Pelvic Physical Therapy
What is pelvic floor dysfunction?
Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) refers to pain or disruptions of bowel, bladder, and/or sexual function. It can be due to imbalance or restrictions of the muscles and nerves of the pelvis (the pelvic floor). While urinary incontinence continues to be one of the most common symptoms of PFD, other symptoms include difficulty urinating or having a bowel movement, dysfunctional voiding patterns, and possibly pain. Once believed to be just a “women’s health” issue, pelvic floor dysfunction does not discriminate. We treat both men and women, young and old.
What area is being treated?
When treating pelvic floor dysfunction, it is vital for us to evaluate the bony structure of the pelvis and low back. The pelvis holds the organs of digestion, elimination (bladder & bowel) and sexual function. The pelvic floor muscles attach like a hammock from the front of the pelvis to the back of the pelvis and we need to assess whether these muscles are functioning correctly (or functioning at all in some cases). The pelvic floor muscles play a key role in supporting your organs, controlling bowel and bladder, stabilizing your trunk/core, and enhancing sexual function. Beyond the muscles and bones mentioned above, the pudendal nerve and its branches also travel through the pelvic floor muscles and can sometimes be a source of pain or dysfunction.
In females, it is very helpful for us to perform a pelvic exam. Unlike an exam performed at your gynecologist’s office, we rarely use stirrups or a speculum. We perform a one-finger exam to assess whether your muscles can contract and relax, how strong they are, and whether you can coordinate activation of the pelvic floor muscles with your breathing and accessory muscle groups in the area. If at any point we feel the examination is causing discomfort or an abnormal muscular response, we modify our technique to eliminate the pain/discomfort. We do our best to maintain a very relaxed, comfortable environment and you are always welcome to bring a loved one with you to attend your session. Our entire staff is female and we maintain the highest standard of confidentiality and trust at all times.
In males, it is a little more difficult to attain information about the pelvic floor musculature. While we can assess these muscles rectally, we tend to delay a rectal exam in favor of assessing externally or with an internal probe that allows us to monitor the electrical activity of the muscles. All techniques are discussed with you to determine what is the most appropriate given your issue. Again, patient comfort is always our main concern. Our trained professionals are here to get you feeling and functioning better and we are happy to answer any questions you have concerning your treatment either when you arrive or prior to your consultation by phone!
We can help with:
- Urinary incontinence – stress & urge
- Fecal incontinence
- Inability to control gas / leakage of gas
- Pain related to pregnancy
- Pelvic pain / sacroiliac (SI) joint pain
- Discomfort related to pelvic organ prolapse
- Pain with intercourse (dyspareunia)
- Vaginal pain (vulvodynia)
- Constipation / difficulty defecating
- Tailbone pain (coccydynia)
- Abdominal & pelvic rehabilitation after surgery
- Abdominal separation (diastasis recti)
- Rectal/anal pain
- Groin or genital pain
- Poor erection/ejaculation
- The Female Athlete