By: Rachel Larson, PT, DPT, CLT
What is Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy?
A pelvic floor physical therapist is just like any other physical therapist you may have worked with in the past! We are musculoskeletal, neurological, and movement specialists. However, we also have additional training specifically for pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor physical therapists address diagnoses such as pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapses, diastasis recti (separation of abdominal muscles), low back pain due to pregnancy, and much, much more. We can even see you if you don’t have any issues and just want to proactively strengthen your pelvic floor!
Why Pelvic Floor PT?
While it’s more common than people think, it is not normal to pee your pants after having a baby or to have pain with intercourse! Pelvic floor physical therapy is a great, non-surgical solution to these problems. If you are experiencing urinary incontinence, then your therapist can help retrain your bladder and strengthen your pelvic floor. Or for pelvic pain, rather than strengthening the pelvic floor, we can also help train your pelvic floor to relax. Please know that there is help out there for you for any of these problems you may be experiencing!
What will my first appointment be like?
Based on your main concern regarding your pelvic floor, you can expect your pelvic floor physical therapist to:
- Start by having a conversation about what your area of concern is, when it began, and how we can help you
- Assess your posture, gait pattern, lower back and hip ranges of motion, as well as your strength
- With your consent and only if they believe it is appropriate for your specific case, your therapist can perform an internal assessment of your pelvic floor musculature. The purpose of the internal assessment is to test the strength and range of motion of your pelvic floor muscles to get a better idea of your specific diagnosis. The setup of an internal assessment is similar to the setup of your yearly OBGYN visit. You, and a chaperone if you wish, will be brought into a private room. The room is sanitized including sheets on the table and has sheets to keep you covered during the exam. Your therapist also won’t need to use stirrups or speculums! They will put on a clean pair of gloves and use a water-based lubricant to perform a manual exam. Any additional tools will only be used in follow-up treatments and not in the initial internal evaluation.
- Prescribe a personalized exercise program that is tailored to your main concern to help return you to your daily life
What do I do next?
To schedule an evaluation with a pelvic floor physical therapist, you can either give us a call directly or you can see your doctor to be referred. If you have any questions or want to learn more about pelvic floor physical therapy and what we can offer, please give us a call!