What is the Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor can be visualized as a “hammock” of muscles that support the abdominal organs, such as the bladder, uterus (females) and rectum. The pelvic floor consists of three layers of muscles and functions to support the pelvic organs, assist in bowel/bladder control, and contribute to sexual function. A person can be referred to pelvic floor physical therapy to treat conditions such as incontinence, pelvic pain, painful intercourse, constipation, endometriosis, etc.
What Does Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation Include?
The muscles of the pelvic floor contract and relax like all other muscles throughout the body. They can also develop restrictions leading to trigger points and pain, which can often cause referred pain (pain in surrounding areas) such as the hip, low back, and thigh. Due to the relationship of these muscles to the abdominal organs, dysfunction can cause debilitating effects including leakage, prolapse and pain. Many women don’t feel comfortable discussing this topic and some believe these conditions are normal, however there is hope and help available! Pelvic floor rehabilitation provides a comprehensive musculoskeletal evaluation for orthopedic, obstetric, gynecologic, and urologic conditions. This service includes both an external observation for redness/ irritation or compromise of the tissues, as well as an internal assessment by a physical therapist trained in this area. Treatment techniques may include education, manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, and electrical stimulation to retrain the coordination of these muscles. A personalized plan of care addressing the impairments found will be created by the therapist and patient in order to improve function.