Millions of Americans suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction, and for most it goes undiagnosed and untreated.The pelvic floor is the center of our physical power and balance.It is made up of muscles and tissues that form a sling from the pubic bone to the tail bone.These muscles work collectively to support the abdominal and pelvic organs that help control baldder, bowel and sexual activity.If any of these muscles are tight and/or weak, they can cause an abnormal pull on the pelvic bones which can lead to an array of symptoms and pain in the pelvic region, low back, and even legs or groin area.
There are four main causes of pelvic floor dysfunction: inflammation, infection, trauma and muscle dysfunction.Chronic inflammation in any of the pelvic organs, such as endometriosis, chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, fibroids, and interstitial cystitis can cause a disorder in the pelvic floor.Urinary tract, yeast, or bacterial infections are also triggers for pelvic floor dysfunction.Trauma from a fall or surgery (hysterectomy, C-section) can leave pelvic muscles weak and injured.Other aggravating factors that can contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction by creating muscle imbalances or triggering muscle spasms are poor posture, weak abdominal and trunk muscles, heavy lifting, wearing tight clothing, and performing exercises incorrectly.
Common signs of pelvic floor problems include:
Leaking urine when exercising, coughing or sneezing
Urgency in going to the bathroom
Frequently going to the bathroom
Difficulty emptying the bladder and/or bowel
Pain or burning in the pelvic area or low back
Pain during or after sexual activity
How can physical therapy help? Physical Therapy will address the cause of pelvic pain and restore normal muscle function.Treatment for pelvic floor dysfunction is unique and different for each individual, depending on the underlying cause of the pain and dysfunction.
Treatment will include:
- Pain modalities to stimulate blood flow and decrease inflammation and pain
- Instruction in diaphragmatic breathing and relaxation techniques to decrease muscle tension
- Deep tissue massage and myofascial release techniques to break up adhesions and abnormal tension in the muscle and underlying fascia.Fascia is a connective tissue that surrounds organs and muscles.When tight, it can create an abnormal pull on the muscle or organ causing pain
- Trunk, core and lower extremity strengthening, stabilization, and stretching exercises to improve posture and restore proper pelvic alignment
- Cold laser/low level laser therapy to stimulate cellular growth and improve oxygen and blood flow
- Patient education in diet and lifestyle modifications, such as: decreasing sugar and processed food intake which leads to inflammation, eating whole organic fruits, vegetable, and pseudograins to give the body the proper nutrients to stimulate healing, and learning effective methods to decrease stress all of which can contribute to the body’s pain cycle
Whether symptoms just started or are chronic, physical therapy can help decrease inflammation, improve muscle strength, normalize muscle tone and allow you to return to a full and pain free active life style!
If you or anyone you know experiences any of these symptoms, please contact our office to schedule an evaluation with Milana Polishuk.