WHY WOULD YOU NEED PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR YOUR PELVIS?
Physical therapy can address many issues in the pelvic region, other than persistent pain. At MTI Physical Therapy, our team of physical therapists that treat pelvic conditions have advanced training so that they can assess, treat and prescribe therapeutic exercises to patients with pelvic pain, dysfunction or discomfort. Have you experienced any of the conditions or situations described below? If so, you might benefit from a pelvic health assessment.
YOU LEAK (OR URINATE) A LITTLE WHEN YOU RUN, LIFT WEIGHTS, OR LAUGH
You don’t need to tolerate a leaking bladder when you run, lift weights, cough, yell or laugh. The pressure this places on your bladder can lead to leakage due to stress incontinence, which can mean that physical activity is putting pressure (or stress) on your bladder. Stress incontinence is very common in adolescent athletes to elite athletes, as well as many others throughout the lifespan. It’s only chronic if you don’t address it. Many people experience leaking with activity for various reasons, but this doesn’t have to be your new normal.
YOU HAVE GIVEN BIRTH, OR ARE PREPARING FOR CHILDBIRTH
Strengthening, or maintaining strength of the pelvic floor can significantly improve your perinatal experience. A physical therapist trained in pelvic health can help you address concerns throughout your pregnancy, such as back pain, neuropathy, and uncomfortable swelling in the legs and feet. After your child arrives, we can reassess the tone of your pelvic floor muscles and create a plan of care designed to help you achieve optimum function. If a rectus diastasis (partial or complete separation of the rectus abdominis, or abdominal muscles, results after giving birth, we will show you safe and progressive exercises for strengthening the abdominal wall.
Keep physical therapy in mind as part of your prenatal and postnatal care plan to minimize the common issues that women face as a result of their changing bodies in pregnancy.
PERSISTENT BACK AND/OR PELVIC PAIN
More traditional approaches to persistent back pain seldom address pelvic floor issues. Proper assessment of pelvic floor dysfunction leads to customized exercises to address your issues.
WHAT WE CAN TREAT
Pelvic physical therapy can help with a myriad of conditions and symptoms caused by pelvic floor problems such as:
- Urinary and fecal incontinence
- Change in frequency and urgency to urinate (keeping track of every bathroom location available during your daily routines).
- Incontinence with physical stresses (cough, sneeze, sudden physical movement)
- Poor stool development (chronic diarrhea and constipation)
- Painful intercourse
- Sexual dysfunction
- Painful/premature ejaculation
- Erectile dysfunction
- Menstrual dysfunction
- Myofascial pelvic pain
- SIJ, lumbar, or tailbone pain related to increased or decreased pelvic floor tone
POSSIBLE ORTHOPEDIC REASONS FOR CHANGES IN BLADDER CONTROL:
- Muscle weakness of the pelvic floor and/or associated lower abdominal wall muscles; may be due to deconditioning or perinatal changes
- Muscle tightness or reflexive tightening of pelvic floor muscles
- Beginning stages of organ prolapse
- Changes in nerve function
- Joint dysfunction in the sacrum, hip and low back
- Postural dysfunction
- Breathing dysfunction
WHAT WE DO
- Education. Patients may need to learn more about their pelvic anatomy and how different components work alone and together. They may also need to learn how habits or hygiene affect their symptoms.
- Pelvic floor exercises. Patients are taught how to contract and relax pelvic floor muscles in relation to other muscles. They are also taught breathing and timing techniques to make the exercises more effective. Such exercises can relax tight muscles, strengthen weak ones, and improve flexibility.
- Manual therapy. A physical therapist may use hands-on massage, mobilization, and manipulation, to help with relaxation, posture, blood circulation, and joint mobility of the pelvis, hip and spine.
- Pelvic floor biofeedback. Biofeedback are techniques that can help patients “see,” “hear,” or “feel” how the pelvic floor muscles are working. To do this, sensors are used at the vaginal or anal muscles and results can be displayed on a computer screen. Alternatively, manual cues from the therapist may be provided with internal palpation of the areas in combination with verbal cues provided for immediate relaxation or contraction of the pelvic region muscles.
- Electrical stimulation. A low voltage electrical current may be used to teach patients how to coordinate their muscle contractions.
- Dilators. These tube-shaped plastic devices can help people learn to relax their pelvic muscles to allow easier penetration. They also aid restoring tissue extensibility following pelvic surgeries or radiation treatment.
Treatment for pelvic pain using pelvic physical therapy typically takes six to eight sessions that are approximately an hour long. It can take longer, sometimes several months, to help with more severe cases. Often patients will need to return to physical therapy periodically to reassess the status of the condition.
Many people are not aware that manual therapy and training exercises are available to combat common bladder issues in both women and men. Our patients have benefited from education, activity modification, joint mobilization/manipulation and exercise, as opposed to the typical course of treatment, which includes medications and/or other more invasive treatments. Our physical therapists who work with pelvic floor and bladder control changes can help you effectively manage your concerns and keep you active.
Direct Phone Line for Pelvic Health and Performance Center: 425.577.6597