02 Aug What is pelvic health physiotherapy?
Pelvic health. It’s not a subject most of us talk about regularly, is it? Thankfully, in part due to burgeoning interest in pelvic floor physiotherapy, discussion around pelvic health is becoming, as it should be, a little easier. At DeerFields, it’s certainly a subject one can feel comfortable opening up about with our medical team.
What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles situated much like a hammock in the pelvis. They attach from the pubic bone, stretching from front-to-back, and attach to the tailbone. The pelvic floor supports our pelvic organs, including the bladder, rectum, and uterus in women/prostate in men. Many women, first become acquainted with their pelvic floors during pregnancy or following delivery, when stretched and slackened muscles sometimes cause problems.
The pelvic floor plays a role in controlling the bladder and bowel function, core stability, and sexual enjoyment in both men and women. Issues tend to arise when muscles become either tightened or lengthened, resulting in weak or hyper-tonic muscles and discomfort or pain.
Some men and women experience urinary or bowel symptoms, pain during intercourse, or hip, groin, back and menstrual pain.
The role of Pelvic Health Physiotherapists:
Pelvic health concerns are common, but all too often people are embarrassed discussing concerns related to this area of the body and are unaware that help is available. Begin by sharing your concerns with your doctor or a health professional. You’ll likely find a compassionate listener with the professional expertise to rule out anything more serious. Once this step has taken place, he or she will likely suggest an evaluation of your pelvic floor by a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist. This evaluation typically begins with a discussion about your symptoms, followed by an external assessment to review your posture, muscle strength, and function. An internal evaluation of the pelvic floor musculature is usually required to determine if muscles are tightened, to assess their strength, and to see if symptoms can be reproduced. Once the assessment is complete, the therapist will share findings and recommend a plan of action to help manage or resolve symptoms.
Treatment may include some or all of the following:
- Manual therapy techniques to improve muscle activation, soft tissue release and passive stretching, joint mobilization and trigger point release.
- Therapeutic Exercises.
- Electrical Muscle Stimulation. The use of electrical impulses to improve muscle contraction, proprioception/awareness.
- Bowel/Bladder re-training
- Education to understand the roles of posture, breathing, urinary and bowel hygiene, diet and psychological state.
There is no need to suffer in silence and help is readily available for those suffering from pelvic health concerns.