Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

What is pelvic floor therapy?

Pelvic floor rehabilitation is a sub-specialty of Orthopedic Physical Therapy that deals with the assessment, treatment and management of the pelvic floor dysfunction. Pelvic floor physical therapy is a specialized form of rehabilitation focused on addressing dysfunction and disorders of the pelvic floor muscles. It aims to improve pelvic floor strength, coordination, and function, providing relief from symptoms such as pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse.  The pelvic floor muscles which are similar to the other muscles in your body that move your arms or legs, extend from the pubis in the front to the tail bone at the back. These muscles can get affected singularly or may occur as a result of dysfunction in your low back, hip or the abdomen.

What constitutes the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor consists of muscles, ligaments and other connective tissues spanning from the pubis-part of the pelvis in the front to the coccyx or the tail bone at the back. Forming a hammock like structure, the pelvic floor houses the bladder, bowels, and the uterus in females.

It must be noted here that the pelvic floor muscles are skeletal muscles, much like the biceps and triceps and are therefore under voluntary control

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

When the normal functioning of the pelvic floor is hampered, pelvic floor dysfunction can be the result. It can happen due to impairments such as excessive tightness or loose and weak muscles, scar tissue formation in the connective tissues or impingement of a nerve. The symptoms can be varied. In some cases, pain can be referred to the low back or hip.

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Causes and Symptoms

Tight muscles:

Urge incontinence

Loose and weak muscles

Pelvic organ prolapse
Stress incontinence
Bowel/Bladder incontinence

Nerve impingement

Altered sensation
Altered sexual pleasure

When to seek medical help?

Fever and chills, excessive bleeding, painful urination or symptoms that are either persistent for more than three months or are getting exaggerated needs a medical consult. In any case, seeking medical help is always advisable.

Components of Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

Comprehensive Evaluation: Assesses pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, coordination, and function to develop an individualized treatment plan.

Pelvic Floor Exercises: Teaches proper techniques for performing pelvic floor muscle exercises, such as Kegels, to strengthen and control the pelvic floor.

Manual Therapy Techniques: Utilizes hands-on interventions, such as myofascial release and internal pelvic floor massage, to release muscle tension and improve mobility.

Behavioral Modification: Educates individuals on bladder and bowel retraining, lifestyle modifications, and relaxation techniques to manage symptoms.

Pelvic Floor Treatment

Many cases of pelvic floor problems occur due to strength, endurance and coordination deficit of these muscles. Proper instruction to train the fast twitch and slow twitch muscle contraction to address the above deficits will likely resolve issues such as incontinence, pain and discomfort. Equally important would be to also to screen and address the surrounding joints for muscle imbalance and joint mobility issues for comprehensive care.

Benefits of Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

  • Symptom Relief: Alleviates pelvic pain, urinary urgency, frequency, and leakage, bowel dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction.
  • Improved Muscle Function: Strengthens and tones pelvic floor muscles to enhance support and stability of pelvic organs.
  • Enhanced Sexual Health: Addresses issues such as sexual pain, decreased sensation, and erectile dysfunction, promoting improved satisfaction.
  • Pregnancy and Postpartum Support: Provides guidance and exercises to prepare for childbirth and recover from pregnancy-related pelvic floor changes.
  • Prevention of Pelvic Floor Disorders: Educates individuals on proper bladder and bowel habits, posture, and lifting techniques to reduce the risk of pelvic floor dysfunction.

Pelvic floor physical therapy offers hope and healing to individuals living with pelvic floor dysfunction. Through specialized rehabilitation techniques and personalized care, individuals can experience relief from symptoms, improve pelvic floor function, and reclaim their quality of life.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction or are interested in optimizing pelvic floor health, consider consulting with our physical therapist. At Victor Physical Therapy, our expertise and support can help you move toward pelvic floor wellness and overall well-being.

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