Pelvic physiotherapy (also known as pelvic floor physiotherapy) is the assessment and treatment of conditions that manifest in the pelvic region. Pelvic pain originates from the lowest part of your abdomen, below the umbilicus and between the hip bones. Symptoms may arise from various conditions; however, one of the most common causes of pelvic pain is the musculoskeletal system.
The pelvic floor includes muscles, ligaments, nerves and connective tissue. It plays an important role in the body by providing support for the bladder, genitals, uterus and anus. Dysfunction of the pelvic floor, often results in the muscles of the pelvis becoming too tight (hypertonic) or too weak (hypotonic).
When the pelvic floor muscles are weak, they become less effective at supporting the pelvic organs and symptoms such as urinary or bowel incontinence, urgency and pelvic organ prolapse can occur. These are NOT a normal part of aging. Reversely, when the pelvic floor muscles are too tight they can cause urinary frequency, urgency, incomplete emptying and painful urination as the muscles are unable to relax fully to allow the passage of urine down the urethra. You may also experience constipation or pain with bowel movements, unexplained pain in your low back, pelvic region or genital area, pain during or after intercourse, orgasm, or sexual stimulation due to the tension in these muscles.
Pelvic floor physiotherapist’s are certified to use a variety of assessment and treatment techniques to address pelvic floor dysfunction. Some of these approaches may included;
- Pelvic floor re-training and exercises
- Internal manual therapy techniques, including; myofascial release, trigger point therapy, etc.
- Relaxation and breathing techniques
- External manual therapy techniques, including; joint mobilization, soft tissue treatment, acupuncture, dry needling, etc.
- Therapeutic modalities, such as; muscle stimulators, Interferential current (IFC) and Ultrasound
- Education and advice on posture, positional modifications, toileting, etc.
- Lower back and core strengthening
Pelvic floor physiotherapy has become more established in the research as a first line of defence against incontinence and pelvic pain. Conditions pelvic floor physiotherapist’s can help to treat are;
- Pregnancy and Post-partum pain and incontinence
- Stress urinary incontinence
- Low back pain
- Pelvic girdle pain
- Urge urinary Incontinence
- Pudendal Neuralgia
- Pelvic organ prolapses
- Interstitial Cystitis