Pelvic Health and Wellness

There are a variety of treatment options available for pelvic related pain and dysfunction. Conservative treatment can come in the form of pharmaceutical management but did you know that physical therapy can also help you regain continence, relieve pelvic pain, decrease constipation and strengthen the pelvic floor.
Physical therapy has demonstrated effectiveness in the treatment of stress and urge related incontinence.  If you have ever heard of a “Kegel” exercise and you were not sure you were doing them correctly you are certainly in the majority rather than the minority. Even still, if you think you are doing the Kegel exercise correctly and you are not seeing any change in urine leakage or urge you may actually be doing the Kegel exercise correctly but strengthening the pelvic floor isn’t really what you need. You may have underlying pelvic muscle tension that creates overuse of muscles in the pelvic floor.  Often if you feel anxious about leaking urine, the muscles of the pelvic floor can be subconsciously contracting. This can result in pain syndromes, incomplete voiding of bladder contents, recurrent urinary tract infections, painful sex, constipation and even low back pain.
There may be a host of different reasons for pelvic pain, incontinence and sexual dysfunction so first and foremost we recommend you be thoroughly checked by a physician prior to initiating physical therapy. More and more people are talking frankly to their physicians about their symptoms which has lead to a surge of research and articles being written on pelvic symptoms and proposed treatment options. There are a variety of treatment options available including surgery, therapeutic Botox injections, physical therapy, psychotherapists specializing in pain management and sexual dysfunction, pharmaceuticals and acupuncture just to name a few options.
Talk to your physician if you are having symptoms of heaviness, pain or incontinence and ask them to help you explore which option of treatment would be most appropriate for you.
Pelvic pain and/or dysfunction is a private and personal matter but people everywhere have been finding the courage to seek out help for their symptoms, refusing to adjust to the demands their conditions have placed on their daily lives.
Physical therapy for pelvic health related issues typically involves a separate evaluation apart from the examination the physician performs. Interventions include education on the diagnosed dysfunction, therapeutic exercise, gentle and progressive manual techniques to reduce pelvic floor tone when appropriate, and modalities including visual and auditory biofeedback and electrical stimulation for improved pelvic floor awareness and neuromuscular re-education techniques.  Patients are given exercises to perform at home and typical follow up is one visit weekly or biweekly depending on symptoms.
Seeking treatment for symptoms has prompted research and increased public awareness that propel medical technology into the future.  What is critical to recognize is that you are not alone and that you can empower yourself by knowing and understanding your options. Don’t delay, the best treatment outcomes are with early intervention.

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