The first appointment with a pelvic floor therapist can seem intimidating even if you don’t know what to expect.
We frequently encounter patients who come in with little knowledge about this process and are anxious about their first physical therapy session. But, with some advanced knowledge, you can enter your appointment feeling confident about what to expect and knowing that relief is on the way.
Your first appointment begins with talking to your therapist about your symptoms and history. Your therapist wants to get to know you as a whole patient. The pelvis rests at the very center of the body, connected to your deep abdominal and pelvic organs, so the questions may seem personal. It can be uncomfortable to talk about what your poop looks like or if you have pain with penetration, but these questions provide important information for your physical therapist about your condition. Whether the questions are about your bladder, bowel, digestive issues, or uterus, it’s part of your pelvic well-being.
After the subjective portion of your appointment, your physical therapist will explain to you what is entailed in the physical exam and then perform the examination. Just like any other physical therapy assessment, they will evaluate your strength, range of motion, movement patterns, and posture. They will also most likely perform an internal vaginal and/or rectal assessment. While this may seem intimidating, it is important for your physical therapist to understand what is causing your symptoms.
Internal assessment doesn’t have to happen on your first appointment. The most important thing is that you trust your therapist and feel comfortable with this treatment. At the end of the day, it is your body and it is up to you to decide who gets to touch it. We encourage an open dialogue with your therapist about potential anxieties, triggers, or trauma that may be associated with an internal assessment, they are here to help you.
After the physical exam, they will take time to discuss their findings, and how they affect your bladder, bowel, and sexual function and relate to your symptoms. This is a great time to ask any questions you may have about your body and the treatment plan. This is a learning experience for you, and you and your therapist are in this together.
The last piece of the puzzle is what to do when you leave our doors. Whether you’ll be back in two days, or two weeks, your therapist may advise you on lifestyle changes and will teach you exercises to do on your own to ensure that we are working towards healing your body. You and your therapist will work together to create a treatment plan that fits your schedule, lifestyle, and pain level so you have the best chance of succeeding in this physical therapy process.
We have two compassionate pelvic physical therapists here who are ready and willing to help you tackle your pelvic floor therapy issues and talk to you about the results that have changed our patient’s lives. If you are still apprehensive, feel free to call Erin Lenihan or Emily Larson at (773) 907-3599 and they will be happy to answer your questions.
We hope to see and help you, soon.