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What is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?

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What is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapists with training in pelvic health (or the ‘pelvic floor’) are highly trained at assessing and treating pain and dysfunction associated with the pelvic region.  Physiotherapists practicing in this area can help with a many different conditions including incontinence, prolapse, low back pain and pelvic pain.

A pelvic health physiotherapist should be the first line of defense for stress, urge and mixed incontinence in women (Cochrane, 2010).  In some countries, a pelvic health physiotherapist is part of the public healthcare pathway for every woman prenatal and postnatal. Unfortunately Canada is not one of these countries (yet). There is also a growing body of evidence suggesting that pelvic floor dysfunction is strongly associated with low back pain. Many physiotherapists are finding that unsuccessfully treated low back pain could be due to pelvic floor dysfunction.

How can pelvic floor physiotherapy help me?

There are many situations where seeing a pelvic health physiotherapist may be beneficial.  This includes but is not limited to:

  • Urinary urgency
  • Nocturia (waking at night repeatedly to urinate)
  • Constipation
  • Urinary frequency
  • Incontinence
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Chronic low back pain
  • Chronic hip pain
  • Uterine prolapse
  • Pudendal neuralgia
  • Pre- and post-partum care
  • and much more…

What does a pelvic floor physiotherapist do?

A pelvic health physiotherapist can perform internal and external exams of the pelvic floor muscles, nerves and connective tissues.  After determining the cause of your issue, the physiotherapist can prescribe exercises and perform manual therapy techniques to help correct the issue.

Internal exams:  An internal exam an integral part of a pelvic floor examination.  To receive an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment, an internal exam is absolutely necessary and is considered the gold standard of care.

Manual therapy:  In this context, manual therapy refers to “hands-on” treatment to your soft tissues and joints.  Many different treatment techniques fall into this category including muscle release techniques, joint mobilizations and joint manipulations.

  1. Pelvic Health Solutions (2019).  What is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy. URL:  http://pelvichealthsolutions.ca/for-the-patient/what-is-pelvic-floor-physiotherapy/.  Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  2. Women’s Health Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (2019).  URL: https://www.womenshealthcpa.com/.  Retrieved January 30, 2019.

Please note

This article is not intended to be a literature review.  While some literature may be cited in some cases, this article should not be used as scientific-evidence of a treatment or service.  Please contact your physiotherapist or other appropriate health care provider to better understand the scientific literature supporting or refuting the use of a particular treatment.

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