Millions of Americans suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction, yet for most, the symptoms go unidentified and untreated. Statistics say that one out of every five Americans suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction at some point in their life. Pelvic floor dysfunction is not just a women’s disorder; men and children can be affected as well.
The pelvic floor is made up of muscles in the lower abdomen, pelvis and perineum. These muscles form a sling and assist in supporting the abdominal and pelvic organs, as well as help bladder and bowel control and sexual activity.
A physical therapist, specifically trained to treat pelvic floor dysfunction, will evaluate and treat any joint dysfunction, muscle tightness, muscle weakness or imbalance or nerve involvement affecting the function of the pelvic floor. They are trained to identify and develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient.Request Appointment
Dull pain, usually in the rectum, caused by a spasm of the levator ani muscle. We guide in performing stretches and use hands-on treatments to help release the spasm.
Chronic bladder pain, with frequently needing to urinate to decrease pain, and often accompanied by tension in the pelvic and abdominal muscles due to bladder pain. We help patients identify irritating foods/drinks that irritate symptoms, and use exercises and hands-on techniques to decrease tension in the muscles.
A reflexive muscle contraction of the pelvic muscles during attempts at vaginal penetration (often sexual activities, but can also be tampon use, obgyn exams), sometimes completely preventing penetration, and/or pain with attempts. We use a combination of exercises and hands-on techniques to retrain the muscles not to contract.
Pain with activities involving penetration ie tampon use, obgyn exams, and intercourse (so similar to vaginismus, and they often go hand in hand, but vaginismus is a reflexive muscle contraction, and dyspareunia is pain with penetration) – usually due to tension in the pelvic muscles. We use exercises and hands on techniques to stretch and decrease tension in the pelvic muscles and guide people through progressive activities to prepare them for their specific goals.
A disorder where tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus, often accompanied by abdominal/pelvic pain, muscle tension, and difficulty with bowel/bladder/sexual functions. We guide people through exercises and use hands-on techniques to decrease abdominal and pelvic muscle tension, tailoring our approach to each patient’s specific area of dysfunction.
A condition where the nerves in the pelvic/genital region misfire, creating burning pain and sensitivity to touch in the tissues. We perform a thorough assessment to make sure that pressure on the nerve is relieved, and then use exercises and hands-on techniques to decrease the sensitivity of the nerves/tissues/muscles.
Pain in the tailbone, usually worse with sitting, or going from sitting to standing, possibly pain with bowel movements and/or sexual functions. We use exercises and hands on techniques to improve mobility between the tailbone and the rest of the spine, help decrease abnormal tension in the pelvic muscles that attach to the tailbone, and help strengthen muscles that are weak around the tailbone.
Pain in the pelvis often misunderstood, and it’s not uncommon for people with pain in this area of the body to experience mixed messages and multiple diagnoses over a period of time. We now know that when pain is experienced for a long period, the nervous system can become sensitized, and pain can spread to multiple areas because of that sensitization, causing problems in multiple muscles, nerves, and organs. Therapists use education about the neuroscience of pain, exercises, and gentle hands-on techniques to lower the sensitivity of the nervous system and address the problems in the muscles and structures affected, with focus on improving our patient’s ability to perform their desired activities.
Often, before or after surgery for the organs in the abdomen/pelvis, there is tension or weakness in the pelvic muscles. Since the pelvic muscles support these organs, and most surgeries focus on the organs and not the muscles, surgeries can make problems in these muscles more apparent. Therapists use exercises and hands-on treatments to help the muscles and tissues recover, stretching muscles that have extra tension, and working towards strengthening the muscles so they are better able to perform their supportive function.
Surgeries that involve multiple muscles, nerves, and tissues in the pelvis and require the person to learn to use that part of their body after changes to the anatomy. Therapists provide an individual approach to aiding in the recovery for these surgeries, addressing any tension in the pelvic floor muscles, providing guidance on vaginal dilation, postures for bowel and bladder function, and guiding through strengthening exercises when appropriate to improve bowel, bladder, and sexual functions.
Urinary leakage is often a result of the pelvic muscles lacking strength and coordination. Leakage can be related to activities, such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, and jumping, but it can also occur with a strong sense of urgency to use the bathroom. Therapists guide the patient in re-training the muscles for recruitment and coordination, starting at lower-level activities, and progressing to more challenging activities that simulate what patients want to be able to do.
Occurs when the pelvic organs shift position, often due to weakness in the pelvic floor muscles. People often feel heaviness or pressure in their pelvis because the organs are positioned lower in the pelvis. Therapists help people learn to recruit the pelvic muscles to support these organs, and help people strengthen the pelvic muscles to allow them to return to their normal activities without limitations.
Leakage of bowel movements happens when there is weakness or dysfunction of the sphincter muscles, possibly due to an injury or chronic constipation. Therapists guide the patient through exercises to increase coordination of the pelvic floor muscles and strengthen them so that people are able to perform normal activities without leakage.
Constipation can happen when the pelvic muscles can’t open effectively to let bowel movement pass through, so that people have to strain to pass bowel movements, or so that they happen infrequently. Therapists use exercises and hands on techniques to improve help bowel movement move through the system efficiently, and improve patient’s ability to lengthen their pelvic floor muscles to allow bowel movements to pass.
The pregnancy and the postpartum period impacts the pelvic organs, muscles, nerves, and joints, and can result in leakage, constipation, and a variety of pain conditions, like low back pain, pelvic girdle pain, and painful scar tissue. Therapists provide individualized assessments and treatments to address each person’s specific areas of dysfunction, using exercises and hands on techniques to improve scar tissue, increase stability of the pelvis and normalize pelvic muscle function to address any pain, leakage, or other effect of pregnancy.
Separation and/or weakening of the abdominal wall, often referred to as “doming” or “coning,” most apparent when people are moving from a lying position to an upright position. Therapists use hands on techniques, taping techniques, and exercises to improve muscle activation and strengthen the connection between the muscles of the abdominal wall.
Often occurs when there is less support to the joints at the base of the spine, causing pain in the low back, or pain at the pubic joints. Frequently occurs during pregnancy, but can occur in any gender and any age group. Therapists help engage the muscles and give focused exercises to improve support to the joints, as well as provide education about how to perform activities with less pain.