If you're experiencing pelvic pain, discomfort, or weakness, understanding what happens in pelvic floor physical therapy may be the first step in your recovery journey. Pelvic floor issues can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender. They can cause urinary incontinence, sexual dysfunction, pain during intercourse, and more. Luckily, pelvic floor physical therapy is designed to help you regain control of this crucial muscle group so you can return to normal, pain-free living. In this article, we will explore the different aspects and techniques of pelvic floor therapy, making it easier for those new to the practice to know what to expect.
What Do You Do In Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Table of Contents
What is Pelvic Floor Therapy?
Pelvic floor physical therapy focuses on treating the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that make up your pelvic floor. This group of muscles supports the organs within your pelvis, including the bladder, uterus or prostate, and rectum. A strong pelvic floor ensures that these organs function properly, preventing issues such as urinary incontinence, prolapse, and chronic pain.
During your first visit, your physical therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation to assess your pelvic floor muscle function, range of motion, and overall body alignment. This assessment may include a combination of the following:
1. Medical history and symptom discussion: Your physical therapist will ask you about your medical history, presenting symptoms, and any factors that may be affecting your pelvic floor. This information will be essential in developing an effective treatment plan.
2. External assessment: Your therapist will evaluate the appearance, strength, and flexibility of your pelvic floor muscles. This may include an examination while you are standing, lying down, or squatting.
3. Internal assessment: If necessary, your physical therapist may perform an internal pelvic examination. This is done gently, with gloved fingers or specialized tools, to assess the strength and coordination of your pelvic floor muscles. You will always be asked for consent before an internal assessment is conducted.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
The cornerstone of pelvic floor physical therapy is a series of exercises designed to strengthen and retrain the muscles in your pelvic region. Some common types of exercises include:
1. Kegel exercises: These targeted contractions help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to improve bladder and bowel control. Your physical therapist will guide you in performing them correctly to ensure maximum effectiveness.
2. Breathing exercises: Learning to breathe properly and relax the muscles of your pelvic floor can help alleviate pain and tension. Diaphragmatic breathing, or deep belly breathing, can help you achieve this.
3. Core strengthening: Building the muscles that support your pelvic floor, such as your glutes, abdominals, and lower back, can indirectly improve the function of your pelvic floor and reduce symptoms.
Manual Therapy Techniques
Physical therapists may use several manual therapy techniques to help address pelvic floor dysfunction. Some common techniques include:
1. Soft tissue mobilization: Using hands or specialized tools, your physical therapist will massage and manipulate the muscles and connective tissue in your pelvic region to release tension, improve blood flow, and decrease pain.
2. Joint mobilization: Gentle joint manipulations can help improve range of motion and decrease pain in the pelvis and surrounding areas.
3. Trigger point release: Your physical therapist may apply pressure to specific "knots" or tight spots in your muscles, releasing tension and alleviating discomfort.
What Do You Do In Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Example
Imagine you are experiencing lower back pain and occasional incontinence after giving birth to your first child. You decide to attend pelvic floor physical therapy sessions. Your therapist works closely with you, developing a personalized treatment plan that includes Kegel exercises, core strengthening, and guided breathing techniques. After several weeks of diligently following your therapist's guidance, your symptoms gradually decrease, your confidence is restored, and you regain control of your body.
Pelvic floor physical therapy provides a valuable resource in managing and treating a variety of pelvic-related issues. With the guidance of skilled professionals and a tailored exercise program, you may find significant relief from your pelvic floor symptoms. If you've found this article helpful, please share it with your friends and explore other guides on Pelvic Floor Therapy to learn more about this essential practice.