Pain in the pelvis, lower abdominal, and vaginal/rectal area can come from various injuries like Tailbone fractures, falls, or inflammatory conditions like Endometriosis, Irritable bowel and painful bladder.
If your shoulder or knee hurts, you see a physical therapist to treat the bones, muscles, nerves, fascia, and ligaments for some relief. Similarly, there are bones muscles, nerves, fascia, and ligaments in your pelvis and abdomen that experience substantial adaptations and cause pain.
Pelvic health physical therapists work with the pelvis, spine, and abdomen. They evaluate the alignment, musculature, fascial systems, and movement patterns in the pelvis and body for issues that activate your pain and decrease your quality of life.
From alleviating pelvic floor dysfunction to improving your sex life, here are 4 things pelvic physical therapy can do for you:
- Decrease pain with movement
The pelvis is lined with muscles called the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor steadies the bony outlet of the pelvis, supports the organs of the pelvis, and stabilizes lower back and hips. If you have pelvic pain with sitting, standing, walking, jumping or working out, physical therapy can help alleviate the pain. Frequent causes of this pain are pelvic and tailbone misalignment, weak core muscles, tight pelvic floor, and abdominal muscles. Physical therapy can address all of these to help you return to your lifestyle.
- Avoid Leaky bladder
The pelvic floor forms a sling shape that connects the front, back, and sidewall of the pelvis. It also forms the openings for bladder and rectum and assists in control of urination and bowel movement. Weak or tight pelvic floor muscles can cause poor bladder control, leaking and frequent urge. The vagina, rectum, and urethra have muscular connections that often get affected after giving birth. Pelvic health physical therapy helps you normalize pelvic floor dysfunction with a number of different interventions that will encourage you to re-coordinate the pelvic floor.
- Help sex to be less painful
Many women experience pain with sex but do not seek help. While painful sex can have many causes, a frequent culprit is the tight, inflamed or “guarding” pelvic floor. In order to experience less painful sex, it is important that the muscles inside the pelvic floor are elongated, not in shortened, and that nothing else in the pelvis is sending painful messages during sex. Injuries and inflammation create an environment of inflammation, scar tissue, and adhesions within the pelvic and abdominal cavity. These pelvic insults encourage the formation of myofascial trigger points within the pelvic floor, hip, and back muscles and abdomen. They also spasm and thicken the muscles inside the pelvis as they respond to the tension patterns. Pelvic floor physical therapy can restore the normal flexibility of these muscles and help you have a normal sex life.
- Treat other causes of pain
Other causes of pelvic pain include scar tissue from old surgeries, irritates bladder muscles, inflamed abdominal living due to frequent infections, etc. One of the common complaints from scar tissue is bloating. Tightness in the pelvic floor may contribute to bloating because the floor cannot provide the support the way in which it was designed and thus the belly balloons out. Physical therapy can help relax that protective response. It also can help work the lymphatic system and venous return to encourage inflammation to be absorbed.