Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy
Pelvic floor physiotherapy is a focused area of physiotherapy that assesses and treats dysfunction of the pelvic floor. Pelvic floor dysfunction can occur when your pelvic floor muscles become weak and/or tight, leading to incontinence (leakage from bowel or bladder), constipation, pain in the low back, hips or pelvis, painful intercourse, and other concerns.
What is the Pelvic Floor?
ROLE OF THE PELVIC FLOOR
The pelvic floor is made up of muscles, ligaments, nerves and connective tissues and is an essential component of your “core” muscles. They help to support your lower back (preventing low back pain with function), maintain continence of bowel/bladder, allow for sexual function and pleasure and provide support for internal organs (bowel, bladder, uterus).
Understanding what these muscles do and how we can make them do it better has HUGE rewards.
STRENGTHENING THE PELVIC FLOOR
Pelvic floor physical therapy intends to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to treat pelvic floor dysfunction, for patients experiencing a range of symptoms. Urinary leakage, hip, back or pelvic pain, constipation or pain during sex are just some of the conditions that pelvic floor physiotherapy can help with.
Why Visit a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist?
Krista Ross MSCPT, Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
Pelvic floor physiotherapy—sometimes likened to “internal Pilates”—aims, as its name suggests, to strengthen the all-important muscles lining your pelvic floor. These are the muscles you use whenever you control an urge to urinate or defecate; they support the uterus, bladder and rectum.
Pelvic Floor physiotherapists have specialized training in treating range of conditions:
Stress urinary incontinence (i.e. urinary leakage during coughing, sneezing, laughing, during strenuous activity such as lifting or exercise)
Urge incontinence (frequent trips to the bathroom, feeling the need to go to the bathroom “just in case”, difficulty controlling bladder for any length of time)
Mixed urinary incontinence (a combination of both of the above)
Pelvic pain and pain with intercourse
Low back, hip pain and SI joint dysfunction
Pre- and post-natal
Pelvic organ prolapse (often described as a feeling of “fullness” in the pelvis)
What to Expect on Your First Visit
Prior to seeing your physiotherapist, you will be asked to fill out a health intake form, as well as one or more questionnaires regarding your current condition. This gives your physiotherapist a better understanding of your health history and how pelvic health dysfunction is affecting your life.
Pelvic floor physiotherapy session are held in a private, comfortable room where your privacy is a top priority.
Your certified pelvic floor physiotherapist will begin by asking a series of questions regarding your health history and your current condition.
Following this discussion, your physiotherapist may recommend performing an external and/or internal (vaginal and/or rectal) examination. During the internal exam, the ability to contract and relax the pelvic floor muscles will be assessed, as well as how these muscles work together with the rest of your body. Assessing the joints, mobility and strength of the lower back, hips, and sacro-iliac (SI) joints are also an important part of the pelvic floor assessment.
Based on the the information given on your health history, your description of symptoms and an examination, your pelvic floor physiotherapist will then recommended the most effective course of treatment for your needs.
Why is an Internal Exam Important?
An internal exam is not mandatory; however, it is the gold standard to assess how your pelvic floor muscles and the connective tissues within your pelvis are working. The pelvic floor muscles are internal muscles and are difficult to properly assess externally. Although it is common for people to blame pelvic issues on weak pelvic floor muscles, that is not always the cause of the problem-- sometimes, these muscles can be tight which can be the root of the problem. Without an internal exam, it is impossible to know exactly what is going on.
Research has found that verbal and written instructions of pelvic floor exercises (think: Kegels) are not enough. People are not understanding how to activate their pelvic floor muscles and are often doing exercises incorrectly. An internal exam allows your physiotherapist to recommend the appropriate exercises for you individually and to help ensure you are performing them correctly.
PHYSIOTHERAPY CAN HELP
Our Physiotherapists are highly experienced and specially trained in pelvic floor physiotherapy.
If you want to find out more about how pelvic floor physiotherapy can help you, simply call 1 877 755 7166 to book your free, no obligation consultation with a pelvic floor physiotherapist.
Do you have more questions? Click here to get in touch.