While you may not think of it at first, our pelvis holds some very important muscles. The "pelvic floor" muscles support internal organs, control our urination and facilitate sexual health. Here, our Orleans physiotherapists explain why physiotherapy treatments that target these muscles are important.
Our pelvic muscles serve a whole host of purposes in helping our bodies maintain both our sexual and overall health. They control our ability to pass bowel movements, the flow and frequency of our urination and affect sexual sensation. Because of the location of these muscles in our bodies, if they become injured, they may cause serious discomfort, pain, sensitivity, or difficulty performing important bodily functions.
Physical therapy is able to help recover the function and feeling in your pelvic floor muscles, strengthening them and building them up to prevent future injury. If not treated this way, symptoms of injuries like urinary incontinence or organ prolapse can become facts of life.
What causes dysfunction in my pelvic muscles?
The exact cause of dysfunction or injury in your pelvic floor can be difficult to pin down. This is partially because some of the common symptoms of injury to these muscles are similar to symptoms found in other health conditions.
This difficulty can also be attributed to a diverse range of possible ways your pelvic floor muscles could be adversely impacted. Some of the most common causes of injuries or other pelvic floor dysfunction include:
- Overactive/tight muscles
- Traumatic Pelvic Injuries
- Chronic Constipation
- An Episiotomy (during delivery)
- Lower levels of estrogen after menopause
- Prostate Cancer
What are the signs I need pelvic physiotherapy?
While some of the symptoms of injury or dysfunction in your pelvis can appear as pain in muscle groups in that area, the symptoms that require physical therapy will take on different forms.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of injuries, strains or dysfunction in your pelvis can include:
- Urinary/Bowel Incontinence
- Painful Urination
- Urinary Urgency
- Groin pain
- Increased Urinary Frequency
- Lower Back Pain Without An Obvious Cause
- Reduced Sexual Sensation or Pain during intercourse
If your notice any of the following conditions arising in your day-to-day life, you may be experiencing dysfunction or injury in your pelvic floor. While many accept some of these symptoms as simple facts of life or a "price of ageing," this just isn't true. With the physiotherapy treatment offered by our Orleans physical therapists, you may be able to recover control over bodily functions, alleviate your pain and reduce the discomfort you may be feeling around your pelvic floor.
What treatments are involved in pelvic physiotherapy?
Our Orleans physiotherapists offer treatment to patients who are suffering from pelvic floor pain or dysfunction using a number of different methods. These methods fall into two large categories: active and passive therapies.
Active Physiotherapy for Your Pelvic Floor
Active physiotherapy treatments are exercises specifically prescribed for a client by one of our physiotherapists based on their professional assessment of the root cause of their discomfort or pain. These activities and exercises, help to strengthen muscles, encourage relaxation and stretch tight muscle groups.
The exercises our physiotherapists prescribe for pelvic floor issues will be hugely dependent on the specific root cause of their discomfort, but generally involve exercises, stretches and relaxation techniques to do at home. Kegels are NOT the ONLY or right answer for all!
What About Kegels?
Kegels are a very commonly-recommended pelvic-floor exercise. Guides on how to perform them can be easily found on the internet. If you think you have a injured or dysfunctional pelvic floor, you may be tempted to look up guides online about how to perform this exercise. However, in some instances, kegel can actually be harmful to your condition!
You should always consult with your physiotherapist before you begin engaging in any long-term exercise while suffering from pelvic pain or dysfunction. They will be able to help you to plan workouts and exercises tailored to your condition and needs.
Passive Physiotherapy for Your Pelvic Floor
Passive physiotherapy is called this because it doesn't require our patients to take any action themselves. Throughout passive physical therapies, our physiotherapists treat our clients to help them relax tight muscles, encourage healing form injuries and assess what kinds of exercises and activities may be best suited to help with a patient's particular case.
We offer a number of passive physiotherapy treatments for pelvic floor issues in our patients, including:
- Manual Therapy - Our physiotherapists offer a number of manual therapy techniques (tissues & joints) depending on the root cause of your pain to help loosen and relax seized or spasming muscles.
- Myofascial Release & other tissue techniques (cupping, dry needling, etc) - When we have identified the source of pelvic pain as residing in a specific muscular trigger point, we use physical stimulation to release stress and tension from the identified source in your pelvic floor, low back, and buttock.