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The Pelvic Floor and Physical Therapy

Our pelvis is a bony structure that harbors parts of our reproductive system, renal system and digestive system. It does not work in isolation. It performs in a symphony with our hormones, neuromuscular, lymphatic and cardiovascular systems (to name a few). It is beautifully designed to help us perform the simplest of tasks, like urination, and more demanding tasks such as pregnancy and childbirth. It shapeshifts, provides pleasure, supports life, and transmits daily movements from the ground up. It is one of the most powerful places in our body, but doesn't seem to get the attention it so eagerly commands. 

The pelvic floor is a sling of muscles situated within the pelvis. These muscles have 5 key roles: support, stability, sexual function, sphineteric function and circulation. Just like any other muscle in our body, they can become tight, irritated, or wounded. Unlike other muscles, they play a vital role in basic biological functions like urination, sexual reproduction, and defecation. Their unique function requires individualized care when things go wrong. Pelvic floor physical therapy is rehabilitative care with specialized focus on the muscles that make up the pelvic floor. You can expect a holistic approach during your treatment sessions. With education, hands-on tools, manual work, and corrective exercise, pelvic floor therapy can help you reclaim control over the power of your pelvis, restore confidence in vital functions and in turn, improve your overall health and well-being. Scroll down for some frequently asked questions about pelvic PT.

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Do I have to have been pregnant or had a baby to benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy? 

Nope! Many women that have never been pregnant or experienced childbirth can benefit from pelvic floor therapy.  Pelvic floor PT can help with things like hip and back pain, menstrual care, painful periods,  difficulty with inserting a tampon or inability to tolerate a gynecological exam, painful sex, and constipation, to name a few. 

Is it okay if my baby is with me during the session?

Absolutely! In fact, it is encouraged (if you want)!  As a new mom, one of the biggest challenges I recognize women face is the planning surrounding appointments, and life in general. Everything requires a plan, and sometimes, childcare is impossible to find. Mobile PT takes away this barrier and allows mamas to get the care they need! Plus, this is a wonderful opportunity to integrate exercises and self-care into activities you are already doing with your baby!

I did not have a vaginal delivery. I delivered my baby via cesarean delivery.  Can pelvic floor physical therapy help me?

Yes! Whether you have had your baby via vaginal delivery or cesarean delivery, there is no getting around the fact that the pelvic floor is involved (pregnancy alone can cause significant changes to the pelvic floor's function). Recovery might look a little different for each, just as recovery is a little different for every delivery and individual. A skilled pelvic floor physical therapist can assist with scar tissue adhesions and mobility, core rehabilitation, pain management, postural alignment and more. 

I don't have a home gym, or access to a gym. I need any tools or equipment?

Nope! One of the benefits of mobile PT is our ability to use what you already have at your house! I love getting creative with patients. Do we need weights? A wiggly baby makes for a good challenge! Need a stretch strap? A dog leash can do the trick. There are some cases where you would benefit from purchase of certain tools that cannot be replicated, such a pelvic wand. In this case, we have a discussion about the pros/cons of purchasing. It is always your decision to buy a piece of equipment or not!

I've heard pelvic floor PT involves a vaginal exam. Is this required?

Definitely not. A vaginal exam can provide more detailed information about the function of your pelvic floor muscles, the same way a PT would want to assess the muscles of your shoulder if you had a shoulder complaint. That being said, it is absolutely not a requirement to receive care. You are always in control of the appointment, and are encouraged to opt out of any intervention you are not comfortable with!


How soon postpartum can I start?

There is no real limit to when you are "allowed" to be treated. There are plenty of benefits to initiating treatment sooner, rather than later. Caring for a new baby is incredibly demanding (both physically and emotionally)!  Benefits of being seen earlier include addressing things like tissue mobility and healing, pain and postural changes with breast or bottle feeding, tailbone and low back pain, and more. Beyond the physical, seeing a pelvic floor PT postpartum also gives both new and seasoned moms the opportunity to discuss their birth story (if they would like), self-care, and establish a program that works best for their new life! No internal work will be done until you have had follow-up and clearance from your physician, and you are comfortable with it. 

Don't see your question? Click here to contact Alex or get started!

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