Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy

What is pelvic floor physiotherapy?

Pelvic health physiotherapy is a specialized area of physiotherapy that addresses urinary/fecal incontinence as well as a variety of sources of pelvic pain and dysfunction in both men and women. Through the use of both internal and external examination, pelvic floor dysfunction can be diagnosed by specially trained doctors and physiotherapists.

A pelvic floor physiotherapist will assess your ability to contract and relax the pelvic floor musculature. The lower back, hips and sacroiliac joints are also examined as they potentially stress the pelvic floor. Connective tissue restrictions of the thighs, abdomen, groin and low back also play a critical role in the development of pelvic pain.

What conditions do we treat?

Conditions commonly treated by pelvic floor therapists include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Stress urinary incontinence
  • Urge urinary incontinence
  • Mixed urinary incontinence
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Sacroiliac dysfunction
  • Constipation
  • Rectus diastasis
  • Pelvic pain

Did you know?

Internationally, pelvic floor physiotherapy is considered an important component of pre- and post-partum care. In France, it is customary for every woman who undergoes a vaginal delivery to see a physiotherapist as part of her post-partum recovery process. The muscles are massaged, lengthened, stretched and strengthened to prevent the weakness that can lead to incontinence, or the tightness which can result from a tear or episiotomy. These dysfunctions can contribute to pain, discomfort, and limitations in function.

What does the evidence say?

In 2010, the Cochrane Collaboration published a review, which concluded that there is Level I/ Grade A evidence (the strongest level of evidence available) for pelvic floor strengthening for urge and stress incontinence. The Cochrane Collaboration recommended that pelvic floor strengthening should be taught by a physiotherapist using internal assessment and treatment techniques, and that this treatment should be the first line of defense for urge and stress incontinence. Treatment for stress, urge and mixed urinary incontinence available from pelvic floor physiotherapists should be attempted before surgical intervention is considered.

Importance of an internal exam

During a typical physiotherapy visit, the therapist assesses movement and strength and feels the affected area for tenderness/abnormal muscle tone prior to treatment and prescription of exercise. A pelvic floor assessment requires an internal exam in order to feel the majority of our pelvic floor muscles as they are hidden within the pelvis. Treating any other part of the body without feeling for muscle tightness/weakness and assessing joint movement would be completely unacceptable. A proper examination of the pelvic floor will help determine the source of an individualís discomfort and provide the most appropriate treatment to get them better faster.

To schedule a pelvic floor assessment, please call 705.734.3340.

For more information, please visit the Pelvic Health Solutions website.