Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
The pelvic floor is made up of muscles and other tissues that form a sling from the pubic bone to the tailbone. They assist you in maintaining an upright posture, supporting abdominal and pelvic organs, and helping to control bladder and bowel function. When these muscles become overactive or overused, the result can be pain and decreased function. Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) refers to a wide range of problems that may occur when the muscles of the pelvic floor are not functioning normally and are often too tight or too weak. There can also be related impairments in the sacroiliac joint, low back, coccyx and/or hip joints, which can actually contribute to more pain and loss of function. The causes of pelvic floor dysfunction can vary widely and may be related to prior infection, pregnancy or childbirth, poor posture, trauma, scar tissue, or endometriosis.
Pelvic floor physical therapy can help improve pelvic pain related to pelvic floor dysfunction as well as reduce symptoms of other conditions caused by pelvic floor problems, such as urinary and fecal incontinence, painful intercourse, and sexual dysfunction. Relaxing contracted and shortened muscles can help alleviate pain in the pelvic floor, just as it would in other muscles in your body. During pelvic floor physical therapy, a highly-trained, pelvic floor physical therapist may use a variety of techniques to properly assess and/or treat pelvic floor problems:
- External and internal (accessed through the vagina or rectum) manipulationsof the pelvic floor muscles
- myofascial release, trigger point release, visceral manipulation, connective tissue manipulation, craniosacral therapy
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) or electrical stimulation
- Heat and cold therapy