Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy is a specialized branch of physiotherapy that focuses on the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues in the pelvic region. This often-overlooked area plays a crucial role in maintaining core stability, supporting internal organs, and facilitating essential bodily functions. In this blog post, we will delve into what Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy is, the conditions it can effectively treat, and the assessment and treatment processes involved.
Understanding Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy
The pelvic floor refers to a group of muscles situated at the base of the pelvis, forming a supportive hammock-like structure. These muscles play a vital role in various functions, including bladder and bowel control, sexual function, and core stability. Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy aims to optimize the health and functionality of these muscles through targeted exercises, education, and manual therapy techniques.
Conditions Treated by Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy
1. Incontinence: Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy is highly effective in treating urinary and fecal incontinence. Whether caused by childbirth, aging, or other factors, the physiotherapist works to strengthen and coordinate the pelvic floor muscles to improve control and reduce leakage.
2. Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Women experiencing pelvic organ prolapse, where organs like the uterus, bladder, or rectum shift from their normal positions, can benefit from pelvic floor rehabilitation. Therapists employ exercises and techniques to support and strengthen the pelvic floor, alleviating symptoms and preventing further progression.
3. Pelvic Pain: Chronic pelvic pain can be a result of various factors, including muscle dysfunction, inflammation, or nerve issues. Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy involves a thorough assessment to identify the root cause and employs tailored exercises and manual therapy to alleviate pain and improve function.
4. Pre and Postpartum Care: Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy is instrumental in preparing women for childbirth by enhancing pelvic floor strength and flexibility. Postpartum aids in the recovery process by addressing issues such as perineal tears, cesarean scar discomfort, and pelvic floor weakness.
The Assessment Process
1. Physical Examination: The physical examination is a crucial component of Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy, designed to gather detailed insights into the condition of the pelvic floor muscles. It is important to note that any internal examination is conducted only with the explicit consent and comfort of the patient.
2. External Assessment: The physiotherapist starts with an external assessment to observe pelvic alignment, muscle tone, and any visible signs of dysfunction. This may involve assessing posture, observing gait, and checking for muscle imbalances in the pelvic region.
3. Internal Examination: If deemed necessary based on the individual’s condition and goals of therapy, an internal examination may be suggested. However, this is entirely optional, and the patient’s comfort is of the utmost priority. The physiotherapist will thoroughly explain the procedure, answer any questions, and obtain informed consent before proceeding.
The internal examination involves the physiotherapist using a gloved and lubricated finger to assess the strength, tone, and coordination of the pelvic floor muscles. This method provides valuable information about the internal structures and allows for a more accurate diagnosis. The internal examination is a collaborative process, and the patient’s comfort and consent are prioritized at all times. If a patient expresses discomfort or chooses not to undergo an internal examination, the physiotherapist can still develop an effective treatment plan using external assessments and other non-invasive techniques.
The Treatment Process
1. Individualized Exercise Programs: Based on the assessment findings, the physiotherapist designs a personalized exercise program to address specific weaknesses or imbalances. This may include Kegel exercises, core stabilization, and stretching routines.
2. Manual Therapy Techniques: Hands-on techniques, including soft tissue massage, myofascial release, and trigger point therapy, are employed to enhance muscle flexibility, reduce tension, and improve blood flow.
3. Education and Lifestyle Modification: Patients receive education on pelvic health, proper body mechanics, and lifestyle modifications to manage and prevent symptoms effectively.
Why Access Pelvic Floor Therapy
Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy is a valuable and often underutilized resource for individuals experiencing a range of pelvic health issues. By addressing the root causes and empowering individuals with targeted exercises and education, this specialized form of physiotherapy contributes significantly to improving the quality of life for many. If you or someone you know is struggling with pelvic health concerns, consider consulting a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist to embark on a journey toward optimal pelvic well-being.
We’ve been serving individuals and families in South Edmonton for over 20 years. Contact us here to book an appointment to see one of our Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists. Learn more about our various services by following the links below.