Pelvic floor physical therapy has gained some popularity in the past few years. Many educators, practitioners and women have begun to have more conversations around pelvic floor concerns and associated issues that may develop.
Like any other muscle group that may get tight, sore and weakened in the body, the pelvic floor muscles are no different and can develop similar issues. The pelvic floor is made up of 3 different layers of muscles at the base of the pelvic girdle. These muscles have attachments to the pelvic bones, sacrum, tailbone and sitz bones.
As a physical therapist it is my duty that each individual patient understands how to get reconnected to their pelvic floor muscles and understand how to use them and when to use them in order to prevent any dysfunction from developing.
How do you know you may need pelvic floor Physical Therapy?
There are a variety of conditions that pelvic floor physical therapists may treat. If you have been experiencing any issues with any of the conditions listed below, it may be best to seek professional help from a pelvic floor physical therapist.
What to expect during an assessment:
A pelvic floor assessment consists of a thorough discussion of general health concerns, pelvic concerns, previous health history, childbirth history and any issues with regards to bladder, bowel and sexual health.
The goal of the assessment is to gain a general understanding of the patient as a whole. This includes exploring diet, sleeping patterns and postural dysfunction and how this can be related to your pelvic floor concerns. The first step in your healing journey is to listen to the signs your body tells you, seek help and professional advice and then take active participation in the healing process!
Oftentimes, there is an internal pelvic exam whereby your therapist will assess the tone of the muscles, the activation and coordination of the muscles and if there are any signs of pelvic organ prolapse. However, an internal assessment isn’t always indicated. If a patient is dealing with extreme pelvic pain, trauma or does not consent to an internal pelvic exam, then by no means should a therapist continue with the internal portion of the assessment. There are alternative external treatments, and things that can be assessed externally in order to help ease symptoms.
Next Steps and Treatment:
Upon Completion of the assessment, the pelvic floor physical therapist will have an idea of a diagnosis. The therapist will discuss and educate the patient on the condition so that they understand what is happening to their body. Oftentimes this may include a bit of an anatomy lesson, biomechanics and an explanation on how the pelvic floor can be affected by other systems in the body. A home exercise program is usually initiated at the end of the initial assessment and next steps are usually communicated as well. Depending on what the patients’ goals are, the physical therapist will progress exercises accordingly and help each individual patient get to where they want to be both mentally and physically.
Sometimes it is appropriate to refer out to other health care professionals in order to further aid the patient in their journey to healing. This may include working with other practitioners such as a naturopath, psychologist, massage therapist, chiropractor or family physician for additional imaging.
The first step in your healing journey is to listen to the signs your body tells you, seek help and professional advice and then take active participation in the healing process!
To learn more about Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy book an initial assessment with Nadia Qahwash or Laura Holland