While you may not consider it so at first, our pelvis plays host to some very important muscles to our overall health. These muscles - often called the "pelvic floor," support internal organs, control your urination and help to facilitate your sexual health. Here, our Orleans physiotherapists explain why treatments for these muscles are so important.
Our pelvis muscles serve a whole range of purposes when it comes to helping with your overall and sexual health. They control the frequency and flow of your urination, your ability to pass bowel movements and can impact sexual sensation. Since these muscles are located within our bodies in a sensitive area, if they bomes strained or injured, they may cause excess sensitivity, pain and discomfort.
Physiotherapy is able to assist in the function and feeling in your pelvic floor muscles in order to strengthen them and build them up in order to prevent future injury. If they aren't treated in this way, injuries may result in longstanding issues like urinary incontinence and organ prolapse.
What causes dysfunction in my pelvic muscles?
The precise cause of injury or dysfunction in your pelvic floor can be difficult to pin down. Partially, this is because the symptoms of injury or dysfunction in these muscles are similar to symptoms found in other health conditions.
The difficulty in pinning down the cause can also be attributed to the diverse range of possible ways the muscles of your pelvic floor could be adversely impacted. Some common causes of injuries or other pelvic floor dysfunction include:
- Prostate Cancer
- Chronic Constipation
- Overactive/tight muscles
- An Episiotomy (during delivery)
- Traumatic Pelvic Injuries
- Lower levels of estrogen after menopause
What are the signs I need pelvic physiotherapy?
While the symptoms of injury or dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles can appear as pain in the muscle groups in that area, often the symptoms of pelvic dysfunction 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:
- Groin pain
- Urinary Urgency
- Painful Urination
- Urinary/Bowel Incontinence
- Increased Urinary FrequencyReduced Sexual Sensation or Pain during intercourse
- Lower Back Pain Without An Obvious Cause
If you notice any of these conditions consistently arising in your day-to-day life, you may have dysfunction or injury in your pelvic floor. While many people accept some of these symptoms as facts of life or the "price of ageing," this just isn't true. With the physiotherapy treatment offered by our Nepean physical therapists, we may be able to help you recover control over bodily functions, alleviate pain, and reduce discomfort associated with 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 under two large umbrellas: passive and active physical therapies.
Passive Physiotherapy for Your Pelvic Floor
Passive physiotherapy is referred to in this way because it doesn't require our patients to take any distinct action themselves. During passive physical therapies, our physiotherapists treat our clients in order to help them to relax their tight muscles, heal their injuries and assess what exercises or activities may be best suited for our patient's particular case. We are proud to be able to offer a number of passive physiotherapy treatments for pelvic floor issues and injuries, 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.
Active Physiotherapy for Your Pelvic Floor
Active physical therapy treatments are exercises that are prescribed to a client by one of our physiotherapists based on their assessment of the root cause of your discomfort, injury or pain. These activities and exercises will help to strengthen muscles, encourage relaxation and stretch out tight muscle groups to restore function and prevent further injury to the pelvic floor.
The exercises our physiotherapists prescribe for pelvic floor issues will be hugely dependant 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!
Always wait for a physiotherapist's prescription of an exercise before engaging injured, pained, or stiff muscles. If you attempt exercises or activities without consulting your physiotherapist, you may cause yourself further injury and pain!
What About Kegels?
Kegels are likely one pelvic floor exercise that you have heard of - they are a very commonly recommended pelvic floor exercise. Guides to do these exercises can be found quite easily on the internet.
However, if you think you have an injured or dysfunctional pelvic floor, you should not do kegels unless recommended by a physiotherapist. While it may be tempting to feel like you are taking action for your health, not all injuries or dysfunctions respond well to kegels and in some cases, you may even make your condition worse!
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.