What is Pelvic Health Physiotherapy?
Pelvic health physiotherapy is the assessment and treatment of various conditions that involve the pelvic floor or symptoms that manifest in this area. This can include problems such as bladder and bowel incontinence, pelvic pain, post-partum issues, and sexual pain. A pelvic health physiotherapist has received special training to assess and treat these types of conditions. This training allows the therapist to perform an internal exam in order to thoroughly assess and treat the structures of the pelvic floor.
What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is a basket of muscles, ligaments, nerves and connective tissue that attach to the front, back and sides of the pelvic bone and sacrum. Pelvic floor muscles have several functions, which are essential to maintain continence, support the pelvic organs, provide lumbar stability and improve sexual function. Proper strength, muscle length and coordination are required to avoid dysfunction.
Why is this happening?
Changes to your pelvic floor happen to your body during your lifespan. Pregnancy, giving birth, aging, menopause, chronic constipation, gaining weight, heavy lifting and surgeries can impact the health and functionality of your pelvic floor.
Pelvic floor dysfunction can be related to either weak OR tight pelvic floor muscles. Weak pelvic floor muscles can contribute to stress incontinence, urge incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Tight pelvic floor muscles can contribute to urge incontinence, chronic pelvic pain, sexual pain and pregnancy related pain.
Kegel exercises are not always the answer! With already existing tight pelvic floor muscles, Kegels, which are used to tighten, may potentially do more harm than good. When they are useful, they are often done incorrectly! The only way to really understand how your pelvic floor is functioning, is through an internal exam by a pelvic health physiotherapist.
Pelvic Health Physiotherapy
It is not normal to leak when you laugh, cough or sneeze
It is not normal to leak after childbirth or as you age
It is not normal to have pain with intercourse
It is not normal to feel pressure or heaviness in your pelvic region
It is not normal to feel pain in your pelvic region
It is a MISCONCEPTION to think there is nothing you can do about all these symptoms!
What can “pelvic floor” physiotherapy treat?
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Dyspareunia (painful intercourse)
Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome
Pelvic related menopausal symptoms
Pelvic girdle pain
Interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome)
What should I expect during an assessment or treatment?
At Nobleton Physiotherapy, assessments are performed in a private secure room with your therapist and all information is kept confidential. Your physiotherapist will conduct a medical history and thoroughly discuss your current problems and symptoms.
With your consent, your pelvic floor physiotherapist will perform a complete physical assessment of the joints and tissues affecting this area. This may include internal and external examinations to identify the affected tissues that may be contributing to your symptoms.
This means that your therapist will assess your posture, range, strength, and movement, typically in the spine, hips, abdomen, and pelvis. The muscles of the pelvic floor are like any other muscles in your body and can cause dysfunction if they are tight or weak. Because we cannot feel these structures externally, an internal exam assists your therapist in understanding how these muscles are influencing your problem. This consists of assessing the tension, coordination, strength, and tenderness of these muscles.
Your therapist will take every measure to make you comfortable during your internal exam. You are not required to have an internal exam in order to be treated by a pelvic health physiotherapist.
Based on your examination, your pelvic health physiotherapist will work with you to put together a plan of care that is specific to your particular goals, symptoms and dysfunction. Since every person has a unique case, it is important that your treatment is customized to address your specific needs.
Pelvic Physiotherapy Treatment
There are many pelvic floor treatments available that are well supported by the scientific literature and can be effective as part of your care.
Hands-on techniques such as: stretching, facilitation, soft tissue massage, mobilization as well as connective tissue, myofascial and trigger point release techniques to the affected muscles and tissue.
An individualized exercise program including stretching, strengthening, proper posture and breathing techniques are essential for overall pelvic health.
Understanding how various aspects such as lifestyle, diet, urinary and bowel hygiene can affect the pelvic floor. Understanding the anatomy and physiology of the pelvic floor, posture education as well as knowing how to deal with chronic pain symptoms are vital to your recovery.
Other treatments to alleviate pain
This may include the use of heat, cold, bladder and/or bowel routine tracking, Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS), Trans-Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), Interferential Current (IFC), guided imagery, breathing and relaxation techniques.
(15 minute free consultation)