Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation / Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy
What is the Pelvic Floor, and why does it need Physiotherapy?
The pelvic floor is a complex system of muscles and tissues which have several essential functions in the human body. It is located at the bottom of the pelvis between the tail bone, pubic bone, and sits bones.
Some of it’s functions include:
- Sphincter for the urinary system
- Support for the pelvic organs (bladder, rectum, and uterus)
- Core Stabilizer
- Pump for bodily fluids
It is no wonder that such an essential set of tissues can cause problems when you take into account the strain and work that is it constantly doing to keep us functioning.
Q: How can Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation / Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy help?
A: When the pelvic floor is not functioning optimally, several life-altering conditions can arise such as:
- Pelvic organ prolapse (descent of the pelvic organs into the vaginal opening)
- Stress incontinence (urine leakage with running, jumping, sneezing, coughing, etc…)
- Urge incontinence (inability to make it to the washroom without leaking, or an extreme urgency to void)
- Low back, groin, and hip pain
- Internal pain (such as with intercourse, endometriosis, insertion of feminine hygiene products, etc…)
The conditions listed above are common, but they are in no way “normal” or something a person should life with day-to-day.
Pelvic floor physiotherapy is supported by an immense backing of scientific evidence. Healthcare treatments are graded on a scale based on the evidence to support their effectiveness. Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy has Level 1: Grade A evidence. This is the highest quality of evidence possible! Consultation and treatment with a specially trained pelvic health physiotherapist can help you enjoy life to the fullest and get you back to the activities you love.
The following section was written by Samantha Church, our physiotherapist, to help clients understand what pelvic physiotherapy entails. if you have any questions please call the clinic and ask for Samantha and she would be happy to chat with you about pelvic floor physio!
Q:What should I expect from a Pelvic Floor Assessment?
Discussion: Symptoms and Pelvic Floor Physiology
A physio assessment for the Pelvic Floor begins much like any other visit to a healthcare provider. The first several minutes are spent discussing your symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle. We might touch on some subjects which are more sensitive, such as your bowel and bladder habits, pain in the pelvic region, and history of childbirth if applicable. Our discussion always ends with an education session about the pelvic floor and what is to come. The whole discussion lasts anywhere from 15-40 minutes depending on the complexity of your case, and any questions you may have.
Physical Exam: Internal and External Pelvic Floor
If my clients are comfortable, I would then proceed with the physical exam. I start with looking at the hips, back, posture, and breathing pattern. In the physical exam we would also perform an internal and external pelvic exam which includes an internal vaginal exam, and if applicable, a rectal exam. This is much like an exam from a physician, except there are no stirrups or speculums. You will be lying comfortably and be covered by a sheet or gown. I will also talk you through everything I am assessing, from muscle strength and tone, to tissue integrity and organ positioning.
Continuing Treatments: Personalized and Effective
After the assessment, all of the clinical findings will be explained to you. You will likely be sent home with a simple set of home exercises to work on, and a follow-up date with your physiotherapist. The exercises are different for everyone depending on your specific symptom triggers and lifestyle. Subsequent treatments could include but are not limited to soft-tissue work, reassessment of strength and tone, and assessment of movements.
I always make sure that all my clients leave feeling confident they can follow the rehabilitation plan we create together. After an assessment, you are never alone in the journey to recovery.