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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Manual Therapy Skills are an Often Overlooked Aspect of Physical Therapy

In is well documented in journals such as the International Urogynecology Journal and Harvard Medical School that patients see positive outcomes when they receive treatment with trained pelvic floor therapists. One of the most valued skills of a trained pelvic floor therapist is their manual therapy skills.

What is Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy is a clinical treatment approach using skilled, specific hands-on techniques to diagnose and treat soft tissues of the body. Manual therapy is used in a wide variety of rehabilitation settings, on all parts of the body.

Manual therapy can help with:

  • Increasing range of motion
  • Improving function
  • Inducing relaxation
  • Improving tissue repair
  • Improving tissue extensibility
  • Modulating pain
  • Reducing or eliminating soft tissue inflammation
  • Improving stability
  • Facilitating movement

Manual Therapy for Pelvic Floor Muscles

Pelvic floor therapists use manual therapy to treat internal and external soft tissue in the pelvic area to address unwanted tension in the pelvic floor muscles and fascia.

The pelvic floor can hold tension due to bad body mechanics and habits including posture, seating, gripping patterns, stress, anxiety, damage from pregnancy and childbirth damage, history of constipation, bowel disorders, urinary tract infections.

Releasing pelvic floor muscles and tissues can give patients a sense of tension release, reduction of pelvic pain, and over time in an increased range of movement in the muscles and fascia. The increased range of motion can result improved muscle function, better contraction and relaxation of the muscles, improved muscle coordination, and realignment of pelvic organs.

Pelvic Floor Manual Therapy Can Help With:

Get evaluated and treated by a pelvic floor therapist

Start your journey by checking in with your doctor. In some states a doctor’s referral is required to seek the care of a pelvic floor therapist. If your doctor needs more information about pelvic floor therapy, you can call a pelvic floor therapy office to talk to your doctor or look up some articles about pelvic floor therapy to show your doctor. Pelvic floor therapists work in most major hospitals, large clinics, and in smaller outpatient clinics like Fusion Wellness PT/ Femina PT.

Resources

Weiss (2011) : Pelvic floor manual therapy for decreasing pelvic floor hypertonus effectively ameliorates the symptoms of the urgency/frequency syndrome and interstitial cystitis

Berghmans B. (2018). Physiotherapy for pelvic pain and female sexual dysfunction: an untapped resource. International urogynecology journal, 29(5), 631–638. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00192-017-3536-8

Lawson, S., & Sacks, A. (2018). Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy and Women’s Health Promotion. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, 63(4), 410–417. doi:10.1111/jmwh.12736

Faubion, S. S., Shuster, L. T., & Bharucha, A. E. (2012). Recognition and Management of Nonrelaxing Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 87(2), 187–193. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2011.09.004


Weiss, J. M. (2001). PELVIC FLOOR MYOFASCIAL TRIGGER POINTS: MANUAL THERAPY FOR INTERSTITIAL CYSTITIS AND THE URGENCY-FREQUENCY SYNDROME. The Journal of Urology, 166(6), 2226–2231. doi:10.1016/s0022-5347(05)65539-5

What Our Patients Have to Say

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Testimonial by Mary L.

I started seeing Heather to treat my Interstitial Cystitis in November 2016. At this time, I was extremely miserable, in constant pain, and felt as though no one was listening or understood what was going on with my body. I have just finished my last appointment and I can honestly say that my life has completely changed for the better because of Heather and her team of PTs! I live almost completely pain free, and when I do have flare ups, I am able to treat them at home on my own. I am so grateful that this office was recommended to me a honestly cannot recommend them enough!

Read more: Testimonial by Mary L.

Testimonial by T.C.

While pregnant with my twins, Heather took care with keeping me on my feet and pain free. She saved my back, my sanity and the holidays! I would recommend her to every “mom” looking to stay on her feet during pregnancy and post-partum.

-- T.C.

Testimonial by M.M.

My husband and I were married for 5 years and unable to have intercourse, but I never knew why. After numerous awful experiences at doctor’s offices (where many doctors told me I “just needed to relax”), a surgery that didn’t fix the problem, and a year of owning dilators that didn’t get me anywhere, someone finally referred me to Heather for Physical Therapy. I finally had answers and information from someone who knew exactly what I was dealing with!

Read more: Testimonial by M.M.

Testimonial by Jamie M.

I have been going to see Heather for a while now, and I can't tell you enough how much she has improved my quality of life. Heather specializes in issues like pelvic floor, but I see her for other orthopedic issues.

I have a lot of chronic joint pain and dysfunction issues (back, hips, neck) that require that have ongoing physical therapy maintenance. The effects of my problem joints/areas overlap and interconnect with each other in complex ways, so helping me requires really having a complete understanding of the entire skeletal and muscular system. Pain does not always appear where the problem actually is, the human body is a twisty, many-layered puzzle. I have an exercise program I do at home and I am very functional, but there are just something things I need a PT to help me out with.

Read more: Testimonial by Jamie M.

Testimonial by R.M., Age 40

I can’t speak highly enough of the theapists at Femina Physical Therapy and how much they have helped me grow, discover, and love my body. I had had painful sex for my entire life, and didn’t know that there was anything that could be done about it. It was at the point where my husband and I were not having sex for MONTHs, because it was just too frustrating, and I hated feeling like I was the ONLY woman out there who had this problem, especially at my age. I finally brought it up to my doctor because I was turning 40 and my husband and I were barely having enough sex to conceive. And she brought up pelvic floor, PT. I didn’t even know this was a “thing”.

Read more: Testimonial by R.M., Age 40

Testimonial by A.W., age 32

I wanted to let you know that my pelvic floor held strong and gave me no trouble whatsoever in my trail race this morning (12 miles)! In a way, I felt like I ran better than ever because my core feels so rock solid from all the exercises you have me doing. That was especially valuable on the technical downhill - I just flew down the trail because I had confidence in my balance and form. Thank you for helping me get back to doing what I love.

-- A.W., age 32
(completed Post-partum Renewal Program using the InTone biofeedback/stim unit)

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