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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.**

What Our Patients Have to Say

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Testimonial by Alexandra B.

Heather is without exaggerating AMAZING! After years of trouble with a certain part of my body, in no time, she made everything change back to equilibrium and to what would be considered normal. She explains everything in detail and therefore gives you a better understanding of why things are the way they are, and how you can work towards turning things around. I would highly recommend Heather for any type of Physical Therapy. She has created her own "Method/Therapy" through years of studying (with some of the greatest practitioners), practice and breaking down the issues of her past patients, enabling her to fine tune her own system. I'm so thankful to have found her, and I'm especially grateful for the quick recovery I've achieved, after years of distress. If you cannot afford her, I recommend you purchase her book. Although it may not be Heather in person, it can still help you to get on the right path to recovery!

-- Alexandra B., 5/20/2015 via Yelp!

Testimonial by Alexandra B.

Heather is without exaggerating AMAZING! After years of trouble with a certain part of my body, in no time, she made everything change back to equilibrium and to what would be considered normal. She explains everything in detail and therefore gives you a better understanding of why things are the way they are, and how you can work towards turning things around. I would highly recommend Heather for any type of Physical Therapy. She has created her own "Method/Therapy" through years of studying (with some of the greatest practitioners), practice and breaking down the issues of her past patients, enabling her to fine tune her own system. I'm so thankful to have found her, and I'm especially grateful for the quick recovery I've achieved, after years of distress. If you cannot afford her, I recommend you purchase her book. Although it may not be Heather in person, it can still help you to get on the right path to recovery!

-- Alexandra B., 5/20/2015 via Yelp!

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 Julie T.

Femina PT (née Fusion Wellness & Physical Therapy) has honestly changed my life. Before receiving treatment at Femina, I was going doctor to doctor to try and find the answer to my pelvic pain. It has taken me YEARS to find someone that can help fix this. It wasn't until my gynecologist recommended your clinic that I finally felt relief. My pelvic pain is almost gone, and granted I still have a lot more to work on with Laureen (my PT), my original problem is nearly cured. I am so grateful to her.

What is even better is she gave me practical exercises to do at home that were not tedious and provided instant (and lasting) relief. Although I mainly work with Laureen, my interaction with the owner (Heather) has been great. She is very generous, kind, and committed to her business.

It hurts to know there are women out there suffering who will never know or have the opportunity to work with women like Laureen and Heather because this issue is hardly talked about and this field is so rare. I hope more doctors and physical therapists see the value in this work and can relieve more woman of their pain.

-- Julie T., 12/4/16 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)

Testimonial by M.N., age 28

A personal journey and testimonial from one of my patients:

I was diagnosed with vaginismus 4 years ago. I never heard of such medical condition until after I got married. At first my husband and I didn't know what to do, we didn't know what the issues were or how to overcome it. Being born and raised in Armenia and being Christian I wasn't that open about talking to sex with others and so it wasn't easy to seek help. But eventually I went to an Ob-Gyn and luckily she knew about the medical condition (not many doctors know). She referred me to a physical therapist and I couldn't believe it and thought it's something I can handle myself. I ordered a kit from vaginismus.com and started practicing with dilators. There was some small progress but wasn't much helpful.

Read more: Testimonial by M.N., age 28

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