What is Pelvic Health Physiotherapy?
Pelvic floor dysfunctions are more common than you can imagine and one of the reasons that you may not know this is...shhhhhhhh...we do not talk about them! Numerous men and women suffer from:
bowel issues including constipation, straining or pain
unexplained pain in the low back, the pelvic region, the genital area or the rectum
pain during or following intercourse, orgasm or stimulation, ejaculation problems
pelvic pain associated with endometrioses, interstitial cystitis, and prostatitis just to name a few
pre and post pregnancy issues including labor and delivery preparation, pain, leakage, bulging and scarring from c-sections, tearing or episiotomy
cancer related conditions
These conditions are not normal:
It is not normal to leak when you laugh, cough or sneeze.
It is not normal to have pain with intercourse.
It is not normal to feel pressure or heaviness in your pelvic region.
It is not normal to feel pain in the pelvic region.
The Cochrane Collaboration 2010 concluded that “physiotherapists with specialized training in pelvic floor rehabilitation should be the first line of defence, before surgical consultation, for stress, urge and mixed incontinence”
You want to work where???
Our pelvic floor muscles silently do their job to assist with bladder, bowel and sexual function. They also have a very significant contribution in keeping our core strong and our backs healthy. However, many of us are unaware that these muscles exist and in turn, do very little to keep them healthy and use them appropriately.
But how do we know if they are doing their job if we cannot assess them?
When a physiotherapist or a surgeon performs a knee or a shoulder assessment, they do not do so through your clothing! The area is exposed in an effort to see if your muscles, tendons, ligaments and other structures are working the way that they should be. This is no different when a pelvic health therapist assesses your pelvic floor muscles. It is vital that the therapist perform a detailed assessment of the perineum, the pelvic floor muscles and most importantly pelvic floor movement, strength and coordination. We also take a very detailed history and assess breathing patterns, other joints and muscles in the spine and hips, along with sensory and reflex tests. All of these components must be considered to determine the diagnosis and the treatment plan for you, as an individual.
European countries have held internal examination of the pelvic floor as the gold standard for more than 30 years. Research continues to show that when pelvic floors are assessed internally, treatments carried out by pelvic health physiotherapists are highly successful and should be the first line of defence before surgery or medication. Always remember that pelvic health physiotherapists are highly trained, sensitive professionals who will discuss all aspects of assessment and treatment with you thoroughly before proceeding.
Is there only one piece to the puzzle?
For many patients, pelvic health physiotherapy is all it takes! The partnership that you form with your physiotherapist at A Body In Motion Rehab is life-long! We are always available to answer questions, provide support or review self-care techniques to ensure that you maintain your gains long-term.
Some patients will require referrals to other health care providers and these may include physicians or specialists, sex therapists, nutritionists, massage therapists and others. Should this be required, we will assist you in finding a health care provider that will meet your needs as an individual. We are always here to help!
We are on to something here…
Kegel exercises are not for everyone and when they are useful, they are often done incorrectly! Pelvic floor dysfunctions can be caused by weak pelvic floor muscles OR tight pelvic floor muscles. With already existing tight pelvic floor muscles, Kegels, which are used to tighten, may potentially do more harm than good! Your pelvic floor muscles need to contract to maintain control of your bladder and relax to allow for urination, bowel movements and sexual function. They must function as a well-running machine.
You do what???
Pelvic Health Physiotherapists are registered physiotherapists who have specialized in the treatment of the pelvic health concerns. Like physiotherapists in other settings, our goal is to assist our patients in resuming their daily or nightly activities as quickly as possible. Our ultimate goal being the ability to help decrease the impact that their pelvic health is having on their lives. What makes us different from other physiotherapists is our training to assess the pelvic floor muscles directly through the vagina or the rectum. This generally illicits reactions that range from shock to intrigue. Responses are often varied and many are skeptical but that is ok because it gives the opportunity to discuss a topic that we are so passionate about!
Who do we treat???
We treat women of all ages and for a wide range of issues. Young athletes who may have incontinence issues, women pre and post pregnancy, sedentary women with pain issues, bowel or bladder issues and pre or post menopausal women may all benefit from pelvic health physiotherapy.
We also treat men! Men have pelvic floor muscles too which means that they can suffer from many of the same problems that women do. Men can experience incontinence, rectal pain, constipation, ejaculation problems, prostatitis that does not respond to antibiotics and the list goes on.
Talk to me about treatment…
Once we have established a diagnosis, your therapist will discuss treatment techniques, goals and anticipated outcomes for you, as an individual! At A Body In Motion Rehab, you are an individual and will always be treated as such. Treatment often, but not always, may include:
Manual (hands-on) therapy not only to the pelvic muscles but to nearby joints and muscles including the abdomen, trunk, back and hips
Connective tissue manipulation
Retraining of the brain and the nervous system
Ongoing and inclusive education
Relaxation and breathing training
The use of treatment tools and modalities
Why do we do what we do???
We do this because we love what we do! It is our belief that pelvic health is an extremely important part of our overall well being. As mentioned earlier…people do not feel comfortable discussing their pelvic health. We want to empower our patients to overcome the embarrassment that is often associated with this part of their bodies. We need to be able to talk about pelvic health and we need to ensure that our patients have the necessary tools to achieve their personal functional goals! Shoulder muscles, knee muscles, pelvic floor muscles…all parts of our body, each with a very important role!! Let’s give our pelvic floor muscles the recognition they deserve!
NO MORE WHISPERING…LET’S START TALKING!