Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
What is Pelvic Floor PT?
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that makes up the bottom of the body. These muscles are located inside the pelvis between the pubic bone and the tailbone. They are closely related to the abdominal muscles, the breathing muscle and the lower back postural stabilizers. These muscles play a role in supporting the abdominal organs, assisting with bladder and bowel function and sexual function.
Physical therapists have been treating the pelvic floor for decades. Physical therapy has been shown to be an effective conservative manner of care for a multitude of pelvic floor issues, including, but not limited to: urinary or fecal incontinence, bladder or bowel urgency, dysfunctional voiding habits, prolapse, pelvic pain, persistent sacroiliac or coccyx pain, constipation, diastasis recti and post-partum recovery, delayed toilet training in children, prostatitis and post-prostate surgery recovery.
What to expect at your first visit:
Each treatment session will be you and your therapist in a private treatment room. The initial session will begin with a discussion about your specific symptoms in order to determine what the biggest concerns are. The initial visit will include an assessment of abdominal strength, pelvic alignment and pelvic/hip flexibility.
For assessment of the pelvic floor, the patient will be asked to disrobe from the waist down. Assessment of the pelvic floor is completed intravaginally or intrarectally, depending on the diagnosis and primary complaints. The pelvic floor will be assessed for strength, endurance, coordination and the presence/location of tender points or spasms. Once deficits are identified, patients are taught a series of exercises that they will be asked to complete at home. To verify that the exercises are being done correctly, biofeedback is used. Biofeedback works by attaching external sensors to the pelvic floor. These sensors will create a graph of what the muscles are doing as the patient contracts and relaxes, allowing the patient to visualize what the muscle is doing when working.
A customized treatment plan will be developed for each patient, based on the initial assessment findings. This plan could include strengthening exercises, coordination training, pain management education, soft tissue release, biofeedback, visceral mobilization, bladder and/or bowel re-education, and postural retraining.
How often are patients seen and success rate:
Most patients are seen once per week for about eight weeks. There are some patients who benefit from being seen twice per week. Some patients are improved in fewer than eight visits, others take longer than eight, depending on the nature of the problem and the duration that the patient has dealt with the issue. Most patients are 70-90% improved after completing the recommended course of therapy. The home exercises will continue to be completed after discharge from formal PT.