Are you feeling anxious about your upcoming pelvic floor therapy appointment? It’s understandable to feel a bit nervous when it comes to discussing intimate areas of your body, but rest assured that your physiotherapist is there to help and support you.
Welcome to the world of pelvic floor physiotherapy! If you’re reading this article on this page, your pelvis is likely sending you signs that something isn’t quite right.
This can be a scary place to be – and yet, reaching out for help is a brave thing to do. You should feel proud of yourself for taking this step!
In this article, we’ll walk you through what to expect at your appointment so that you can feel more confident and prepared.
What to expect at your pelvic floor therapy appointment?
At a pelvic floor physiotherapy appointment, you will work together with the therapist to understand what might be going on with your pelvic health and how best to treat it.
The focus of pelvic floor therapy will always be to empower you to feel more in control of your body so that you can address your pelvic floor disorders effectively and live on your terms.
The focus of pelvic floor therapy appointments
At your initial pelvic floor therapy appointment, you’ll meet with a physical therapist who specializes in treating issues related to the pelvic floor muscles.
During the first appointment, the therapist will assess your symptoms and develop an individualized treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Pelvic therapists use many tools to help improve the pelvic floor muscles’ function, including prescription exercise and manual therapy techniques such as myofascial release, trigger point release and joint mobility exercises.
They may use biofeedback or electrical stimulation modalities depending on what is best suited for your particular issue. By regularly engaging in these treatments, you can restore normal muscle tone and achieve pain reduction or discomfort associated with pelvic floor dysfunction.
With appropriate care from a skilled team of healthcare professionals like pelvic health therapists, it is possible to find relief from even the most stubborn pelvic issues.
It’s important to remember that every person’s journey is unique, and the goal is always to create a personalized treatment program that works best for you!
Let’s take a look at how you can prepare and get ready for your pelvic therapy appointments…
Preparing for your appointment
Preparing for your initial visit helps ensure things run smoothly; read on to learn how best to prepare for your upcoming appointment!
To fully benefit from this type of therapy, it is important to prepare for each appointment carefully:
- Bring your health insurance or benefits card and any relevant documents so you know what is covered by insurance.
- Compile a list of medications and other treatments you are receiving.
- If applicable, obtain a referral from another physician before the appointment; however, this may not be necessary to see a pelvic health physiotherapist.
- Dress comfortably in clothing that allows a full range of motion without restricting movement in your legs or groin area.
- Come prepared with questions or concerns about your symptoms and treatment plan to discuss with the physical therapist during your assessment.
Understanding the assessment and treatment sessions
In order to truly appreciate and make the most of this specialized therapeutic approach, it’s essential to understand the various stages of assessment and treatment sessions.
The below information will shed light on the intricacies of pelvic therapy appointments, demystifying the process for both first-time patients and seasoned veterans.
By comprehending the evaluation techniques and treatment modalities employed by skilled practitioners, patients can develop a deeper connection with their own bodies and actively participate in their healing journey.
So, let’s understand the process of assessment and treatment sessions that are pivotal in restoring balance and harmony within the pelvic region.
Obtaining patient history
Obtaining patient history through conversation and observation helps the therapist determine how best to create an effective strategy for improving the overall quality of life.
When taking a patient history, it is important to consider all factors contributing to the symptoms being experienced. This includes questions about your lifestyle, diet and exercise habits, past medical history, sexual intercourse, current medications or supplements, and any pelvic health issues you may have.
Questions may include around constipation or urinary urgency/frequency, which can indicate how severe your symptoms are.
This helps the therapists assess and offer individualized treatment plans based on your specific needs and pelvic floor concerns.
Next up: posture and physical examination! When assessing posture and body mechanics during movements like walking and standing, we gain insight into how postural alignment might impact the pelvic health concerns that brought them in initially.
Physical examinations are like a gateway to the world of pelvic floor physiotherapy – an opportunity to unlock potential hidden for far too long that could affect pelvic floor function.
The importance of physical examination, including assessing the core muscles, abdominal muscles and posture analysis in a pelvic floor therapy appointment cannot be overstated.
This comprehensive assessment involving an external exam, physical exam and pelvic floor exam allows physiotherapists to identify potential weaknesses, imbalances, and dysfunctions within the musculoskeletal system, specifically targeting the pelvic floor muscles.
By evaluating the posture, a trained professional can detect deviations, muscle imbalances, and compensatory patterns that may contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction.
Such an examination provides critical insights for developing individualized treatment plans, ultimately improving patient outcomes. By addressing postural issues and their impact on the pelvic floor, physiotherapists can relieve pain and optimize muscle function for those suffering from pelvic floor disorders.
Pelvic floor internal examination
Now that we’ve discussed posture and physical examination, let’s take a look at the next step in your pelvic floor physiotherapy journey – an internal exam of the pelvic floor.
An internal exam is a common procedure for pelvic floor therapists to assess whether your pelvic floor muscles have an appropriate amount of tone, strength and endurance. This pelvic floor examination can be done at different times during treatment.
It may involve palpation, and digital rectal or vaginal examination, depending on the symptoms you present with, and the treatment will vary based on the findings. This won’t take too long as no stirrups or speculums are used during the process – just gentle touch from your therapist!
This assessment is completely optional; it is up to you if you want to proceed. However, this type of evaluation can provide the therapist with invaluable insight into your symptoms so that they can identify and create exercises and strategies that might work best for you and for your pelvic floor health.
At any rate, it is important that a thorough assessment from a qualified professional be completed before deciding on an effective course of treatment for individuals experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction due to muscle tone issues.
With all of these pieces in place, you and your therapist can now move on to developing your pelvic floor therapy plan – ensuring that it meets your needs while helping restore freedom in movement!
Creating a treatment plan for your pelvic floor therapy
Once the therapist has discussed the findings from your evaluation, they will develop personalized treatment options that meet your goals.
This plan may involve combining manual therapy, exercises, and lifestyle changes like hydration and nutrition. You will be equipped with all the knowledge and skills necessary to manage any discomfort or dysfunction in the future.
Your therapist will also monitor progress throughout treatment, adjusting the plan accordingly based on how you’re responding.
The goal is for you to gain control over your pelvic health so that it no longer limits your activities and participation in life.
With diligent effort and dedication to self-care practices, you can find relief from pain or other symptoms associated with pelvic floor dysfunction!
Now that we’ve discussed how many sessions to expect during pelvic floor physical therapy let’s explore what happens after your appointment.
What happens following a pelvic floor physical therapy session?
It can be daunting to think about starting pelvic floor physical therapy, but the results you can achieve make it worth it. With proper treatment and follow-up care, most people experience relief from their symptoms in just a few sessions.
That said, it’s important to remember that pelvic floor physical therapy isn’t always a one-time thing; for many people, regular maintenance is needed to keep their condition under control.
So what happens after your appointment?
First of all, your therapist will likely have given you some stretches or exercises to do at home between appointments. It’s essential that you stick with these so that your body gets used to them and starts responding positively.
Your therapist may also advise you on how to adjust certain activities or postures so as not to aggravate any existing issues or provoke new ones – following this advice carefully is key!
Additionally, if they felt vaginal dilators would help speed up progress (or maintain the gains), don’t forget to use those regularly.
Lastly, returning for follow-up appointments with your physiotherapist will allow them to monitor progress and modify the plan accordingly.
Together, these steps will ensure maximum success and long-term relief from pelvic issues, pain and discomfort.
Ways to support your recovery process
At your pelvic floor physical therapy appointment, you can take an active role in assisting with your recovery. Here are some tips for taking control of your health and well-being:
- Take time to practice the exercises prescribed by your physical therapist regularly.
- Do Kegel exercises or pelvic floor exercises according to instructions.
- Avoid straining during urination or bowel movements.
- Incorporate a healthy lifestyle into your daily routine – this includes proper nutrition, getting enough sleep, exercise, yoga and other forms of mind-body practices like relaxation techniques, deep breathing, positive thinking and more.
- A warm bath is also beneficial in relaxing the muscles and increasing circulation.
- Home use of devices recommended by the therapist, such as electrical stimulators, dilators or vaginal cones, should be done as instructed.
- Self-massage can also be helpful if done correctly, as taught by the therapist.
Remember that these issues don’t have to limit you from living a life filled with joy and fulfillment. Pelvic therapists strive to create an environment where you feel comfortable discussing any hesitations or anxieties about treatment without feeling judged or embarrassed so that you can work together toward achieving better results for your overall health and well-being!
With this knowledge, we can now discuss ‘how many pelvic floor therapy appointment sessions to expect at your appointment.
How many sessions to expect
It’s important to consider this an ongoing process, not a one-time treatment.
Depending on the severity of your condition and any underlying factors that may be causing it, you should plan for at least six to eight sessions before experiencing relief.
Initial sessions usually last around an hour, and follow-up sessions can last anywhere between 30 min to 45 min.
During each session, your physiotherapist will assess your progress and modify your approach accordingly.
They will also provide advice about lifestyle changes, exercises or stretches that can help relieve symptoms in-between visits.
This is designed to get you back into action as soon as possible!
Positive results are achievable with consistent effort and dedication from both you and your physiotherapist.
It is important to understand that each patient will have different needs based on their condition; therefore, knowing how many sessions you should expect depends entirely on what you need specifically for recovery.
Now that we’ve discussed how many sessions to expect during pelvic floor physical therapy let’s explore what conditions the pelvic floor therapy address and the treatment techniques that they use.
Pelvic floor therapy: What conditions does it address?
Our pelvic floor is the foundation of our health. It’s a complex group of muscles and tissues that support our internal organs and control essential functions like urination, defecation, childbirth, sexual function, and core stability.
When these structures become weakened or dysfunctional due to injury or illness, it can cause many different pelvic floor muscle dysfunction such as incontinence, organ prolapse, chronic pain, painful intercourse and other issues.
Pelvic floor muscle tone disorders
Pelvic floor muscle tone disorders refer to the presence of either too much or too little tension in these muscles.
Imagine a guitar string that is either too tight or too loose. It won’t produce the right sound when plucked and can even cause pain to the musician’s fingers. Similarly, having pelvic floor muscles with either too little or too much tone can lead to various disorders.
If there is too little tone, this can affect bladder function and increase the risk of urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
On the other hand, too much tone can result in difficulty urinating, chronic constipation, as well as sexual dysfunction and chronic pelvic pain.
Let’s look at when you might need pelvic floor physical therapy.
Conditions and situations that may benefit from pelvic floor therapy
Several conditions and situations may benefit from pelvic floor rehabilitation, including urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, constipation, sexual dysfunction, pelvic organ prolpase, pregnancy-related issues and postpartum conditions.
Individuals undergoing surgery or radiation treatment in the pelvic area may also benefit from pelvic floor therapy appointments.
By seeking professional help with your symptoms, you are taking an important step toward restoring your health, balance and strength.
Receiving quality care from a specially trained therapist allows recovery to unfold more quickly than trying on your own without proper guidance and support.
Next, let’s talk about some of the specific exercises and treatment techniques that can help improve pelvic floor function.
Pelvic floor therapy exercises and treatment techniques
When it comes to relieving pelvic floor issues, there are a variety of treatments and techniques that can help.
Pelvic floor physical therapy addresses high-tone issues by releasing tight tissues, restoring mobility to the pelvic muscles, and providing manual therapy that helps relax these areas.
With low tone issues, physical therapy aims to promote recovery within the tissue while improving the coordination and strength of the muscles so they can work together in harmony with one another.
Pelvic exercises can help relax tight muscles and gain better control over muscle contractions.
You may find some relief by utilizing manual therapies such as myofascial release or trigger point deactivation used by the therapist to restore normal movement patterns while reducing pain and restoring balance in the body.
Manual therapy technique and exercise for pelvic floor
Now that you know more about pelvic floor therapy exercises and treatment techniques, let’s discuss manual therapy. These are often used to complement the physical exercise program prescribed by your physiotherapist.
Manual therapeutic techniques can help reduce pain, improve mobility, increase muscle strength and endurance, and restore normal movement patterns in pelvic muscles. Here are some of the manual therapies commonly used in pelvic floor therapy:
- Manual techniques: involve hands-on treatments such as joint mobilization, visceral mobilization, soft tissue manipulation, and stretching.
- Connective Tissue Release (CTR): CTR is a form of massage that helps to release tightness or adhesions in muscles and connective tissue, which may occur with chronic injuries or poor posture habits.
- Massage: Massage can be helpful for relaxation purposes and help manage inflammation after an injury or surgery.
- Internal pelvic floor treatment: Manual therapy for pelvic floor muscles involves a hands-on approach to treating dysfunction and pain in the pelvic region. It is performed by a licensed physical therapist trained to use their hands to manipulate the soft tissues and muscles of the pelvic floor. The therapist can identify areas of tightness, weakness or muscle pain and apply pressure or stretching techniques to alleviate these issues. Manual therapy can be an effective treatment for a range of pelvic floor disorders, including high and low-tone disorders.
The role of a pelvic floor physiotherapist is to provide effective treatments, exercises, and advice specific to each patient’s condition to aid in their recovery. Monitoring progress and continuing treatment accordingly is essential to ensure maximum benefit from therapy sessions.
It is important to note that patients play an integral role in their own healing journey and can achieve a pain-free life with commitment and dedication. The therapist’s job is to guide the patient through this process.
Cynthia Pathipati – Registered Physiotherapist
Cynthia Pathipati completed her bachelor’s in physiotherapy and is a qualified Registered Physiotherapist in good standing with the College of Physiotherapists of BC with more than 15 yrs of experience. She has Post-Graduate Credentials and Certifications as well as extensive knowledge experience in treating pelvic floor, orthopedic, neurological, vestibular and pain conditions.