Advancements in Pelvic Health

Multidisciplinary approaches to physical therapy are aiding in the recovery of individuals suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction.

What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

The muscle group that supports pelvic organs including the bladder, rectum, uterus in women, and prostate in men is known as the pelvic floor. These muscles work together, both relaxing and contracting, to help control bladder and bowel movements. With dysfunction, high tension in the pelvic floor muscles causes spasms that can lead to coccydynia (tailbone pain), pain with intercourse, pain with urination, frequent urination, and pain in the lower back. Because the pelvic floor muscles are tensed, they are not able to expand enough to provide relief. 

What Causes Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

While it is often hard to pinpoint the exact cause of pelvic floor dysfunction, also known as a shortened pelvic floor, certain causes are more prevalent. Injuries to the pelvic area can throw the muscles into spasm, as can childbirth complications. High-stress jobs or lifestyles are also associated with shortened pelvic floors, since stress can trigger clenching. In many cases, individuals don’t even notice they are tensing their pelvic floors, so it’s possible people can live with dysfunction for years.

An Expert Weighs In

“There are both internal and external assessments to identify trigger points, hip issues, back issues, or other problems that might be causing pelvic floor dysfunction. As trained pelvic floor physical therapists, we can use tools such as biofeedback to help patients understand and relax/contract their muscles to gain more control of their pelvic floors.”

Treating Pelvis Floor Dysfunction

The best treatment plans for pelvic floor dysfunction include a combination of relaxation techniques and biofeedback, both performed with the help of a trained physical therapist. After isolating the cause of the dysfunction, therapists can recommend breathing and stretching exercises that help patients learn to control their muscles and feel when they are tightened versus relaxed. Biofeedback, a painless, non-surgical technique, utilizes special sensors to monitor a patient’s pelvic floor muscles. Sensors connect to software that provides visual and auditory feedback to the therapist and patient.

Benefits of Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

Pelvic floor physical therapists are trained in both the skeletal and nervous systems and are therefore able to provide patients with well-rounded treatment plans. By incorporating a multidisciplinary approach that includes biofeedback and specialized training exercises, patients can find relief and improve function for a happier, healthier life.

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