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Pelvic-Floor Physical Therapy Services

Conditions that might benefit from our program include: urinary/bowel incontinence, constipation, urinary retention, fibromyalgia, dysmenorrhea (painful periods), obstetrical dysfunction and pelvic-floor tension/pain. These conditions may be a result of muscle, connective tissue, joint, scar tissue or nerve problems.  Symptoms that you may experience include difficulty sitting, urinating, painful intercourse or pain in the hips or lower abdomen.

Rehabilitation may include:

  • Pelvic-floor relaxation/strength training
  • Bladder/bowel retraining
  • Exercises designed to stretch/strengthen different muscles
  • Manual therapy   
  • Improvement/restoration of joint movement
  • Biofeedback/electrical stimulation/pressure therapy

What to expect

Your first visit to the Women’s Health Rehabilitation Program will include an initial evaluation to determine the appropriate course of treatment.  The evaluation is performed in a comfortable, private exam room by a therapist who is experienced in the evaluation and treatment of pelvic-floor muscle dysfunction.  The therapist will begin the evaluation with an interview to identify your specific problems and their effect on your daily activities. This will be followed by examinations of your posture and body alignment, spine and hips for joint mobility and skin and other soft tissues in the area for mobility.  The therapist also will perform tests for muscle strength, flexibility and control, and will specifically evaluate the pelvic-floor muscle.  The evaluation of the pelvic-floor muscle is performed internally (through the vagina or rectum).  A biofeedback evaluation may be included in the initial evaluation.  Biofeedback allows the therapist to determine how muscles of the pelvic floor are working.  This evaluation involves a small sensor placed vaginally or anally to record muscle activity.

Your therapist will discuss the evaluation results with you and provide you with education regarding your specific condition and expectations of therapy.  She will answer all of your questions and will work with you to establish a treatment plan based on the results of the evaluation and your goals for therapy.

Both physical and occupational therapy are involved with the evaluation and treatment of pelvic-floor muscle dysfunction. However, the disciplines differ in their approach. Your physician, in consultation with your evaluating therapist, will determine the most effective approach for your specific condition.  This may be one discipline or a combination of both physical and occupational therapy.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy uses a musculoskeletal approach.  Physical therapy treatment may include education in posture and body mechanics and/or correction of muscle imbalances in the trunk and lower extremities through strength and flexibility exercises. Physical therapy treatment also may include specific manual therapy techniques for the joints or muscles in the area, including the pelvic-floor muscles.  Various treatments, including ultrasound, electrical stimulation or biofeedback to relieve pain, promote relaxation or strengthen the muscles, also may be included in your treatment plan.

Fecal Incontinence

Occupational therapy uses a behavioral approach.  Occupational therapy treatment may include instruction in lifestyle changes, such as modifications of diet or bladder retraining, general relaxation techniques or the use of biofeedback or electrical stimulation and daily exercise to isolate the pelvic-floor muscles and promote strengthening, relaxation and/or pain relief.