When people think about physical therapy, they likely think about how it can help pain in areas of the body that are commonly injured, like the back, shoulders or knees. But it may surprise you to learn that there’s pelvic physical therapy near you to make sure that your pelvis, particularly your pelvic floor, is functioning as efficiently as possible.
Your pelvic floor health is just as important as any other part of your body, but people often neglect it until they experience issues that interfere with their quality of life. Pelvic physical therapy can help alleviate pelvic issues you may have as well as provide techniques that will continue to help you in the future.
We’re going to talk about the basics of pelvic floor issues, who can benefit from pelvic physical therapy near you and what the sessions may include.
What does pelvic health refer to?
When your health care provider is talking about your pelvic health, they are usually referring to your pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles and ligaments located between your tailbone and pubic bone. It’s often described as a “sling” and supports your pelvic organs, including the bowel and bladder. For women, the pelvic floor also supports the uterus.
Strong and healthy pelvic floor muscles are important because they help:
- Keep your organs in place to prevent prolapse.
- Control your urine, feces and flatus.
- Sexual function.
Can you benefit from pelvic physical therapy?
It’s time to seek pelvic physical therapy when your pelvic floor muscles aren’t properly functioning, or they have lost their strength. This is usually referred to as pelvic floor dysfunction, also known as pelvic floor disorder.
Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include:
- Urinary incontinence.
- Trouble emptying your bladder.
- Difficulty holding urine until you can reach a toilet.
- Pain during intercourse.
The most common causes of pelvic floor dysfunction are pregnancy and childbirth. That’s why almost one-quarter of the female population in the U.S. experience pelvic floor disorders.
When a woman is pregnant, the pelvic floor muscles can weaken due to the hormones softening the muscles to prepare the body for vaginal delivery. They can also weaken while trying to support the growing baby. During childbirth, the muscles stretch and weaken as the baby is delivered.
Besides pregnancy and childbirth, there are other factors that can increase the risk of pelvic floor dysfunction including:
- Consistent heavy lifting.
- Coughing due to smoking.
What do pelvic physical therapy sessions look like?
Now that you know who could benefit from pelvic physical therapy, it’s time to explore what those sessions actually entail.
Physical therapy for pelvic floor dysfunction is focused on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles to alleviate your current symptoms while reducing the risk of them recurring in the future. Pelvic floor physical therapy is often referred to as pelvic floor rehabilitation, because it’s helping to restore the floor’s proper functions after being impacted by factors like childbirth or natural aging.
The two most common pelvic physical therapy treatments are:
- Exercises — When it comes to strengthening muscles, no matter where they are located in the body, targeted exercises are the first course of action. A physical therapist can walk you through exercises that will strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to alleviate your pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms and increase control over your bladder and bowel.
- Biofeedback — When your pelvic floor muscles weaken, they often forget how to properly function and contract. A biofeedback machine is a common pelvic physical therapy treatment because it helps retrain your pelvic floor muscles. The goal is to help the muscles properly strengthen and relax while trying to go to the bathroom.
Lattimore PT can provide pelvic physical therapy near you
Pelvic floor dysfunction can have a bigger impact on your day-to-day life than you might expect. Urinary incontinence can make it difficult to be in the car for an extended period of time, or you can have constipation that’s causing painful cramps. But the good news is that Lattimore PT is here to help.
We can provide pelvic physical therapy to ensure that your pelvic floor muscles are as strong as possible while reducing the risk of future dysfunction issues. We want to make sure that you’re able to go throughout your normal routines without worrying about leaking urine or having to always keep your eye out for the closest bathroom.