Pelvic floor physical therapy can address weakness, pain, and dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles. The activities recommended for your needs will depend on the symptoms you’re experiencing. Some symptoms demand relaxing and lengthening of the muscles, while others need muscle strengthening. This is why we’ll take time to understand your concerns and craft an individualized treatment plan in the comfort of a private room.
What Should You Expect from Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy?
On your first visit, you can likely expect to provide a detailed history of your condition. We will discuss with you topics like:
- The symptoms you’re experiencing
- Your diet and lifestyle
- Sexual habits
- Bowel and bladder habits
It’s important you provide as much detail as possible during this consultation time. The information you give will help us craft an appropriate treatment plan and guide you through the rehabilitative process.
The Second Component
Once we understand your medical history and current concerns, we’ll conduct a thorough assessment of your hips, abdomen, sacroiliac joints, and lower back. Many individuals exhibiting pelvic floor symptoms also have difficulties with flexibility, strength, or range of motion in these areas.
This assessment allows us to measure your ability to voluntarily contract pelvic floor muscles and the resting position of your pelvic floor. We’ll also identify tenderness or trigger points in the pelvic floor, your skin and tissue health in the perineum, and your ability to fully relax your pelvic floor muscles.
An Optional Exam
Some patients require a pelvic floor muscle examination. Because of the male anatomy, we go through the anus to complete this exam for men and go through the vagina or anus for women.
It’s important to know we will conduct this exam only with your consent. In this same vein, it’s recommended for some patients but not all. We ensure privacy by covering you almost entirely with a drape sheet, and you can choose to have another person present to keep you comfortable.
The Therapeutic Component
With all of our assessments completed, we can begin your therapy program. Patients often receive their detailed treatment plans during the second appointment, and this plan may change later depending on your body’s response. We may also provide you with internal soft tissue work and other exercises to do at home.
Rest assured your treatment plan will be customized to meet your specific needs. The following is a list of components that may be included:
- Yoga and stretching
- Generalized massage
- Exercises that include a specific tool, such as an egg or wand
- Trigger point massage
- Strength-increasing exercising
- Relaxation techniques
- Core strengthening
- Electrical stimulation
Education will likely be a key component of your therapy. For example, we may teach you correct postures for walking and sitting. Behavior strategy education may also be recommended to help you make positive changes in your lifestyle. And, finally, education for appropriate toileting techniques is helpful for some patients.
We may also recommend diet changes to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs and/or help you lose weight. Disorders like a recurrent cough or chronic constipation may need to be treated separately. You may additionally be asked to keep a diary that records bladder and bowel habits as well as your daily food intake.
Pelvic floor therapy is a highly personalized treatment that begins with a consultation followed by thorough assessments. Our goal is to help you feel better by providing high-quality treatment while teaching you healthy body alignment. In short, we help you achieve an active and fulfilling life.