What is Pelvic Health Physiotherapy

The pelvis is a large bony structure located between the torso and the legs. It is formed by the sacrum and coccyx in the back, and by a pair of hips bones on either side that connect to the front by cartilage called the pubic symphysis. The pelvis is lined with a group of muscles called the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles work together silently to support the pelvic organs and facilitate bowel, bladder, and sexual function. When there is a disturbance in these muscles, pain and dysfunction can occur.

A physiotherapist specialized in treating pelvic floor dysfunction can properly identify issues in the pelvic floor and help alleviate symptoms and improve body function through hands on manipulation, exercise prescription, and education. A pelvic heath physiotherapist can treat the following conditions:

Women’s Pelvic Health

  • Constipation
  • Coccydynia
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Dyspareunia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Pelvic girdle pain
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Pregnancy related low back pain
  • Rectus diastasis
  • SI joint and hip dysfunction
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Vaginismus
  • Vulvodynia

Men’s Pelvic Health:

  • Chronic prostatitis
  • Constipation
  • Coccydynia
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction following post-prostatectomy/radiotherapy
  • SI joint and hip dysfunction
  • Urinary incontinence

What to expect:

Your first visit to the clinic will include a one-on- one initial assessment and treatment with a trained pelvic health physiotherapist. Your physiotherapist will discuss with you your primary concern and treatment goals. A physical examination will begin with an assessment of the low back, pelvis, and abdominal area. If appropriate, an internal assessment will follow to properly assess the integrity and function of the pelvic floor muscles. The initial assessment usually takes one hour and will provide plenty of time for questions to ensure that you have a good understanding of your condition and your treatment plan.

Based on your exam findings, your therapist will develop a treatment program specific for you. Treatment may include education about your condition, diet, pain and stress management; exercise prescription; tissue and joint manipulation; and treatment modalities such as TENS, muscle stimulation, and Biofeedback.

Why may an internal exam be indicated?

The pelvic floor muscles are hidden within the pelvis and are unable to be seen or felt from the outside. An internal exam is important to get a true understanding of how the pelvic floor muscles feel and function. A thorough exam of the area in question provides your physiotherapist with an accurate picture of you and helps them develop a treatment plan that is specific to your needs in order to get you feeling better, faster!

What is biofeedback?

Biofeedback is a technique that allows you to learn how to control your body’s functions by receiving information about your muscles’ performance when you are doing an exercise. Biofeedback units use an electrical sensor to read and record your muscles’ activity at rest and when doing an exercise (kegel). Research has shown that biofeedback can be used to improve the effectiveness of pelvic floor muscle exercises and help restore pelvic floor function.

Your physiotherapist will determine if biofeedback is appropriate for you. Should your treatment program include biofeedback, your physiotherapist will assist you with set up and teach you how to use the biofeedback unit at home when doing your exercises.

Biofeedback units can be rented for a base fee.

What is muscle stimulation?

Muscle stimulation is a form of electrical therapy uses electrical impulses to stimulate a muscle contraction. This form of electrical therapy seeks to activate and strengthen weak muscles.

Your physiotherapist will determine if muscle stimulation is appropriate for you. Should your treatment program include muscle stimulation, your physiotherapist will assist you with set up and teach you how to use the muscle stimulation unit at home when doing your exercises.

Muscle stimulation units can be rented for a base fee.

What is TENS?

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a form of therapy that uses low-voltage electrical current for pain relief.

Your physiotherapist will determine if TENS is appropriate for you. Should your treatment program include TENS, your physiotherapist will assist you with set up and teach you how to use the TENS unit at home.

TENS units can be rented for a base fee.