Women's Pelvic Health
Women's Pelvic Health Physical Therapy is an area of physical therapy that specializes in women's unique needs throughout their lives. From the young female athlete, before, during, and after pregnancy, to menopause, women of all ages can benefit from physical therapy intervention.
Physical therapy intervention may include a combination of therapeutic exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. Muscles surrounding the hips and spine are also addressed. Other treatment options may be bladder training, nutritional education, biofeedback, and electrical stimulation. To schedule a complimentary conversation to help identify your pelvic issue, please call our offices at 212.317.1600.
Pregnancy and Postpartum
During pregnancy and postpartum a woman's body experiences many changes that affect their skeletal system. In particular, the increase in hormone levels may cause joints to become loose to prepare for delivery.
Pelvic Physical Therapy can successfully treat joint laxity, along with postural changes and poor body mechanics, low back pain, pelvic pain, sacroiliac dysfunction, sciatica, upper back pain, diastasis recti (abdominal muscle separation) carpal tunnel syndrome, urinary incontinence (involuntary leakage of urine), dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse) and organ prolapse.
Urinary incontinence is involuntary leakage of urine.
Physical therapy intervention may include a combination of therapeutic exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. Muscles surrounding the hips and spine are also addressed. Other treatment options may be bladder training, education on bladder irritants, EMG biofeedback, and electrical stimulation.
Through a variety of techniques, our pelvic physical therapists can successfully treat four types of urinary incontinence.
- Stress Urinary incontinence
- Leakage of urine that occurs during coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercise, and lifting. Leakage occurs when intraabdominal pressure exceeds the urethral closure pressure. A combination of a weak pelvic floor and abdominal muscles contribute to this disorder. A history of low back pain and pelvic pain can also add to these muscles' inhibition and weakness, which can exacerbate this condition.
- Urge Urinary Incontinence
- The leakage of urine associated with a strong urge to urinate. Those suffering from this condition will frequently leak urine during the sound of running water, or as they are trying to open the front door with their key.
- Mixed Urinary Incontinence
- A combination of both stress and urge urinary incontinence. Those suffering from mixed incontinence leak during coughing, sneezing, laughing, and have a strong urge to urinate.
- Functional Incontinence
- When you are functionally limited and, therefore, can not get to the bathroom in time. An example maybe someone who has severe arthritis and moves slowly. She may not be able to remove her clothing fast enough or move very slowly secondary to hip or knee pain and not get to the toilet in time.
Dyspareunia, Interstitial Cystitis (IC), Levator Ani Syndrome, Vulvodynia, Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
In addition to urinary incontinence, a pelvic health physical therapist can treat women suffering from pelvic pain, which can present itself as vaginal pain, pain with intercourse, or pain in the pelvis that radiates to the thighs' front or back. Some women experience burning, vaginal or anal soreness.
Do you have pelvic floor dysfunction?
What to expect during therapy
Our team of pelvic health physical therapists provide a thorough subjective and objective evaluation and develop a treatment program specific to your problems and goals.
Treatments may include one or more of the following: manual therapy to reduce muscle guarding and spasms, joint mobilization, or muscle energy techniques to correct a rotated pelvis, sacroiliac joint, or misaligned cervical, thoracic or lumbar vertebrae.
Specific therapeutic exercises will correct areas of muscle weakness, muscle imbalances, or muscle tightness. Neuro-muscular reeducation is provided to instruct patients on proper posture alignment, spine stabilization, and facilitation techniques for weak muscles such as those in the pelvic floor. Biofeedback is also utilized to re-educate weakness or hypertonus in the pelvic floor muscles.
Depending on your particular dysfunction, specific functional training will be provided geared toward your particular goals. Functional activities may include instructions on proper posture while nursing your infant or body mechanics education to learn how to correctly lift or bath your toddler to eliminate undue stress to your joints. Safely returning to sports once your dysfunction has healed is important if that is one of your goals.
For a woman suffering from urine leakage, functional training may include education on bladder training or foods that may irritate their bladder and cause urgency and frequency.