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What is pelvic floor physical therapy?

Pelvic floor physical therapy employs physical therapy techniques to recondition your pelvic floor muscles systematically, efficiently and safely. The therapy will improve pelvic floor muscle strength and function, as well as discomfort, weakness and dysfunction in the muscles. As part of treating the patient, the physical therapist manipulates and strengthens the muscles in the rectum or vagina using various techniques. In cases when muscles are short and tight, the therapist may stretch them (or use resistance to enhance their strength).

When to get pelvic floor physical therapy

Pelvic floor treatment focuses on the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues of the pelvic floor, all of which work together to support the pelvic organs; stimulate sexual arousal and orgasm; and help manage the bladder and bowels. The pelvic, tailbone and sacrum tissues work together to support the reproductive and urinary tracts including the uterus, prostate, bladder, rectum and vaginal urethra. These tissues support the pelvic area and help with sexual and voiding functions along with good posture and respiration. Pelvic muscle dysfunction causes discomfort and symptoms which impair daily activities.

Pelvic floor physical therapy can assist with:

  • Continence, frequency and urgency of urination
  • Painful urination
  • Sexual satisfaction by eliminating discomfort in the genital region
  • Endometriosis
  • Constipation
  • Symptoms of menopause
  • Vaginismus
  • Pelvic, hip, abdominal, thigh and lower back pain
  • Unidentified aches in the lower abdomen
  • Pregnancy-related discomfort and interstitial cystitis
  • Testicular discomfort

Symptoms of dysfunction

Physical therapy for the pelvic floor is often the first-line treatment for pelvic-related ailments. Pelvic floor exercises can help men and women with weak muscles improve their bladder and bowel control. When neuromuscular issues cause pelvic floor dysfunction, a doctor will recommend their patient for this treatment. Age, sickness, childbirth, surgery or other circumstances may cause this dysfunction. It can also occur with other genitourinary issues such as urine incontinence, fecal incontinence, bladder-emptying difficulty and constipation.

Patients with incontinence, persistent pelvic discomfort, painful intercourse, trouble with urinating or with bowel movements need pelvic floor treatment. Pelvic floor therapists may administer the therapy of vaginismus in women. In contrast, these professionals may also handle the treatment of premature ejaculation in males and painful ejaculation. Women who have an increased risk of vaginal prolapse, bowel or bladder problems, or recuperating from delivery can benefit from pelvic floor exercises.

Techniques and equipment

To begin the process of pelvic floor treatment, the patient must provide a detailed medical and surgical history (and information on current and previous drugs plus any sexual, gynecological or obstetric histories). During the comprehensive orthopedic examination, the lumbar spine and hips, gait and posture are closely examined. Patients are generally asked to stand, walk, and sit so the therapist may discover any posture or joint abnormalities influencing the pelvic floor muscles.

When determining whether a treatment is suitable, an assessment is helpful; it also directs the development of a care plan. In addition, the sort of treatment prescribed is often determined by the presenting symptoms. Muscle relaxation and stretching exercises, for example, may be required to alleviate some symptoms; strengthening activities are suitable with other circumstances.

As a result, the final treatment plan may comprise these following components:

  • Leg, trunk, and pelvic muscular stretching and strengthening activities
  • Pelvic muscle relaxation techniques (beneficial if you have shortened muscles)
  • Prevention and self-management training
  • Exercises that improve coordination
  • Pelvic muscle biofeedback, either relaxing or strengthening
  • Modalities include cooling, heating and electrical stimulation

The physical therapist works with your pelvic floor muscles to help them regain their strength and function using a personalized therapy plan. It is common practice to stretch shortened and cramped muscles to relax them and alleviate pelvic floor discomfort. Also, proper measures are employed to strengthen muscles, reduce bladder contractions, and maintain the bladder’s position to the rectum. Pain and other symptoms are lessened, and normal functioning is restored as a result of this treatment.

Visit fraserlifephysio.ca for more information on pelvic floor physical therapy or give us a call in Langley at (778) 278-4755 today.

 

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