women daily who have suffered from pelvic pain for years, only to be told by their doctors/healthcare providers that there is no hope for them. It is not uncommon to meet patients who have suffered for 5- 10 years without help.
This specialized treatment focuses on the muscles, ligaments, and tissues that support the bladder, uterus, and rectum. Physical therapists are trained to diagnose and treat various pelvic floor disorders, including incontinence, pelvic pain, and sexual dysfunction.
Read ahead to explore the benefits of this kind of therapy, what to expect during a session, and how to do it at home.
What is the pelvic floor and what is pelvic floor dysfunction?
The pelvis performs many essential functions of the body. The muscles, nerves, connective tissues, and skeletal structures of the pelvic floor help to keep us continent, aid in sexual performance and function, and assist in core stability.
When some or all of these structures are not functioning correctly, they can cause many symptoms. People who are suffering from bowel, bladder, and or sexual problems, as well as those who are suffering from pain in the pelvis, upper legs, abdomen, or buttocks, most likely have pelvic floor impairments contributing to their pain.
Issues with the pelvic floor can arise from many reasons: infections, previous surgeries, childbirth, postural and lifting problems, and trips and falls can all bring on pelvic floor dysfunction.
What Do Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists Do?
They specialize in the muscles, nerves, and connective tissues that live between your legs, also known as the pelvic floor.
Professionals in this field use various techniques, including manual therapy, targeted exercises, and biofeedback. They also work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as urologists, gynecologists, and sex therapists, to provide a comprehensive approach to treatment.
If you are seeking pelvic floor physical therapy, it is crucial to enquire about the experience and level of training your potential physical therapist has had in this specialty.
Pelvic Floor Therapy: What To Expect
You’ll undergo a thorough evaluation during your first session with a specialized therapist. This may include a physical examination, a medical history review, and a discussion of your symptoms.
During the internal exam, your physical therapist will place a gloved finger into your vagina or rectum to assess the tone, strength, and irritability of your pelvic floor muscles and tissues. This may seem daunting, but a true professional will ensure you feel comfortable.
Based on the results of your evaluation, your therapist will develop a personalized treatment plan. This may include manual therapy, pelvic floor therapy exercises, and biofeedback. Your therapist will also guide how to do those exercises at home, including Kegels, squats, and bridges.
What is Manual Pelvic Physical Therapy?
We are discussing a therapy that manually manipulates the pelvic floor muscles. This may include massage, stretching, and trigger point release. It is often used with other forms of pelvic floor therapy, such as pelvic floor exercises and biofeedback.
Manual pelvic physical therapy is often compared to a massage, but some key differences exist. While both therapies involve manually manipulating the muscles, this treatment is more targeted, with the therapist using specific techniques to address particular issues.
If you’re interested in knowing more about this harm-healing process, it’s crucial to choose a therapist who is experienced in this treatment. You should also discuss any concerns you have with your physician before beginning.