Pelvic Rehabilitation Therapy
If you have symptoms of pelvic floor issues such as incontinence, pain, sexual or bladder problems, and think that pelvic rehabilitation can help, contact us for a free consultation. We’ll be happy to help.
What Do the Pelvic Floor Muscles Do?
The Pelvic floor is a group of supportive muscles, ligaments, nerves, and fascia located at the bottom of the pelvis. While you are likely not ordinarily aware of these muscles, they play an important role in many crucial functions of the lower torso.
The muscles of the pelvic floor work like a supportive hammock, supporting the internal pelvic organs including the digestive tract, the bladder, and in women, the uterus. They also play a central role in bowel and bladder control and in the functioning of the sexual organs.
When the pelvic floor becomes weakened or strained (Pelvic Floor Dysfunction), the result is that some of these functions don’t work properly. Pelvic floor issues can be a main contributor to incontinence, bowel and bladder issues, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain syndrome, sexual pain and pregnancy pain.
Common Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
The list of possible symptoms of pelvic floor problems is long and includes:
- Constipation, difficulty passing stool
- Difficulty starting or stopping urination
- Urine leakage when coughing, sneezing, laughing, and in exercise
- Burning or stinging sensations in the pelvis
- Pain in the vagina, clitoris, rectum or the perineum
- Tailbone, buttock or pelvic girdle pain
- Frequent urinary urgency
- Feelings of not emptying the bladder
- Pain in the vagina or pelvis during sexual intercourse or penetration
- Menstruation pain and heavy cramping
- Pain in the pelvic region (tailbone, low back, pubic bone) after childbirth
- Chronic pressure or heaviness in the pelvic region
- Tissue protrusion inside or outside of the vaginal entrance
Incontinence and Other Common Syndromes
Urinary incontinence is one of the most common pelvic floor-related issues. As many as one in four women and one in nine men have urinary incontinence. Research into the condition has shown that the pelvic floor is an important component of muscle retraining to improve the condition. Yet proper assessment and treatment for pelvic floor issues is lacking in medicine in general.
Other pelvic pain conditions and treatable problems include: vulvodynia, vaginismus, vestibulodynia, painful bladder syndrome, chronic non-bacterial prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Without treatment, these syndromes can severely affect your quality of life.
Pelvic rehabilitation physiotherapy can also be very helpful for postpartum moms. Pregnancy and childbirth may often damage the muscles and other connective tissues of the pelvis causing discomfort, pain and other problems including those above. If you have had problems following childbirth, pelvic rehabilitation therapy may be helpful.
Pelvic Rehabilitation Therapy
Physiotherapy for pelvic rehabilitation involves several different kinds of techniques. These mostly focus on rehabilitating the muscles and connective tissue of your pelvic floor and abdomen. While strengthening is an important part of this, it can also involve releasing tension, and developing awareness and control.
In pelvic floor treatments, your AMS Clinic Physiotherapist will typically take a comprehensive approach to helping you strengthen the pelvic area, improve blood flow, and relieve pain. This may include:
- Strengthening the pelvic floor and supportive musclulature
- Pain education and reduction, and vulvar skin care
- Breathing techniques for pelvic relaxation
- Guided relaxation techniques
- Exercises to improve flexibility and reduce strain
- Mobilisation of the lumbar spine, hip, coccyx, and sacroiliac joints
- Reducing irritants and medications that can contribute to pelvic issues
- Nutrition, digestive, and lifestyle education
- Assessing muscle trigger points internally and externally
- Pelvic floor lengthening exercises
They will also teach you about how this area works — and how to maintain the gains you make during rehabilitation. Education is an important part of pelvic rehabilitation. Partly because lifestyle factors can play a role including nutrition, medications, and activity (or lack of it). But also because most people are not aware of the pelvic muscles and need to “learn” their location. Your physiotherapist will help you identify and control the pelvic floor muscles to increase control and release unwanted or problematic muscle tension.
Physicians and Pelvic Rehabilitation
Many people wonder why their doctor doesn’t know much about pelvic floor rehabilitation. Unfortunately, in Canada and the United States, most doctors have little or no education about pelvic floor physiotherapy or rehabilitation aside from a basic knowledge of Kegel exercices. While they can be helpful, Kegel exercises only address one possible part of the problem, and in some cases can even make symptoms worse.
Other countries are ahead of Canada in this area. In fact in France, pelvic and abdominal rehabilitation is routine for all women after they give birth (paid for by the government). Great Britain, Denmark, and Australia, also have pelvic floor therapy programs, and some medical schools now teach a subspecialty known as urogynecology, which is devoted to treating complex pelvic issues.