At VanCity Physio we’re excited to have Ella come on board to our team as one of her specialties is the pelvic floor. What is pelvic floor physiotherapy? It is a form of physiotherapy that assists and treats the pelvic girdle, lower back and the hips. The pelvic floor is an important part of the body because it plays a role in bladder control, core strength, sexual function and it supports pelvic organs. A lot of times when the pelvic floor is referenced one may think of this just strictly as a female discussion, but men also have conditions pertaining to the pelvic floor.
Some examples of Pelvic Floor conditions are but not limited to as listed below:
- Bladder incontinence
- Bowel incontinence
- Prenatal patients
- Pelvic Girdle pain
- Frequent urination at nighttime
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse
- SI Joint Dysfunction
- Lower back, hip and groin pain
Most times when one has pelvic pain, it is due to dysfunction of the pelvic floor. Most times this is due to hypertonic muscles which are defined as muscles that are too tight. Why this is problematic is for the pelvic floor to properly function it must be able to contract and if these muscles are too tight it may cause pain or undesired symptoms. The opposite can also cause issues which is when the muscles are called hypotonic, and this is when there is not enough tension in the muscles and as result there can be organ prolapse or stress continence. Lastly, one can have pelvic floor issues when there is a combination of both hyper and hypotonic muscles.
One of the main causes for pelvic floor disorders is childbirth. Other causes of pelvic floor disorders can be injuries during pregnancy, excessive straining, menopause, prior surgery, pelvic radiation, obesity, heavy lifting, weak connective tissue and aging. But the ages of patients can range from youth to menopausal women.
To determine if a pelvic disorder is present, an internal and/or external (hands on therapy) may be used to evaluate the function of the pelvic floor. The goal of these techniques is to gauge if the pelvic floor is responding and functioning as it should. Other muscle groups and joints need to be considered as well to ensure the pain isn’t coming from there such as the lower back or SI joint. Once determined it is a pelvic floor issue, the goal will be to treat the tension causing the pain and once it is settled, it is important to strengthen the pelvic floor. It will be taken in account to discuss posture and best techniques to ensure another flare up doesn’t occur. It will be imperative to keep in mind posture, breathe dynamics and pain perception as these play a large role in pelvic floor dysfunction. There are many avenues of pain relief in physiotherapy such as electrical stimulation, stretching exercises, manual therapy, relaxation techniques and many more options. A treatment plan will be made with your needs in mind which may include both manual therapy, pain relief, and education. It is important at the first sign of pelvic floor dysfunction to seek help at VanCity Physio as early intervention is key. Book in so you feel better soon!