Pelvic Floor Therapy
Pelvic floor physical therapy is a specialized field of physical therapy that specifically treats pain, injury, and dysfunction relating to your pelvic region. Common issues treated with pelvic floor physical therapy include:
- Urinary stress incontinence (leakage)
- Urinary urgency (having to go frequently/suddenly)
- Pelvic pain
- Diastasis recti
- Pelvic organ prolapse
What does the pelvic region include?
Your pelvis is made up of a system of bones, ligaments, and muscles. It includes your sacroiliac joints, pubic symphysis, pelvic floor muscles, lower abdominal muscles, piriformis and other hip external and internal rotators, and multiple ligaments that help support these tissues. Your lumbar spine and hip joints are also very closely related to the function of your pelvis due to their positioning.
How do I know if I need pelvic floor physical therapy?
You may need pelvic floor physical therapy if you have issues with your bowel or bladder function, including if you have leakage with coughing, sneezing, jumping, or running, if you have pelvic pain, pain with sexual intercourse, or if you have lingering low back or hip pain that has had unsuccessfully been treated with traditional physical therapy.
What should I expect for my pelvic floor exam?
A pelvic floor exam is similar to a traditional physical therapy exam in that it looks at your mobility, muscle strength and flexibility, and overall function. A pelvic floor exam will be performed by your physical therapist and often includes both an external and internal (intravaginal) exam to be able to fully assess all structures of the pelvic floor. Your physical therapist will look at how your core, hips, and ankles are working as well. They will likely assess your function in a variety of positions and activities to see how your body is able to work with different demands.
After your examination, your physical therapist will discuss their findings and answer any questions you have so that you have a clear understanding of what is going on. They will then help create your individualized therapy plan tailored to your specific needs and goals.
I just had a baby, when can I start pelvic floor physical therapy?
You can start pelvic floor physical therapy ASAP after childbirth. You will not have an internal examination until cleared by your physician, however there are many other things that you can work on to optimize your postpartum recovery before then. Typical things we teach in early postpartum sessions include: breathing, gentle mobility, how to reduce pain and strain with lifting/carrying and holding your baby, and we can answer any questions you may have.
Not sure if pelvic floor physical therapy is right for you, or have questions about it? Schedule a free phone consultation.