What is Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy? A Quick & Easy Breakdown

what is pelvic floor physical therapy?

In the healthcare system that currently exists in America, it is hard to define what physical therapy is, and exactly what role it plays. Beyond that, defining a subset of physical therapy can be even more difficult.

The American Physical Therapy Association has agreed that the role of physical therapy is to restore, maintain, and promote optimal physical function. In simpler terms, physical therapists are movement specialists. Our passion is to get our patients feeling and moving symptom-free. The best way of helping people move optimally is to look at the person’s whole body as a system that works and functions together.

 

It's Kind of Like Baseball

If you were to consider how a pitcher throws his pitch, you can see how he moves from his whole body. This is the perspective all physical therapists attempt to have—and one that pelvic physical therapists are closer to achieving. Pelvic physical therapy takes a set of muscles that are often overlooked into consideration, and attempts to restore optimal functionality to a delicate system of checks and balances.

 

Your Pelvic Floor is Like a Box

The pelvic floor has been illustrated as the “hammock” or “sling” that supports the weight of our trunk and organs. A better image is imagining your body as a box —the box is only as strong as the foundation. If the foundation is weak, it will affect the box in a number of different ways. In some instances, the box may lose complete stability, and fall apart. What good is a box without its ability to hold up its contents?

The pelvic floor is the foundation of the body’s core and should be one of the first things to consider when a problem arises elsewhere in the body. Not only does a healthy pelvic floor contribute to an airtight pressurized breathing system through the diaphragm, but it also contributes to keeping you upright and active as you participate in daily life.

If not for a healthy pelvic floor, we would be incontinent and unable to maintain organ stability, which occurs with prolapse.

At Sarton PT, our aim is to keep the whole body system at the forefront of our practice. That includes restoring, maintaining and promoting optimal physical function, starting from the foundation. As pelvic floor physical therapists, we have the unique opportunity to access tissues that are otherwise out of sight, and sometimes out of mind. With years of experience and honed skills under our belt, we are able to serve the body as a whole and treat as true movement specialists to help you move and live symptom-free.

 

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Diagnoses

How do you know if you could benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy? If you have been diagnosed with any of the following, or suspect that you might experience symptoms that align with these diagnoses, we can help you. 

Male & Female Pelvic Pain

Pudendal Neuralgia
Interstitial Cystitis
Vulvodynia & Vestibulodynia
Endometriosis
Prostatitis
Vaginismus
Painful Intercourse (Dyspareunia)

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Related Pain
Birthing and Labor Preparation
Perineal & C-section Scars
Diastasis Recti
Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Bowel & Bladder

Urinary Frequency & Urgency
Urinary Retention
Stress Incontinence
Urge Incontinence
Fecal Incontinence
Constipation
Bowel Dysfunction
Neurogenic Bladder Post Stroke

Oncology Rehab

Rehabilitation Post Breast Surgery/Breast Cancer
Rehabilitation Post Gynecological Cancers
Rehabilitation Post Prostate Cancer/Prostatectomy

Orthopedic & Other Diagnoses

Coccydynia
Muscle Spasms
Muscle Weakness
Low Back Pain
Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction
Sacroiliac Strain & Sprain
Groin & Hip Pain
Sciatica
Scar Tissue & Adhesions
Fibromyalgia
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
Other Diagnoses

It is not uncommon for patients to have seen anywhere from 5-8 different practitioners before walking through our doors. We often get the most challenging cases, which haven’t seen success elsewhere, and are able to help. See our Patient Testimonial page for firsthand accounts of these complex case success stories.

To learn more about the diagnoses we treat, click here

 

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Treatments

Our comprehensive evaluation will help to identify the causes driving your symptoms. An extensive medical history and physical exam reveals whether poor posture, faulty biomechanics, tight muscles, trigger points, weakness, or nerve disorders are part of your problem. Additionally, restricted scar tissue or adhesions, connective tissue and fascial restriction are always assessed.

Your individualized treatment program may include any or all of the following: 

  • Manual therapy including myofascial release, trigger point release, joint mobilization, muscle energy techniques and connective tissue mobilization
  • Pilates based therapeutic exercise
  • Visceral manipulation
  • Scar tissue adhesion release
  • Strain or counter strain
  • Nerve flossing and neural tension releases
  • Class IV warm laser therapy
  • Neuromuscular re-education techniques
  • Core stabilization training
  • Functional exercise and prescriptive therapeutic exercise
  • Physioball and foam roller exercise
  • Intramuscular trigger point therapy injections
  • Postural re-education
  • Patient and family education
  • Instruction in a home exercise program
  • Pelvic floor biofeedback

We know that no two patients are alike, so we build a customized healing plan for you after your evaluation, using our Healing Heart as a guide.

To learn more about how we treat these difficult diagnoses, click here