What Does the First Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Visit Look Like?
Pelvic health is a normal thing for many physical therapy to talk about every day. But a lot of others still don’t know what pelvic health physical therapy is. Our goal at MOSAIC is to teach people what pelvic health is sooner rather than later. So, what is pelvic health?
Pelvic health is a type of physical therapy that focuses on the rehabilitation of the pelvic floor muscle group. The pelvic floor muscles help support organs, assist in bowel and bladder control, and contribute to sexual function.
Reasons for Pelvic Health Physical Therapy
- Urine or fecal incontinence
- Difficulty with urination or bowel movements
- Pelvic pain
- Painful intercourse
- Postpartum rehab
- Diastasis Recti Abdominis
- Prenatal orthopedic concerns, such as pelvic girdle pain, sciatica, low back pain, etc.
The list could go on and on! If you are having any issues with anything listed above, please don’t hesitate to reach out to MOSAIC’s pelvic health PT.
Pelvic Health Examination
After doing paperwork and talking about your concerns, your pelvic health PT will provide education of the anatomy of the pelvic floor, go over some of the functions, and explain what may be contributing to your symptoms. Then, the pelvic health PT will complete your physical exam, which can include:
This will see how you are moving when walking, sit to standing, squatting, and more. Your posture and breathing will be assessed and joints including hip, knees, and back will be checked to see how they are moving as well.
Specific Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Testing
The coordination and strength in your core will be assessed. If you have pain, it will be assessed to see where it is coming from. Further examination of your low back, pelvis, SI joint, hip, and more may be necessary.
This is where your PT will determine which tissues are tender. This can occur anywhere around your abdomen, back, pelvis, etc. Assessment of incision sites, such as a C-section scar will occur.
Pelvic Floor Examination
The best way to examine the pelvic floor muscles is to do an internal exam, since those muscles are on the inside of your pelvis! If you don’t feel comfortable, you can always opt out of this examination and have an assessment completed externally. An internal examination will be performed vaginally or rectally, depending on your symptoms. Your pelvic health PT will assess the outside tissues in order to asses the health of the tissues and palpate for tenderness. After that, you will contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles to determine if you have any difficulty with these movements.
With permission, the internal examination will begin. This starts with one gloved and lubricated finger placed into either the vaginal or rectal canal. This will assess if your muscles are tender, and after that, muscle strength, endurance, and coordination tests will be completed. Remember, if you are not ready for this type of examination, other options are available. Or, as you become more comfortable with treatment and your therapist, an internal exam can occur at a later date.
After the examination, it’s homework time! Your PT will go over your individualized treatment plan, provide you with exercises to start with, and answer any questions you may have. Finally, to learn more, check out the APTA’s Pelvic Health patient education resources.