October is Physical Therapy Awareness Month! NAFC has long been a proponent for physical therapy as a treatment option for things like urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Read on to learn more about how a PT may be able to help you treat these conditions.
We’ve all heard of physical therapy, but did you know that certain physical therapists are trained specifically to treat your pelvic floor?
It may sound strange, but an evaluation by a pelvic floor physical therapist can do wonders in helping you learn more about how your body functions. It can also help you with everything from improving your core strength, getting your pelvic floor back into shape, and stopping those pesky leaks. Read on to learn more about what a pelvic floor PT can do, and why you should see one.
What does a pelvic floor PT do?
A pelvic floor physical therapists focuses on….you guessed it – the pelvic floor! They are specially trained in helping women (and occasionally men) deal with pelvic floor dysfunction. This may include anything from incontinence to pelvic pain. Some of the areas that a pelvic floor PT specialize in are:
Pain with intercourse
Lower back pain
A pelvic floor PT can help you diagnose issues that may be causing the any of the above symptoms, and help you learn how to strengthen or relax parts of your body to ensure that everything is in alignment and functioning well.
Despite what you may think, a pelvic floor PT doesn’t only deal with the pelvic floor. Because our pelvic floors connect to so many other muscles and joints, it can affect many other parts of the body as well. What you may think is hip or lower back pain may actually be due to pelvic floor dysfunction. Your PT will be able to diagnose this and help show you moves to allow you to help your body and muscles heal – no surgery required!
Who should see a pelvic floor PT?
Anyone who is experiencing any discomfort of the pelvic region, or any of the issues listed above may benefit from seeing a PT.
Postpartum women are especially vulnerable to pelvic floor dysfunction due to the physical act of childbirth. Changing hormones, the impact from carrying a growing baby for 9 months, and injury from childbirth can all cause problems that a pelvic floor PT can help you address.
While it’s not the norm in the US, we believe that every women could benefit from seeing a PT after giving birth. Even if you’re NOT experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, changes that happen after a baby may not appear until years later. A PT can help you identify any issues early on and address them now, before it becomes a problem later on.
What should I expect at my appointment?
At your appointment, your PT will ask you about your symptoms, your medical history, and what you hope to accomplish from physical therapy. Be open and honest with your PT so that they are able to address all your concerns.
After the initial discussion, you’ll likely receive a physical examination. Your PT will help you determine if your pelvic floor is too weak, or too tight, and will work with you to address these problems. He or she will also check your alignment, and show you exercises that can help you to both strengthen and relax your pelvic floor so that it’s able to perform it’s full range of motion.
Because the pelvic floor connects to so many other parts of the body, you may also receive a series of other exercises to perform to help you strengthen your core, hips, glutes, and leg muscles.
The thought of having someone examine your most private areas may feel a bit scary, but remember that they are a vital part of your body and deserve just as much care and attention as any other area. Don’t let embarrassment keep you from getting treatment.
Want to find a physical therapist in your area? Try our doctor finder tool!