Many muscles lie in the abdomen and pelvic floor, some deep and some superficial. Throughout the course of lives, many changes occur to these muscles. We have babies and our abdomens stretch and weaken, our pelvic floor muscles have to bear extra weight when we are pregnant, and the birthing process, whether it is vaginal or c-section, is traumatic to our bodies. Nerves can be injured and over strained during delivery, particularly the pudendal nerve. This nerve supplies our sensation to our pelvic floor. Irritated it makes us painful, damaged can make us lose sensation. Both can be devastating to our physical and emotional well-being and to our relationships with our loved ones. Intercourse may become painful if muscles in the pelvic floor are tense and restricted. Ligaments supporting our uterus, bladder, and colon can also become tight, restricted on one side, or over-stretched during pregnancy, birth, surgeries, or after injury. These ligaments and organs can be assessed by palpation (feeling them) and treated using a manual therapy approach. Organ specific fascial mobilization may help bladder spasms, urgency, incontinence, interstitial cystitis, painful menses, pain related to endometriosis, and constipation to name a few. It may even help with infertility if the reasons are from fascial (soft tissue) restrictions around the fallopian tubes.
Physical Therapy specific for pelvic issues and women’s health diagnoses addresses the cause of the problem. An intense, comprehensive initial evaluation is performed using a variety of assessment tools. More information can be found in our FACTS section.
Visit www.WomensHealthAPTA.org for more information on women’s health and pelvic therapy.