What is Pelvic Rehabilitation?
Pelvic rehabilitation is a type of therapy for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Muscles in the pelvic area sometimes become tight or weak, leading to a variety of painful or debilitating ailments that can affect your daily life. A physical therapist will provide a musculoskeletal examination to determine what specific type of treatment you’ll need. The therapist will also likely want to get as much of your medical history as possible.
Pelvic floor rehab would include a combination of manual therapy as well as technological therapies such as biofeedback and electrical stimulation. Specific treatments would involve several types of exercises and relaxation techniques. You may also be given a home program that includes a list of therapeutic exercises you’ll need to follow. There are other types of physical therapy services the therapist may provide besides treating injury and pain. A trained therapist who specializes in pelvic rehabilitation may also provide proactive and preventative treatment such as preparing a woman for childbirth. This may make the delivery easier as well as possibly prevent a C-section.
What Techniques are Used?
There are several specific techniques a therapist may use during a pelvic therapy session. The type of exercises and methods your physical therapist uses will depend on the treatment plan created to address your particular condition.
- Postural Exercises – These types of exercises specifically improve posture and muscles affecting posture. Large therapy balls or medicine balls may be incorporated into your exercise routine.
- Myofascial Exercises – Myofascial pain can result from trigger points located all over the body. Myofascial exercises will target the pelvic floor muscles and the connecting fascia. Stretches, massages, and bouts of light exercise may all be part of the treatment prescribed by your physical therapist.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing – Deep breathing exercises can help relax muscles in the pelvic area. Deep breaths allow your diaphragm to slowly contract and expand. This, in turn, causes muscles in the pelvic floor to drop and lengthen.
- Relaxation Techniques – There are several techniques your therapist can use to help you relax. A few include guided imagery and biofeedback. Once relaxed, it will make it easier for your therapist to massage and stretch your muscles.
What Conditions Can it Treat?
Pelvic floor rehabilitation can be beneficial for those suffering from several types of conditions. Pelvic dysfunction often includes several of the following:
- Postpartum Conditions – Some new mothers may experience strained muscles and connective tissue damage in the pelvic floor. Pelvic floor rehabilitation can strengthen these tissues and muscles and reduce any associated pain.
- Constipation – Through pelvic floor rehab your muscles in the pelvic and anal area can be loosened and relaxed. This will often help relieve or eliminate constipation.
- Endometriosis – Bones, ligaments, muscles, and nerves in the pelvic region can all be affected by the progression of endometriosis. Pelvic therapy can help lessen pain and bloating associated with endometriosis while also strengthening pelvic floor muscles.
- Urinary Frequency or Leakage – A physical therapy program will deal with the root causes of urinary problems. You’ll strengthen the muscles under your bladder instead of just treating symptoms.
- Pain after Abdominal Surgery – Pelvic floor therapy can be effective in reducing pain after several types of surgeries. Treatment can help break up scar tissue, regain range of motion, and improve strength.
These are just a few of the many conditions pelvic floor rehabilitation can relieve or eliminate. Painful intercourse and infertility problems may also be improved with pelvic therapy.
How A Physical Therapist Can Help
A trained physical therapist can help you find relief from a variety of ailments related to pelvic conditions. He or she will likely assist you with several forms of exercise and massage to reduce pain, lessen symptoms, and potentially heal your condition. A qualified therapist will evaluate your condition and form a treatment plan that will address your specific needs. Physical therapy services can help you achieve relief from problems you’ve been struggling with for many years.
Your pelvic floor muscles, tendons, and ligaments are extremely important as they support the core of your body. The goal of physical therapy is to provide relief from your pelvic symptoms, improve flexibility, relieve pain, and increase your overall functionality. Depending on the type of injury or condition, physical therapy may be needed for several months.