Pelvic Floor Therapy – these three words hold the key to better bladder control, improved sexual function, and a stronger core. The muscles and tissues in the pelvic floor play a crucial role in supporting our organs and maintaining bodily functions. Unfortunately, many people struggle with pelvic floor dysfunction and may need specialized treatment. This is where physical therapy comes in.
How Is Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Done Table of Contents
Pelvic floor physical therapy is a specialized branch of therapy that focuses on strengthening the muscles, tissues, and ligaments that comprise the pelvic floor. This type of therapy is often recommended for women who have experienced childbirth, men with prostate issues, and any individuals suffering from urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, or pelvic pain. In this article, we will delve into the world of pelvic floor therapy and examine the various techniques used to address these common health concerns.
Techniques Used in Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
Pelvic floor physical therapy utilizes a variety of techniques to target and treat the specific problems surrounding pelvic floor dysfunction. Let's take a closer look at some of the most commonly used methods:
The foundation of any pelvic floor therapy program is manual therapy. This involves the physical therapist using their hands to gently manipulate and massage the muscles and connective tissues within the pelvic floor. By doing so, the therapist can identify areas of tension or weakness, and work to relieve pain, improve flexibility, and increase muscle strength.
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Biofeedback is a technique that involves the use of specialized equipment to measure and display the function of your pelvic floor muscles. By observing this feedback on a screen, your therapist can help you understand how your pelvic floor muscles are working and guide you through exercises that will improve their function. This process helps build better awareness and control over your pelvic floor muscles.
A vital aspect of pelvic floor physical therapy is the introduction of specific exercises to help increase the strength, endurance, and coordination of the pelvic floor muscles. Your therapist will teach you a variety of exercises, such as Kegels, and tailor them to your specific needs. Regular practice of these exercises at home is essential to reinforce the progress made during therapy sessions.
Some patients may require additional support to activate their pelvic floor muscles. Electrical stimulation involves the use of small electrodes placed on the skin or inserted into the vagina or rectum to deliver gentle electrical impulses. This aids in improving the activation and strength of the pelvic floor muscles although it's not suitable for everyone.
Example of a Pelvic Floor Therapy Session
Let's take a look at how a typical pelvic floor physical therapy session might unfold:
- The session begins with the therapist discussing the patient's medical history, current symptoms, and goals for therapy.
- The therapist will then conduct a thorough assessment of the pelvic floor muscles, usually through both external and internal palpation (gentle touch), to identify any issues that may be contributing to dysfunction.
- Based on the assessment, the therapist will develop a customized treatment plan that may include manual therapy, biofeedback, pelvic floor exercises, and electrical stimulation.
- Patients are typically instructed to perform the exercises on their own between therapy sessions to help maximize the benefits of treatment.
- Therapy can last anywhere between a few weeks to several months and usually involves multiple appointments per week. Progress is continually assessed and adjustments are made as needed.
Pelvic Floor Therapy is a specialized and effective treatment for those experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction. This hands-on approach, led by trained professionals, can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals dealing with urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, pelvic pain, and post-partum or post-surgical recovery. If you think you or a loved one may benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy, don't hesitate to reach out to a qualified therapist to discuss your options.
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