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Does pelvic pain prevent you from lifting your children or grandchildren or getting down on the floor to play with them?Does incontinence make you nervous to cough or laugh? Do you cross your legs every time you sneeze for fear of “leaking?”Do your hips hurt when you go up and down stairs while pregnant or postpartum?
In order to be your best in your world and care for those you love, you have to be the strongest version of yourself. Pain and/or other problems of the pelvic floor can lead to weakness throughout your body and affect your daily activities.
Women’s Health Physical Therapy is an area of physical therapy that specializes in the unique needs of women throughout their lives. With specific training in musculoskeletal disorders, PTs can provide effective management for women with various dysfunctions. Women of all ages can benefit from physical therapy treatment. This includes young female athletes; women who are experiencing issues before, during and after pregnancy; women who are menopausal and elderly women.
The pelvic floor is made up of the muscles deep within the pelvis that support the trunk. They control the flow of urine and bowel movements, and they are important for intimacy as well. These muscles are a source of inner strength for women throughout their lives. Problems with pelvic floor muscle function can lead to a variety of symptoms including pain and incontinence.
Many women, at some point during their lives, will experience some form of urinary incontinence. Simple activities such as sneezing or coughing can result in bladder leakage. Physical Therapy can help women regain control through education regarding pelvic floor function, bladder retraining, strengthening, and use of electrical stimulation and/or biofeedback. PT can also benefit those preparing for surgery and decrease their recovery time.
The pelvic area consists of multiple muscles and soft tissue. As with any muscle, pain can be caused by weakness, tightness, spasms, or scar tissue. Many women experience pelvic pain for years before seeking treatment. Pain can occur after surgery or childbirth, during intercourse, with prolonged standing, exercise, or with urination or bowel movements. PT can help decrease pain utilizing various pain management modalities, manual techniques, stretching, strengthening, and patient education.
During pregnancy, many women experience low back pain, pelvic discomfort, decreased control of urine, leg pain and numbness, and severe leg cramps. PT intervention may include postural education, strengthening/stretching programs, and pelvic floor strengthening. After delivery, PT can prove beneficial for women experiencing incontinence or urine leakage, weakened abdominal muscles, pain from incisions, pain during intercourse, or pelvic floor pain.
First speak to your physician about your concerns and ask questions. Communication between your physician and your therapist is essential and an integral part of your recovery. Once you obtain a prescription for pelvic floor physical therapy, you may call our office to schedule your initial evaluation.
Kimberly Tonovitz, PT, CAAP-Pelvic Certified, has been a dedicated member of the Thompson Health Rehabilitation Team since 2000. Her passion to help women regain strength, decrease pain, and optimize daily function has led her to earn a Certificate of Achievement in Pelvic Physical Therapy (CAPP) through the American Physical Therapy Association’s Section on Women’s Health. As a women’s health physical therapist, Kim strives to help women overcome the challenges of pelvic dysfunction and pain with a compassionate therapeutic approach. She provides customized treatment plans to help each woman meet her personal goals.