What is Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

Pelvic floor rehabilitation is a specialty within the physical therapy scope of practice, which specifically deals with the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular dysfunction of the pelvic floor region for both men and women. Just as if your physical therapist was evaluating your knee or shoulder, a pelvic floor evaluation will consist of a thorough history followed by a physical exam assessing the function of specific muscles looking for areas of pain, weakness, or tightness. This may include both an external and internal (through the vaginal or rectal canal) assessment of the pelvic floor. An individualized treatment plan can then be created which helps to address the impairments found in your evaluation in order to improve function and quality of life.

womens health stacey ellingson dptwomens health edge physical therapy and rehab

Conditions we can treat:

  • Urinary incontinence (stress, urge, mixed)
  • Prolapse
  • Pregnancy and post-partum related pain
  • Diastasis recti (abdominal separation)
  • Sacroiliac joint (SIJ) dysfunction
  • Low back, coccyx, or pelvic pain
  • Pain with intercourse (dyspareunia)
  • Vaginismus
  • Vulvar pain (vulvodynia)
  • Perineal pain
  • Pudendal neuralgia
  • Endometriosis
  • Interstitial cystitis/painful bladder
  • Post pelvic surgery
*other conditions may apply, contact Edge Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation if you have questions.

Interventions Used:

Patient Education: This involves education between the patient and therapist about various strategies to help improve your health including posture, bladder retraining, activity modification, and other aspects related to your condition.

Manual Therapy: This involves a variety of techniques to help with releasing tension in soft tissue, reducing scar adhesions, and/or stretches to the pelvic floor, lumbar, and hip musculature.

Pelvic Floor Strengthening: Have you ever wondered if you are performing a Kegel correctly?  Your therapist can assess your ability to contract your pelvic floor muscles and if weakness or coordination issues are found, can guide you in the proper way to strengthen these muscles.

Biofeedback: Your therapist may use surface EMG (electromyography), a form of biofeedback. This may involve placing some sticky sensors on your body so you and your therapist can get a better idea of how you are coordinating muscle activity in the abdomen or pelvis. Biofeedback means that you will be able to get information about how your muscles are working, and in therapy this is often displayed as graphs or bars on a screen.  An internal sensor for the vaginal or rectal canal may also be used.


Frequently Asked Questions About our Program:

Do I need a referral from a doctor?

It depends on your health insurance policy. We are happy to check your specific benefits for you. After your initial evaluation, your therapist may recommend that you see a medical provider, since some conditions involving the pelvis can require additional medical interventions.

What will we do on my first visit?

First, we will talk about what concerns or symptoms you have. Your therapist will also look over any forms you filled out to learn more about your history. The objective exam may include general movement like bending forward and backward, seeing how you move your body, and specific tests of your joints, muscles, and nerves. For pelvic floor rehabilitation, an assessment of your pelvic muscles internally (through the vaginal or rectal canal) may be valuable. You and your therapist can then discuss exam findings and develop goals for your rehabilitation.

Should I reschedule if I have my period?

It is usually not necessary to reschedule if you are on your cycle, so you are welcome to keep your appointment.

Can you address male pelvic floor diagnoses?

At this time we are unable to offer external or internal pelvic floor evaluations for men.  However, we can provide patient education for symptoms of urinary incontinence/bladder health.