Physical Therapy for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
in East Cobb, minutes from downtown Marietta, Sandy Springs, and Roswell
If you are like many men and women, you may be suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction. But it’s not easy for most people to recognize the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction because it is not like spraining an ankle. In fact, many may not realize that the pelvic floor muscles have a problem; but there are some telltale signs or symptoms that may indicate you have pelvic floor dysfunction, such as:
- Feeling the need to urinate frequently
- Constipation and/or frequent straining during a bowel movement
- Painful urination
- Leaking stool or urine
- Feeling pain in your lower back, hips, abdomen, and/or pelvic region
- Painful sex
- Inability to have an orgasm
- Painful periods in women
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse in women
- Erectile dysfunction in men
- Symptoms of prostatitis in men
- Symptoms of bladder infection or recurrent bladder infection in women
What Is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
Pelvic floor dysfunction is often misdiagnosed or even ignored, but it is actually a fairly common condition that includes an inability to correctly relax and coordinate the muscles in your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is a set of muscles located at the bottom of the pelvis. Everyone has a pelvic floor, it is very similar in men and women, and ultimately these muscles are like any other muscle in the body. Their main roles are to:
- maintain continence (hold in urine, stool, and gas when necessary)
- support the pelvic organs: bladder, rectum, uterus and vagina (in women, and prostate (in men)
- stabilize the pelvis and spine
- assist with sexual arousal
- help maintain proper intraabdominal pressure
The pelvic floor is like a sling or network of muscles that hold, support, and even enable the movement of the pelvic organs. So if these muscles tense up, they in effect misalign and restrict the organs listed above as well as the bones they attach to. The job of the pelvic floor muscles is to act as a support structure to the organs listed above – not restrict them. When this group of muscles is affected, often they can contract but are unable to relax, which restricts organ function, impairs movement, and creates pain.
These muscles are incredibly important and have been ignored for far too long in too many people. Many people have been told a narrative that it is normal to leak urine after they have a baby or as they age, that sex may be painful sometimes, that it is normal to have pain during your period, that as you get older you may not be able to become aroused anymore. Or that some people just can’t become aroused or have orgasms. But these are false narratives. Common does not equal normal. Pelvic floor physical therapy can improve the health, strength and coordination of these muscles so that you can live painfree, stop leaking, and enjoy sex!
How Do You Treat Pelvic Floor Dysfunction With Physical Therapy?
The good news is that the conditions associated with pelvic floor dysfunction may be completely treatable with physical therapy. In fact, physical therapy is considered to be a first-line treatment for these conditions.
Contrary to popular belief, pelvic floor physical therapy is not ONLY about the pelvic floor. It’s about how the pelvic floor muscles interact with the rest of the body. This means that we assess the mobility of the spine, pelvis and hips, your strength, your flexibility, your coordination, your balance, your posture, and your mental health. All of these things play a role in your body’s ability to perform the tasks that you ask of it. During your first visit, we take measurements and assess all of these different components. If deemed necessary, which it often is, we may recommend an internal pelvic floor evaluation. This involves the physical therapist directly assessing the pelvic floor muscles either intravaginally or intrarectally. Don’t worry, there’s no speculum or other tools involved. We use a gloved index finger to assess the strength, tension, and overall integrity of the pelvic floor muscles. This is never mandatory, but it is the best way for your practitioner to get the most information about your muscles. This does not take place every treatment session but may be performed periodically to determine your progress.
Again, the pelvic floor muscles are exactly that: muscles. This means that they have to be treated like any other muscle in the body. If they are weak, we strengthen them. If they have too much tension, we perform stretches. If they are painful, massage or soft tissue mobilization may be necessary, internally or externally. Finding the source of dysfunction is necessary to prevent recurrence of your issues. After restoring the health of the muscles, we retrain the coordination of the muscles with the rest of your core and overall movement patterns in order to get your body functioning well.
Treatments vary according to the issues present, but the following may be included in accordance with a treatment plan created together with the therapist and patient:
- Manual therapy: internal and/or external soft tissue release, trigger point release, visceral mobilization, myofascial release
- Breathing retraining
- Education on and retraining of bowel and bladder habits
- Pelvic floor muscle relaxation and/or strengthening
- Core strengthening
- Training in coordination of the pelvic floor muscles with other muscle groups
- Joint mobility in the spine, pelvis, and hips
- Assessment of other areas possibly contributing to pelvic issues
- Postural retraining
- General strengthening
- Sport specific training
- Pain management and pain science education
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Physical Therapy Treatment Is Available in East Cobb, Marietta, Sandy Springs, and Roswell
Have you been saying, “I need to find a physical therapist near me who has extensive knowledge and expertise in Pelvic Floor Dysfunction in the East Cobb, Marietta, Sandy Springs, or Roswell?” It is important to remember that not everyone who is a PT can treat this condition. When looking for a PT, make sure to ask questions about their experience with specifically treating pelvic floor dysfunction. The therapists at Integral have taken extensive specialty courses in pelvic health and have considerable clinical experience in treating pelvic floor dysfunction and pelvic health issues in women, men, and children. We can even attest ourselves to the success that pelvic floor physical therapy brings. If you are struggling with one or more of these issues, know that life can get better, and it will get better with the help of a pelvic floor PT.
Our goal as pelvic floor physical therapists is to help our clients live the lives they want to live. No person should feel like they have to limit themselves due to pelvic floor dysfunction. A personalized approach is most helpful so let’s get you feeling better! Contact us now to schedule an appointment or a free 15-minute phone call to see if our practice is a good fit for you.