Nearly one in three reproductive-age women suffers from pelvic pain on a regular basis. After childbirth, up to one half of women can experience incontinence. As they age, about 25 percent of women can experience bladder and bowel incontinence.
Fortunately, physical therapy offers a solution. Women no longer have to live with the fear and embarrassment of incontinence or the pain of pelvic conditions. Through physical therapy, they can prevent incontinence, reverse course, and take control. Physical therapy also offers a medication-free option for other pelvic-related ailments, including abdominal and lower-back pain, endometriosis, sexual disorders, and bowel looseness.
The “pelvic floor” is not a single underlayment between the hip bones but a series of muscles that, together, support our internal organs. In the course of a lifetime, those muscles undergo strain and pressure.
Childbirth is especially hard on the pelvic floor. “Most women don’t have physical therapy after childbirth, and most women should,” says Stephanie Ridgway, clinic director for BenchMark Physical Therapy. “During and after childbirth, it’s necessary to strengthen the pelvic muscles so they don’t get stretched out and weak. Physical therapy will keep those muscles strong, and it usually allows for an easier delivery.”
Those damaged muscles no longer support the bladder and rectum, contributing to three possible forms of incontinence:
- Stress incontinence – bladder leakage when pressure is put on the bladder by laughing, sneezing, or running.
- Urge incontinence – sudden need to urinate immediately and the inability to control the bowel.
- Bowel incontinence – prevents the muscles from contracting, causing release of bowels at unpredictable times.
Many other women’s health problems originate in or around the pelvis. Endometriosis, scarring from caesarean section or other abdominal surgery, and sexual disorders can cause disruptive pain and keep women from enjoying life.
The physical therapy solution
Exercise is crucial to women’s overall health at all phases of life, but pelvic health and recovery demand a specialized approach.
A physical therapist specializing in pelvic health conducts an assessment and devises a treatment plan.
- For incontinence, patients learn proper techniques for Kegel exercises and pelvic floor contractions.
- Pain issues can require internal and external manual therapy and massage to release trigger points and restore pelvic muscles to the proper positions.
- Deep breathing and relaxation techniques can be on the care plan, allowing pain patients to release the tenseness known to exacerbate the problem.
BenchMark Physical Therapy is a family of physical therapists, occupational therapists,
and handtherapists committed to inspiring and empowering people to reach their full potential. Its providers know that connecting with patients on a personal level helps to build trust. This trust is crucial in allowing patients and therapists to work together to make the best use of advanced certifications and re ned techniques. A focus on proven methods and a hands-on approach help the BenchMark team achieve the goals of the patient in a safe and effective manner.