What EXACTLY does a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist do?
If you googled physiotherapy, I’m certain the words ‘sports’ and ‘massage’ would pop up. That was exactly my opinion of Physiotherapy before I started my studies.
I’d like to think that everybody knows what we do, but for those of you who don’t, here’s the easiest description that I could think of.
Physiotherapists use our clinical reasoning (which I call my detective skills) to assess and diagnose a large variety of conditions and movement dysfunction. Once we figured out the source of the problem (the prime suspect), we use different ‘tools’ in our ‘tool box’ to manage and treat it.
For Instance, if you came to us with neck pain, we would then figure out where its coming from and treat it using different techniques. On that note, I feel that it is my job to inform you that massage is not the ONLY tool in our imaginary tool box. We have many, MANY techniques that we can use.
Once the pain is gone (or at least manageable), we then try to empower you with ‘tools’ of your own so that you can manage the symptoms yourself. This may include simple advice like using heat or cold appropriately, exercise or stretches.
Postural awareness is another self-management tool we give so that you don’t keep looking down at your phone/laptop or continue sleeping on that terrible pillow and wondering why your neck is still hurting.
Just like any other profession, physiotherapists can specialize in a certain field like sports, Orthopedics or even animal physiotherapy. Whatever the issue, I’m sure a physiotherapist can assist or for the very least, point you in the right direction if they can’t.
So now back to the ACTUAL question at hand…
What is a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist?
If you hadn’t thought about it before, the muscles of the pelvic floor behave like any other muscle in the body. It can become weak or it can tense up. Some pelvic conditions that women suffer from can aggravate this. It is then up to the therapist to use their ‘detective skills’ to figure out what the issues are and address them.
So you see, it’s the same general role of a physiotherapist but just in a more…intimate area of the body.
What does the assessment entail?
The initial session would include a background interview in which we will ask important questions regarding your current symptoms, your past medical history and your social history. The questions may get a little more intimate when we start delving into your pee, poo and sexual habits.
Don’t be nervous or embarrassed at this point!! The therapist is not there to judge you. They are human, just like you. In fact, the more information you give, the better they can assist you.
In some cases, an internal assessment will be done. I know this thought might scare some of you, but it can offer us A LOT of information, especially how well your pelvic floor is working.
On the bright side, there may be exceptions to the internal assessment, particularly when dealing with children, virgins and pregnant women. But do remember that every situation is different, and your physiotherapist will discuss this with you before the examination.
Conditions we treat
- Bladder disorders
- Bowel disorders
- Pelvic pain
- Pelvic floor dysfunction
- Pregnancy (Musculoskeletal pain, Exercise, Pre- and Antenatal Care)
- Pain brought on by breastfeeding (Cracked nipples, Engorgement)
- Abdominal Diastasis Recti (separation of the abdomen)
- Pre and Post Pelvic Surgery (Gynaecological, Urological and Colorectal)
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse (Pre and Post-Surgical)
And if your Physiotherapist is qualified then they may also treat men’s health disorders such as:
- Erectile and sexual dysfunction
- Pelvic pain
- Other conditions such as Pyronies Disease
Why should I know what a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist does?
Most pelvic conditions may be unnecessarily left untreated. In some instances, symptoms may even worsen and reach a point where it starts affecting your work, social and sex life.
Whether it’s due to shame, embarrassment, family/societal opinions or even if you think your symptoms are a normal part of life, just know that you no longer have to suffer in silence.
Help is out there.
Know any women in your life that may need a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist?
Let’s create some awareness. Like and Share.