When the average person hears the phrase, “physical therapy,” he or she probably does not connect it to women’s health. However, there are some issues specific to women, particularly pelvic floor dysfunction, which are often effectively alleviated with physical therapy. Pelvic floor dysfunction can be a result of pregnancy, childbirth and traumatic injury.
Why Pelvic Floor Dysfunction in Particular?
In women, the muscles of the pelvic floor can become tense or too loose and weak, which results in a serious lack of coordination. It is not at all unusual to see pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) cases with a combination of some of the muscles being too tense and others too relaxed in women. This mainly occurs as a result of the three above-mentioned causes as well as other minor causes (such as chronic coughing). This often causes urinary incontinence and pain during sexual intercourse. Unfortunately, kegel exercises often only worsen both symptoms.
The pelvic floor refers to the group of muscles in the lower pelvic region. They are attached to all sides of the sacrum (the large bone just above the tailbone) and the pelvic bone. As a result, those muscles act as the main support system for the bladder, rectum, uterus and vagina. When these muscles work properly in women, sexual intercourse is painless and doesn’t come with physical tension as is often the case for those who have PFD.
Other symptoms of PFD can include:
- – Spasms of the pelvic floor due to the muscles not being coordinated during contractions
- – Unknown chronic pain in the lower back, genital or rectal region
- – Urinary incontinence — and its opposite — an inability to empty the bladder completely, sudden stopping of the urinary stream, pain during urination and an increase in the frequency of urination
How Physical Therapy Helps to Alleviate PFD
Physical therapists mainly help to treat PFD by teaching the patient various relaxation techniques. Ideally, it is a physical therapist who specializes in both the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems. These physical therapists are trained to both spot the cues through external observation and in biofeedback techniques. Physical therapists typically work as a team with surgeons in order to ensure maximal recovery.
If you have been experiencing pain in your pelvic area or any other of the above-mentioned symptoms, please call us today. We are more than glad to assist you in getting back to a more independent life.