Pelvic Health Support

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Understanding Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Understanding Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

By Melanie Carminati, Pelvic Health Physical Therapist 

Understanding Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

The pelvic floor, a group of muscles between the tailbone and the pubic bone, plays a crucial role in supporting the bowel and bladder and is essential for sexual function. Factors such as heavy lifting, weight gain, constipation, childbirth, menopause, and surgery can weaken these muscles, leading to various issues, including pelvic pain, incontinence, and discomfort during sexual intercourse.

Understanding PFD

Common Symptoms and Conditions

  • Pelvic pain or pressure and abdominal pain
  • Frequent urge to urinate or painful urination
  • Urinary leakage and incontinence
  • Lower back pain
  • Constipation and difficulties with bowel movements
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Pain with sexual intercourse

Advancing Pelvic Health Through Evidence-Based Therapy 

The science behind pelvic floor physical therapy is rooted in a deep understanding of anatomy, biomechanics, and neuromuscular function. Pelvic floor physical therapists undergo extensive training to comprehend the complex network of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that comprise the pelvic region. Through a detailed assessment, therapists identify imbalances, weaknesses, and dysfunctions in the pelvic floor muscles. The hands-on internal work involves precise palpation techniques to target specific areas, promoting improved blood circulation, muscle flexibility, and tissue elasticity. Neuromuscular re-education enhances communication between the nervous system and pelvic muscles, fostering better control and coordination. Behavior modification strategies are based on evidence-based practices, addressing habits or postures that may contribute to pelvic floor issues.

Pelvic floor education is a cornerstone, providing patients with the knowledge to participate actively in their healing process. Incorporating biofeedback technology allows for real-time monitoring and visualization of pelvic muscle activity, empowering individuals to make informed adjustments. In essence, pelvic floor physical therapy is a scientifically grounded and personalized approach, aiming not only to alleviate symptoms but to address the root causes of dysfunction for lasting improvements in pelvic health.

Treatment Approaches 

We take on a holistic approach to pelvic floor rehabilitation, utilizing various techniques to address individual needs:

  • Hands-on Internal Work:  To address specific muscular issues and promote healing
  • Neuromuscular Re-Education: Specialized exercises designed to retrain and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, improving function and reducing symptoms
  • Pelvic Floor Education: To empower active participation in recovery
  • Behavior Modification: To identify and modify behaviors contributing to pelvic floor dysfunction, promoting long-term relief
  • Biofeedback: To gain awareness and control over pelvic floor muscles, enhancing the effectiveness of rehabiliation

The Role of Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy in Pregnancy and Postpartum Recovery

Pregnancy and childbirth bring about significant changes to a woman’s body, particularly in the pelvic region. Pelvic floor physical therapy plays a crucial role in supporting women during both pregnancy and the postpartum period. As the uterus expands during pregnancy, the pelvic floor muscles undergo increased stress, potentially leading to issues such as urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, and discomfort. Postpartum physical therapy becomes instrumental in addressing concerns like diastasis recti, pelvic organ prolapse, and pain during intercourse. By focusing on the unique needs of pregnant and postpartum individuals, pelvic floor physical therapy becomes essential in promoting optimal pelvic health across the stages of motherhood.

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy for Men: Breaking the Stigma and Restoring Health

While often associated with women’s health, pelvic floor issues are not exclusive to one gender. Men can also experience pelvic floor dysfunction, leading to problems such as chronic pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, and sexual dysfunction. Effective solutions empowering men to overcome pelvic floor challenges can be accomplished through personalized care plans that can include manual therapy, neuromuscular re-education and targeted exercises, fostering improved overall well-being and a renewed sense of confidence.

Dr. Melanie Carminati is a highly specialized and holistic physical therapist who founded Inspira Physical Therapy in 2018. Her primary goal is to provide exceptional one-to-one care in complex Orthopedics and Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy, with a holistic approach that integrates osteopathic manual therapy techniques and Pilates.