When you think of physical therapy, you likely envision a trained therapist conducting rehabilitation exercises with patients to help restore their mobility or recover from injuries. But physical therapy covers a more comprehensive range of conditions outside the typical issues. One of those may be a surprise -- pelvic floor treatment. Pelvic floor physical therapy specifically targets the pelvic floor muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that support the pelvic organs. Pelvic floor dysfunction affects both women and men and can significantly impact their quality of life. Fortunately, proper physical therapy can reverse disorders with appropriate treatment.
How do you know if you need pelvic floor therapy?
For women, the typical causes of pelvic floor dysfunction include pregnancy, obesity, menopause, and other health issues. For men, it’s typically those who’ve undergone prostate surgery. The following symptoms may indicate that you need pelvic floor therapy:
- Frequent urination
- Urine leakage when coughing, running, laughing, or sneezing
- Pain during urination, especially with a full bladder
- Inability to get to the toilet in time
- Incomplete bowel movements
- Discomfort during sex
- Passing wind from either the anus or vagina while lifting or bending over
- Tampons that do not stay in place inside the vagina
- Reduced sensation in the vaginal area
- Pelvic pain
What should I expect with pelvic floor physical therapy?
Attempting to treat pelvic pain by yourself could make symptoms worse. The key to successful rehabilitation is with a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor therapy. The therapist will conduct an evaluation and ask about your medications. They’ll also ask about surgical, medical, and sexual histories. For women, the PT will inquire about gynecologic and obstetric histories too. While the discussion may feel awkward, the more forthright you are, the more informed your therapist will be in creating an effective wellness plan specific to your needs. The PT may also conduct an orthopedic exam and possibly a pelvic exam.
Based on the information gathered from your evaluation, the PT will determine a customized course of treatment. Depending on the situation, treatments may include particular lifestyle and environmental modifications. It may also involve external therapy techniques, such as biofeedback, electrical stimulation, stretching and strengthening exercises, hot and cold therapy, trigger point therapy, nerve release, deep tissue massage, joint mobilization, skin rolling, and more. Internal therapies can also be expected. However, due to patient sensitivities, those treatments only occur when the patient is ready. Internal techniques are an integral component for restoring normal bodily function. And all combined, the techniques enable highly effective rehabilitation and healing, not just temporarily, but for long-term, beneficial results.
How long does pelvic floor therapy take to work?
Patients who fully embrace a course of care from an experienced pelvic floor physical therapist experience profound healing. After four to six weeks of therapy, most notice improvements, with more significant gains felt within three months. When a course of care is complete, most patient outcomes are highly successful with restored bodily functions.
Could you benefit from pelvic physical therapy? At Luna, we have a team of physical therapists who specialize in pelvic health dysfunction. Located throughout the country, each PT is highly experienced in identifying and properly treating pelvic floor issues, successfully helping patients regain a normal life. Best of all, Luna patients receive treatment in the comfort, familiarity, and privacy of their own homes. Luna physical therapists come to you -- that’s why it’s physical therapy delivered. Don’t put off your recovery any longer. Learn how Luna can help you today.