SO, what exactly is the Pelvic Floor, and why does it need Physical therapy?
Glad you asked. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles found at the base of the pelvis below the abdominals. Its function is to support pelvic and gastrointestinal organs and to aid in bowel, bladder and sexual function. Dysfunction of the pelvic floor can occur when the pelvic floor muscles are too short (tight) or too weak, just like any other muscle in the body.
While pelvic floor dysfunction is very common, most people don’t even know they have it, or what to do about it. We’re doing our best to get the conversation going.
Pelvic floor physical therapy can treat a wide range of conditions including:
· Urinary Incontinence
· Diastasis Recti
· Tailbone/Coccyx Pain
· Pelvic Organ Prolapse
· Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
· Painful Intercourse (Dyspareunia)
· Vaginal Pain
· Prenatal Pain (Back and Hip Pain, Sciatica, Nerve Pain, SI Joint Pain, Numbness/Tingling)
· Prenatal Ergonomic Body Mechanics
· Post Cesarean-Section Rehabilitation + Scar Mobilization
· Postpartum Pelvic + Postural Alignment
· Postpartum Ligament Laxity
· Postpartum Recovery/Training/Comeback
How do I know if something’s wrong down there?
Pelvic floor PT addresses any pain or dysfunction that’s occurring at your pelvic floor — a group of muscles at the bottom of your pelvis, between yours hips and below your abs. These muscles play a huge role in supporting the reproduction organs and gastrointestinal tract. When they’re not doing their job, you feel pain or experience leaking or even worse, having sex hurts. The pelvic floor muscles are just like any other muscles in your body — they can spasm or get tight or weak, or even all of the above! If you are experiencing any symptoms of pelvic pain or incontinence, you’re a great candidate for pelvic floor PT.
Gentlemen! Pelvic floor issues are not solely lady business. You too have a matrix of muscles at the bottom of your pelvis that can get out of whack, especially if you lift heavy things on the regular.
how do you do pt on something that’s way up inside me?
Your pelvic floor specialist (Dr. Lexi Burtman) will start off with a comprehensive history and thorough evaluation, both externally and internally. From the outside, Dr. Lexi can tell if the pelvic floor muscles are able to contract and relax. But an internal exam can reveal a lot more detail about what’s going on. Getting up in there is really the only way to assess the strength of your pelvic floor contractions, check the integrity of the tissue, locate scar tissue, and tell if the muscles are too tight or too weak.
Armed with all that detail, Dr. Lexi will customize the best treatment for you and your nether regions.
Treatment may include:
· Relaxation techniques through diaphragmatic breathing, biofeedback, and imagery
· Manual therapy techniques such as trigger point release and scar tissue massage
· Isolated muscle retraining and muscle coordination
· Pelvic floor stretching and strengthening
· Postural and core exercises
· Education and behavioral modification to improve pelvic health habits
Can’t I just fix it with kegels?
NOPE. Kegels get all the attention, but they’re not necessarily the right exercise for YOUR pelvic floor. In fact, depending on what’s going on down there, they can actually do more harm than good. (Whaaaaaaat?!) We realize this news goes against every article you’ve ever read in Cosmo. But just like any other training plan, it’s super important to be assessed by a pelvic floor specialist so your treatment can be individualized to you!
this doesn’t sound like THE pT clinic MY PARENTS GO TO.
Probably not. But in all likelihood, your mom and your grandmother could benefit from some pelvic floor work, too. Try it out and then send them!