What To Expect From a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist
Have you ever sneezed and peed yourself? Or jump roped and peed a little? Have you had painful sex? Or experienced constant lower body pain or pelvic pain? If you answered no to all of things, good on ya! I had never experienced any of these things before pregnancy and before giving birth, but having an organ and human grown inside you then exit your body with vengeance…well that changes some things. And that’s where the pelvic floor physical therapist comes in handy!
I began seeing a pelvic floor PT about halfway through my pregnancy since I was experiencing crippling sciatica. I could barely walk somedays because of the shooting pain. But through that first visit, I learned SO MUCH MORE about my body, how to support my growing belly and reduce my risk of severe diastasis recti, how to prepare for an unmedicated birth, and how to start my recovery after birth. My pelvic floor PT was my lifeline during and after birth, and helped ease my mind on so many things. Without her, I would have felt so lost after birth and wouldn’t have known what was or wasn’t normal.
So what the hell is a pelvic floor PT?
A pelvic floor PT is a physical therapist that can help restore a higher level of mobility, movement, and healthy function. In cases of pain or discomfort, they will work to identify muscle trigger points and tight connective tissues that may be causing the problem.
Think about it this way – say you broke your leg. After you got your cast off, you would begin physical therapy to rebuild and repair that area from the ground up. It’s no different with the pelvic floor. Injuries can occur from pregnancy, from simply too tight of muscles, from scar tissue, and more.
And yes, men are part of this group, as well. They also have a pelvic floor. I think most people think of pelvic floor PT as something for women, but men’s pelvic floor issues can lead to groin pain, problems with ejaculation, or erectile dysfunction. I even have a friend who is a pelvic floor PT and she often sees more men than women!
What are some reasons to see a pelvic floor PT?
Lower back pain
What can cause pelvic floor dysfunction?
Strain on muscles and tissues when giving birth (especially during long labor)
Traumatic injuries to the pelvic area (like a car accident)
High-impact exercise (like running)
Overuse of pelvic muscles (frequent urination or bowel movements or chronic straining)
Aging and menopause
What to expect at a pelvic PT visit:
When you first meet with a pelvic floor PT, there will be in depth questions of medical history and current issues. The PT with evaluate the different symptoms and then a physical examination will take place. This physical examination will often be external, but the internal exam will occur, as well. The internal examination will help different pelvic strength, muscle tightness, scar tissue, and anything else that may be leading to the symptoms the person is experiencing.
Every pelvic floor PT is different and every patient is different, but some of the modalities that a PT will use include:
Scar tissue release
Trigger point release
Pelvic floor exercises
Teaching how to properly engage and relax the pelvic floor
My own personal experience:
Throughout my pregnancy, I saw my pelvic floor PT on 5 separate occasions, mostly because I was dealing with a lot of pain. Throughout those visits, she taught me how to engage and relax my pelvic floor, gave me many different exercises and ways to help improve my sciatica, taught me stretches and other types of prep for birth, and helped me prepare myself for postpartum care.
Then once I gave birth, I saw her on 4 separate occasions, the first being 3 weeks after birth. She helped me with ways to keep my body healthy while breastfeeding, talked through sex (for the future, I had zero intention of rushing that), dealing with hemorrhoids, abdominal strengthening, and more. With every visit, she gave me more tools to help me continue to progress as my body healed from an absolutely insane experience. If you want to hear my full experience of what each visit looked like and tools she put in place for my own recovery, check out the video below!
Pelvic floor PT is life changing. No matter if you’ve had children or not, they can help rebuild a healthier and stronger pelvic floor so ALL of your activities are more enjoyable. No more peeing when you laugh, no more painful sex, no more constipation, no more bullsh*t. A pelvic floor PT is here to make your whole life more enjoyable. I know mine did!
Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.
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