With advancing age, pelvic floor therapy can become a regular feature. The health and flexibility of the muscles of your pelvic floor have a direct influence on your quality of life.
Pelvic pain, urinary incontinence and discomfort in the pelvic region are some common complaints we come across at any physiotherapy clinic.
What is the Pelvic Floor
Your pelvic floor can be compared to a hammock on which a few essential organs rest, like the urinary bladder and the reproductive organs.
Essentially, it is a floor-like muscular structure built up by the integration of a few muscles. The strength and flexibility of each of the muscles is therefore important.
Examination Of the Pelvic Floor
Since the pelvic floor is a deep structure, its examination, palpation, and treatment are slightly complicated. You should be visiting a trained physical therapist, specifically licensed in Pelvic Care Therapy who can provide you with a detailed assessment and a comprehensive treatment programmed that will ensure relief of your symptoms and an improved quality of life.
What Is Pelvic Dysfunction?
Since the pelvic floor is an integration of several muscles, it is essential that they function in tandem and work as a group. When this does not happen, it might lead to the following symptoms:
- Frequent and intermittent urination
- Pain during sex
- Erectile dysfunction
- Generalized pelvic pain
If a patient experience one or more of these symptoms, it would constitute to Pelvic Dysfunction.
What Might Trigger Pelvic Dysfunction
Though there are several factors that might trigger pelvic dysfunction, here are the most observed ones:
- Being overweight
- Overuse of the pelvic muscles
- Injury to the pelvic area
- Advanced age
- Weak pelvic muscles
What Is Pelvic Therapy
Commonly, the tighter a muscle gets, or the more strongly it can contract, the stronger, the muscle is. This is, however, not the case with the muscles of your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor muscles usually get weaker if they are in a contracted position for a long period of time.
A specialized physical therapist will assess your core strength and the strength and endurance of your pelvic floor muscles. They will then demonstrate certain exercises to you that will help your pelvic floor muscles relax and work in a more synchronized fashion.
The exercises are usually prescribed in a graded method, meaning that you will learn the easier exercises, to begin with, and then when you have mastered those, your physical therapist will teach you the more complicated ones.
This might require a few sessions per week with your physical therapist.
Techniques Used to Treat Pelvic Dysfunction
There are several techniques your physical therapist might use to treat your condition, and each physical therapist will have his own unique way of assessing and treating the condition. However, some of the common treatments are listed below:
These are the most popular form of treatment. There are various Kegels exercises that your physical therapist might ask you to perform. They usually involve continuous contraction and relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles to help strengthen the muscles in the area.
Electrical stimulation is sometimes used to help clients who are suffering from extreme pain.
The physical therapist will observe you while you perform the exercises that have been advised to you. They might also provide you with instructions on how to perform the exercises more effectively.
Internal or external placement of electrodes is a possibility as well, to ensure proper muscular contraction, however, this will not be practised unless you are comfortable.
Depending on the severity of your condition, the physical therapist may advise manual therapy for complete recovery. This will help address your trigger points and aid long-term relief.
Why Is It Essential to See a Physical Therapist for Pelvic Dysfunction?
A meeting with your physical therapist will aid you in a speedy and long-lasting recovery. The pelvic floor muscles are deep muscles that are not easily palpable so treating them before the condition becomes too severe is always the best approach.