Physiotherapy for Pelvic Floor Rehab and Women’s Health in Edmonton
Women’s bodies go through a lot. From hormones to pregnancy, there’s a lot that can go wrong. Women’s Health and Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation assesses and treats the muscle group on the pelvic floor. These important muscles are the hammock or sling that support everything inside, including the bladder, uterus, and rectum.
These muscles relax and contract during urination and bowel movements. With weak pelvic floor muscles, you can end up peeing when you cough or sneeze! Tight pelvic muscles cause pain, a sense of bladder or bowel urgency (right now!) and increased frequency (you have to go again?).
If you recognize these symptoms, you are not alone! Estimates suggest that 1 in every 3 women suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction of some kind at some point in their life. But it’s not about getting old! These are not normal symptoms of aging.
Here is a list of some conditions that benefit from physiotherapy for pelvic floor rehab:
- Pregnancy and Childbirth
- Urinary Incontinence
- Organ Prolapse
- Post-Partum Pelvic Complications
- Pelvic Pain
- Painful Intercourse
Your core is a lot more than just your abs. Your core begins at your diaphragm up under your ribs and extends down to your pelvic floor. So, your core includes your diaphragm, ab muscles, low back muscles, and pelvic floor muscles. These muscles all work together, supporting everything in your abdomen. So, it’s crucial all the various parts of your core function properly.
Signs Physiotherapy Could Benefit You – Pelvic Floor Rehab in Edmonton
During Pelvic Floor Rehab Physiotherapy, your physiotherapist will assess all the various parts of your core to make sure they all work together. The idea of Pelvic Floor Rehab Physiotherapy is to improve the function of your pelvic floor. The therapy uses custom exercises, modifications in your lifestyle, education and (most critically) hands-on treatments to reduce and eliminate symptoms. When your pelvic muscles don’t function properly, you can end up with pain and other symptoms.
You may notice some or all of these symptoms that indicate physiotherapy would be beneficial for you.
- Not getting to the toilet in time
- Peeing a little when you cough, run, sneeze, laugh, or take the stairs
- Passing gas from your anus or vagina when you bend or roll over or lift something
- Less sensation in your vagina
- Tampons dislodging or even falling out
- A bulge at the opening to the vagina
- Rectal pain
- Feeling heavy in the vagina
- A heaviness or dragging in your pelvis or back
- Overactive bladder
- Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Interstitial cystitis
- Tail bone pain
- Pelvic organ prolapse, especially a prolapsed uterus
- Recurrent thrush (yeast infections)
- SI joint pain
- Vulval pain
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Inability to orgasm
Now, that’s quite a list. And you might be wondering if, since you do relate to a few if it really means you are dealing with pelvic floor dysfunction.
The first step is a comprehensive assessment with a physiotherapist at Revive Spine and Sport Physiotherapy Clinic. Your physiotherapist considers all of the possible contributors to your pelvic pain and other dysfunctional symptoms.
They look for the root of the problem, like tissue-based drivers and issues in your nervous system that could contribute. You’ll get involved with a program of education, postural and alignment and nervous system retraining, custom stretching and strengthening programs. Specialized biomechanical and behavioural strategies will address your symptoms to get you on the road to recovery.
Pregnancy and Childbirth
Pregnant women’s bodies go through incredible changes. Your abdominal wall stretches, and you have more pressure on your bladder, urethra, and pelvic floor. Your posture changes as the baby gets bigger, and there are the hormonal changes throughout the process.
These changes are necessary for the baby but often lead to back, tailbone, and pelvic pain for mom. How often do you find yourself standing with your fists jammed into your back? Tight muscles, even if not especially painful, can steal the joy from pregnancy.
Add a little urinary incontinence, painful sex, and extra pain every time you roll over, and you get a picture for how pregnancy and childbirth can impact your pelvic floor. And as much as you want to take the stairs, it gets harder and harder as you get closer to your due date. Oh, and do you need someone to help you up? Grabbing a hand to help you get from sitting in your favourite chair to standing is another sign.
Just because these symptoms are common, and even considered funny sometimes, doesn’t make them normal. Just because your friends and female relatives tell you that they had the same symptoms doesn’t mean you have to suffer, too!
These symptoms of pelvic floor problems are NOT a normal part of pregnancy.
- Leaking urine, gas or stool, even when you cough, sneeze, laugh, jump, take the stairs, or run.
- Ongoing pelvic, tailbone, or back pain
- Feeling pressure or heaviness pushing into your vagina or rectum
- Pain during intercourse
How Physiotherapy Can Help When You Have a Baby
It all begins as your physiotherapist at Revive Spine and Sport Physiotherapy Clinic makes a thorough assessment of your situation. They listen carefully as you describe your pain and the rest of your symptoms. Then, your physiotherapist outlines a recommended treatment plan. You’ll discuss the plan and get an idea of how many visits and what sorts of therapies will be best for you.
In addition to specialized professional treatments, you’ll receive a custom exercise program you can do at home, even after the baby comes. Plus, if you are still pregnant, your physiotherapist will give you a strategy and tools to use during your baby’s birth to protect your pelvic floor.
You’ll receive information and treatment to counter your post-natal concerns, too. Physiotherapy helps pain and scar tissue management, and your physiotherapist will help develop a return to activity plan.
Peri and Post Menopause
If you are going through menopause or have already, you know how women’s estrogen levels significantly decrease. And estrogen is critical to maintaining optimal function in your pelvic floor.
So, when you are going through menopause, you may experience symptoms like heaviness or bulging, incontinence, urinary or bowel urgency and frequency, and pelvic pain.
Physiotherapy treatment helps improve these symptoms, making peri and post menopause far more comfortable. This time in a woman’s life is so rich and full of promise! Don’t let weak core muscles limit your quality of life.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Women’s Health in Edmonton
Your pelvic floor muscles are mounted at the base of your pelvis. When your doctor asks you for a midstream urine sample, you use your pelvic floor muscles. You tighten your pelvic floor to stop the flow of urine and relax the muscles to start again.
Your pelvis houses your internal organs, like your bladder, uterus, and rectum. These muscles support these structures and play a vital role in elimination, sexual function, pregnancy and childbirth.
Pelvic floor dysfunction is common enough that sometimes people joke and think the symptoms are a normal part of pregnancy or getting older. Nothing could be further from the truth!
No matter how many children you’ve had or how old you are, you should be able to contract and relax and coordinate your pelvic floor muscles. But some things do contribute, making it more likely that your pelvic floor has basically given up (but don’t worry, we know how to fix that!)
- Traumatic injury to the pelvic area such as a fall or car accident, wearing a lap belt
- Pregnancy and childbirth, including C-sections
- Any abdominal surgery
- Overuse of the pelvic muscles – going to the bathroom too often, pushing too hard
- Poor muscle coordination
- Straining from chronic constipation
- Being overweight
- Although getting older is not a cause, being older is a risk factor
- Poor body mechanics
- Weak core muscles
When Kegel Exercises are Not the Right Answer to Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
You’ve probably heard of Kegels. These pelvic floor strengthening exercises often play a critical role in helping to improve symptoms of a weak pelvic floor.
But they are not the only solution, and depending on your symptoms, Kegels might not even be the best solution.
Just like other muscles, pelvic floor muscles can spasm and get tight. You would likely have pelvic pain, a sensation of being unable to completely empty your bladder or bowel, a weak or hesitant urine stream, and pain during or after intercourse.
A functional pelvic floor is a strong pelvic floor, but not a tight pelvic floor. When your muscles are too tight, your physiotherapy focuses on untying the knots. Gentle stretching can help release muscle tightness, allowing for improvements in your symptoms.
What to Expect During Pelvic Rehab at Revive Physiotherapy in Edmonton
During your treatment sessions, your physiotherapist will use hands-on techniques to relieve your symptoms. Some may create some mild discomfort but should not be painful. Your home exercises may be a little uncomfortable, too, but you should not feel pain during or afterwards.
Our focus is the treatment of your symptoms. Treatments vary between individuals, but most patients receive manual therapy, exercises, advice on lifestyle modifications, and relaxation techniques.
As your symptoms improve, your physiotherapist will reassess your condition and determine when (or if) to shift your treatment.
Contact us at Revive Spine and Sport Physiotherapy Clinic for an assessment, so you can learn more about how to move forward into a healthy future.
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