Pelvic floor physiotherapy, or pelvic physiotherapy as it is also known, involves the assessment and treatment of various conditions that affect the pelvic floor in both men and women.
The pelvic floor includes a group of muscles, nerves, ligaments, and fascia located at the bottom of the pelvis, and plays an important role in the body by providing support for many internal organs, including the bladder and uterus. These muscles play a major role in bladder control and pelvic support. When these muscles are not functioning well, incontinence and pain can occur. When pelvic floor muscles are tight and/or weak, they can also place stress on the joints of your back and hips, causing low back and/or hip pain.
Causes of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Pelvic floor dysfunction can be caused by either weak pelvic floor muscles (hypotonicity), or tight pelvic floor muscles (hypertonicity).
Hypotonicity (weak muscles) can contribute to:
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Sexual pain
- Pregnancy related pain
Hypertonicity (tight muscles) can contribute to:
- Urinary frequency, urgency, hesitancy, stopping and starting of the urine stream, painful urination, or incomplete emptying
- Constipation, straining, pain during or after bowel movements
- Unexplained pain in your low back, pelvic region, hips, genital area, or rectum
- Pain during or after intercourse, orgasm, or sexual stimulation
- Uncoordinated muscle contractions causing the pelvic floor muscles to spasm
Pelvic floor physiotherapy involves both internal and external examinations, completed by a trained pelvic physiotherapist, to provide a thorough assessment of the joints and tissues affecting the pelvic floor. In order to accurately assess the structures of the pelvic floor, assess ones ability to contract and relax muscles, and identify the affected tissues, an internal examination of such structures is often required. Internal muscle function, muscle tightness, strength and endurance, cannot be properly assessed and/or treated from an external examination only.
Common Pelvic Floor Conditions
- Stress and/or Urge Incontinence
- Fecal Incontinence
- Post-Partum Pain
- Pudendal Neuralgia
- Bladder Pain Syndrome
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Organ Prolapse
- General Pelvic Pain
Please note that a physician’s referral is not required for Pelvic Physiotherapy. However, some insurance companies do require written medical referrals.