Women’s health conditions can result in chronic pelvic pain and symptoms of stress/urge urinary incontinence that can result in major lifestyle modifications in a women’s life. Stress/Urge incontinence and chronic pelvic pain conditions can be effectively addressed by physical therapy evaluation and treatment.
Women’s health treatments begin with an initial evaluation that includes a complete review of the patient’s medical history and symptoms and a physical exam assessing posture, strength, muscle coordination and functional limitations. An internal assessment of the pelvic floor muscle strength and function may be performed if indicated and patient consents. After the initial evaluation a personalized treatment and exercise program is designed specifically for the patient’s needs.
The goal of physical therapy for patients with stress/urge incontinence is to strengthen the pelvic floor musculature, and through re-education, regain the ability to inhibit inappropriate bladder contractions and promote coordinated contractions of the pelvic floor.
The goal of physical therapy for patients with chronic pelvic pain conditions is to address strength and flexibility deficits with therapeutic exercise, use biofeedback to facilitate relaxation of painfully contracted muscles and manual therapies treating the soft tissue to improve muscle flexibility and reduce muscle adhesions.
Women’s Health Conditions that can be treated with physical therapy include:
Dyspareunia (painful vaginal penetration in the absence of disease)
Vaginismus (inability to have vaginal penetration, spasm of the muscles)
Stress/Urge Urinary Incontinence
Pelvic Floor Muscle Dysfunction
Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome
Pudendal Neuralgia (pain in the nerve leading to the pelvic floor and genitalia)
Vulvodynia (chronic vulvar pain)
Pregnancy Related Pain
Treatment Options for Women’s Health Conditions
Manual therapy techniques are helpful in correcting pelvic asymmetries, reduce muscle spasm, decrease pain and increase soft tissue mobility which are essential in treatment of pelvic pain.
The muscle function of the pelvic floor can be compromised by surgery, pregnancy/childbirth, disease and musculoskeletal injury. Physical therapy evaluation can address strength and flexibility deficits to provide a specific exercise program to improve strength and muscle coordination of the pelvic floor to decrease pain and improve functional activities.
Surface electromyography (SEMG) is used to assess resting muscle tone of the pelvic floor and detect painfully contracted pelvic floor muscles. Use of biofeedback can be very effective to help to re-educate patients to voluntarily relax painfully contracted pelvic floor musculature to normal resting tone.
Intravaginal electrical stimulation is used to facilitate pelvic floor contractions and help patients regain motor control. Use of biofeedback and cueing from the physical therapist will help improve patient’s voluntary control over muscle function.
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“I would highly recommend Carefree Physical Therapy. Everyone is friendly and professional.” JJ