You may have heard about or even experienced physical therapy (PT) for back, shoulder, knee and foot issues, but have you heard of PT for your pelvic floor?
Many women suffer from pelvic floor pain after giving birth. Some women have pain even before they get pregnant. Injury to the pelvic floor muscle can lead to leaking of urine, feces or pelvic joint pain over a period of time.
Your Pelvic Floor – Why it Might Hurt
Your pelvic floor consists of the group of muscles between your hips, which cradle your bladder, uterus and rectum. After giving birth, those muscles are sometimes injured or torn and can be tender. Pain in this area can also be from spasms and scarring following birth. Additionally, women may also experience pain during sex.
Pelvic Floor Therapy to the Rescue
The good news is that there are trained PT professionals—pelvic floor therapists—who specifically treat pelvic floor dysfunction including pain in the vagina, leaking and pelvic joint problems (also known as pelvic girdle pain). A pelvic floor therapist can help you stay healthy and pain-free before, during and after pregnancy. During pregnancy, she can treat pelvic, back, shoulder and foot pain. Some women see a pelvic floor therapist during late pregnancy for help stretching the pelvic floor muscles in preparation for birth.
Therapy treatments vary based on your particular circumstances. You may only need pelvic floor exercises (often called Kegel exercises), which often require specialized instruction to be done correctly. Or, treatment can be much more extensive, including pelvic floor massage and pelvic girdle joint treatment using various PT techniques. More advanced treatment, especially if you have sexual pain, involves working with you and your partner to help reduce sexual pain to meet your intimacy goals.
If you think you would benefit from pelvic floor therapy, ask your health care provider for a referral. Overlake has several physical therapists trained as pelvic floor therapists who can help.
You might also consider taking a Pelvic Floor Fitness class geared specifically for expectant and new moms. For more information, contact Family & Community Education at 425.688.5259 or send an email.