Pelvic pain and dysfunction can be debilitating and isolating. If you are suffering from pelvic pain or incontinence, you are not alone.
- 15% of women and 5-9% of men experience chronic pelvic pain.
- 17% of women and 16% of men experience urinary urgency, need to urinate more frequently, and leakage associated with the urge to urinate.
- 24% of women ages 25-44 and 33% of women ages 45-64 experience urine leakage with coughing, sneezing, and laughing.
- In the elderly, the need for frequent toileting increases fall risk by as much as 26% and bone fracture by as much as 34%.
- Incontinence is the 2nd leading cause of institutionalization in the elderly.
Causes of Pelvic Pain and Dysfunction:
Many patients with urinary, bowel, and/or pelvic pain often have dysfunctional pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles are responsible for bowel and bladder control, as well as sexual functions. Pelvic muscle tightness can cause pain, constipation, and voiding dysfunction. Pelvic muscle weakness can cause urinary and fecal incontinence, and pelvic joint laxity that can contribute to low back, SI joint, and hip pain. There are many causes of pelvic pain and dysfunction. Rarely are the symptoms initiated by a single cause. Structural, visceral, activity-related injuries, and physical trauma can all contribute to the development of pelvic pain and/or dysfunction.
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
Physical therapists work together as a part of a multi-disciplinary team to address pelvic dysfunction. Physical therapists are trained to evaluate and treat joint dysfunction, muscle tightness, weakness or imbalance in muscle groups, and nerve entrapment – which can contribute to pelvic pain and dysfunction. Treatment of pelvic muscle dysfunction is a specialty in the field of physical therapy and the physical therapist completes specific training to treat men and women of all ages with:
- Musculoskeletal Dysfunction (Pubic Symphysis Separation, Sacroiliac Dysfunction, Low Back Pain, Hip Pain)
- Pain with Sex
- Urinary Incontinence
- Fecal Incontinence
- Bladder Pain
- Urinary Urgency
- Chronic Pelvic Pain, Vulvodynia, Vestbulitis
- Male Pelvic Pain
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse (Rectocele, Cystocele, Rectal Prolapse)
- Episiotomy Scar Pain
- Tailbone Pain
- Abdominal Pain and Post-Surgical Adhesions
- Pre/Post Op Management of Prostatectomey
A physical therapist may utilize a variety of treatment techniques selected to address your individual needs including:
- Manual Therapy: Joint and Soft Tissue Mobilization, Scar Mobilization, Trigger Point Release, Strain-Counterstrain Techniques.
- Neuromuscular Retraining: Teaching improved awareness and function of the pelvic muscles.
- Relaxation Training: Improving the flexibility and relaxation of the pelvic muscles.
- Strengthening: Improving muscle strength and joint stability.
- Functional Retraining: Teaching how to use the pelvic muscles in real life activities.
- Dietary Modifications: Identifying and modifying the intake of bladder irritants. Modification of diet to improve bowel function.
- Behavioral Retraining: Improving bladder function, decreasing urgency, and decreasing bladder or bowel frequency.
- Modalities for managing pain, promote healing, and assist with muscle strengthening.
What To Expect on Your First Visit:
- Your visit will be approximately 45 minutes long and will include consultation with your physical therapist.
- Detailed history taking.
- Patient education on related anatomy and functions Patient education on physical therapy evaluation and treatment techniques.
- Consent for treatment.
What To Expect on your Second Visit:
- Subsequent treatment times will be 45-60 minutes.
- An evaluation specific to your condition.
- Initiation of treatment.
What to Wear:
Reference: National Association for Continence