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pelvic floor physical therapy

What is pelvic floor physical therapy?

When you are suffering from neck or shoulder pain, it is common to go see a physical therapist to help correct any issues with like alignment, movement, strength, and flexibility to reduce pain and improve function. Pelvic floor physical therapy is performed by physical therapists with advanced training to help correct those same issues in the pelvis, lower extremities, spine, and abdomen.

Pelvic floor muscles: What are they?

The inside of the pelvis is lined with muscles referred to as the pelvic floor muscles, these muscles are made of the same types of muscle tissue as other parts of the body, like the neck or shoulder. Similarly, the pelvis is home to ligaments, nerves, fascia, and bones, just like other parts of the body. Pelvic floor physical therapy utilizes an inegrative approach to get all of these functions working together as they should.

Pelvic floor muscles: What do they do?

The pelvic floor muscles have a variety of jobs:

  • Support the organs in the pelvis and abdomen; keeping your organs inside you is a good thing! Otherwise issues such as organ prolapse may occur.
  • Stabilize the movement of the hips and pelvis- poor movement patterns can begin as dysfunctions in the pelvic floor and can often cause low back pain and hip pain.
  • Sphincter, or closure of the openings of the urethra, vagina, and anus- keeping you continent and dry.
  • Lymphatic drainage and circulation
  • Sexual Function- pelvic floor muscles aide in sexual function including orgasm and pain free sex.

What does pelvic floor physical therapy treat?

Dysfunctions in the pelvic floor can cause or contribute problems that greatly affect quality of life. Pelvic floor physical therapy can help with the following conditions:

Incontinence and Voiding Dysfunctions:

  • Leaking urine with sneezing, coughing, and laughing
  • Leaking urine when you are fumbling with your clothes, keys or washing the dishes
  • Light-heavy bladder leakage
  • Urinary urgency and frequency
  • Delayed or painful voiding
  • Interstitial cystitis (IC) and Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS)
  • Overactive bladder
  • Nocturia- night time urination
  • Enuresis (bedwetting)
  • Fecal / Bowel Incontinence ; Accidental Bowel Leakage
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Constipation

Painful Intercourse:

  • Vaginismus / Genito-Pelvic Penetration disorder
  • Vulvodynia
  • Vulvar vestibulitis
  • Vestibulodynia
  • Unprovoked and provoked vestibulodynia
  • Dyspareunia
  • Endometriosis
  • Levator Ani Syndrome

Pelvic Pain:

  • Stabbing, throbbing, or jabbing pain in the abdomen, low back, and/or pelvic area
  • Inability to tolerate gynecological exams or tampon use
  • Pain with sitting
  • Pain with cycling
  • Persistant Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD) / Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome (PSAS)
  • Painful Orgasm / Dysorgasmia
  • Anorgasmia (no orgasm) or Diminished or Less Intense Orgasms
  • Pudendal Neuralgia
  • Coccydynia (tailbone pain)
  • Painful Bladder Syndrome / Interstitial Cystitis
  • Deep hip pain / Piriformis Syndrome

What do you do in pelvic floor physical therapy?

Pelvic floor therapists help normalize dysfunction in the pelvic floor. Problems can be caused by a variety of things including spasms, muscle guarding, weakness, lymphatic drainage problems, connective tissue dysfunction, poor habits, chronic stress, and poor movement patterns.

The treatment modalities you will receive in pelvic floor physical therapy depend on your body and the issues present. Tight pelvic floor muscles, myofascial trigger points, and chronic stress and constipation, for example, could cause a flare up of pelvic pain. Your therapist would then help treat those underlying conditions to help bring your body back into balance and function.

Some of the modalities used in the clinic can include:

  • Therapeutic exercise to strengthen or lengthen the tissues in the body that may contributing to problems
  • Manual therapy to treat connective tissue dysfunction and myofascial trigger points
  • Visceral mobilization (gentle massage techniques that loosen internal adhesions and restore movement to the organs including the intestine, bladder, uterus, and ovaries)
  • Postural training and therapeutic exercise to treat dysfunctional movement
  • Internal pelvic manual therapy to treat sensitive tissues, muscle spasms, trigger points, and muscle guarding that can cause pain with activities like sex, tampon use, or bowel movements
  • Training in self treatment techniques including foam rolling, lymphatic massage, autonomic relaxation, and stress reduction
  • Neuromuscular re-education and autogenic relaxation to reduce chronic muscle over-activity, reduce pain, and improve sleep
  • Cold laser, ultrasound, and other physical agent modalities to aide in the reduction of inflammation, pain, and improve tissue healing.
  • Education regarding habits that could be contributing to the problem: diet, constipation management, stress management.

Patient Education and Empowerment

An important aspect of pelvic floor therapy is the collaboration and trust that is created between the therapist and client. The ultimate goal of pelvic floor physical therapy at Femina is educating you with the tools you need in your toolkit to help you heal yourself and to be able to deal with flare-ups and the occasional bumps in the road with confidence. As pelvic floor therapists, we are guides, support, and cheerleaders for you along the journey back to wellness and function! We only employ licensed Physical Therapists, all with a pelvic health speciality and advanced degrees and certifications to optimize your outcome. Make an appointment today and let’s get started.

**This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor.**

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What Our Patients Have to Say

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Testimonial by S.S., age 54

Heather is the best! I saw her today for terrible hip/groin pain. I was so impressed with the safety measures in place and felt completely safe . Thanks for the healing hands.

S.S., age 54

Testimonial by T.H.

I started seeing Heather in October 2014. For more than two years, I had been suffering from painful urinary tract infection type symptoms after my bartholins gland surgery which included constant burning and urinary frequency sensation that led to more and more painful intercourse. I had made multiple visits to internist, obgyn and urologist's offices, went through a range of treatment with UTI and bladder frequency medication that included antibiotics, vesicare, estrogen cream, but nothing worked.

Read more: Testimonial by T.H.

Testimonial by P.M.

I was hopeful but frankly skeptical when the doctor treating me for Interstitial Cystitis recommended that I go to Heather for physical therapy. Medication and diet helped control my IC symptoms, but I had never heard of physical therapy being used to treat IC. The education and treatment I received from Heather was a revelation. She explained that the pain I experienced with IC had helped create a cycle of muscle guarding which affected the entire pelvic area. I had no idea of the amount of tension being held there. No wonder my husband and I had not been able to have sexual intercourse for years!

Read more: Testimonial by P.M.

Testimonial by S.H., age 24

I just wanted to thank you for everything you've done for me for the past 19 months. I literally could not have reached my goals without you and your practice. You gave me the courage to keep moving forth with my treatment no matter how afraid and anxious I was. You were always there to answer questions and made this whole process so much easier than I expected it to be.

It's because of you that my marriage is on the right track, that I can get pregnant and that this part of my life is finally over. I really feel that Fusion Wellness is a team of people you can call family and are there to root for you and cheer you on until you reach your goals. There is nothing better than knowing I accomplished this with you guys by my side and as calmly and patiently as I needed. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for always being there and helping me reach my goals.

S.H., age 24

Testimonial by Fritzette H.

I went to Heather after the birth of my third child. It was lucky, really, that I was referred to her, because my doctor had referred me to a surgeon for a possible hysterectomy or pelvic wall rebuild. Thankfully, I went to Heather before undergoing either surgery, she was able to fix the problem. She has studied extensively in women's health--even written a book about it--and was able to diagnose my problem, suggest a course of treatment (6 weeks), and then follow through with said treatment. By the end, as she said, I was as good as gold. Boy, was it worth it! Though uncomfortable to talk about, much less write about, it is worth getting the word out there. If you have painful intercourse, especially after birth or other trauma, the treatment may be as simple as Physical Therapy (with Heather, of course). I highly recommend her.

-- Fritzette H., 3/24/16 via Yelp!

Testimonial by Y.L. (mom of 2)

After having my second baby via C-section I searched for months to try to find help for my lower back pain and separated abdominal muscles. I finally came across Heather Jeffcoat via a mommy blog. I reached out to her via email and set my first appointment. My first appointment went amazing … she listened to what my symptoms, check my separation and explained to me in detail what the next steps would be. Not only did my abdominal separation go from 3 to about 1 -1/2 but my back has pain has significantly reduced. I’m personally recommending all my mommy friends to Heather!

Y.L. (mom of 2)

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