Most people are unaware that physical therapy can treat many diagnoses specific to women’s health. Pain during pregnancy, urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, and osteoporosis are several issues that can be treated with physical therapy.
Physical therapy can address many contributing factors for these conditions, including:
- Weakened core and pelvic muscles
- Scar tissue from surgical procedures or childbirth
- Poor pelvic alignment
- Muscle tightness
- Back or hip pain
- Poor posture
- Improper body mechanics
Many women suffer from pain during or after their pregnancies. Pain is NOT a normal part of the biological process during pregnancy. Most women suffer from fleeting pains as their body changes, but pain that lingers is not normal and can be treated by physical therapy. We can strengthen and stretch muscles and teach improved body mechanics to help your body adapt better. Some women also suffer from pain after their pregnancy, sometimes due to difficult childbirth or the stress of caring for a newborn. One complication that can occur due to pregnancy is Diastasis Recti, or a separation of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy. If the muscles of your abdomen have weakened and separated, physical therapy can help you regain the appearance and function of these muscles.
There are several types of urinary incontinence, and most can be treated effectively with physical therapy. While there are many contributing factors, the stress from pregnancy and childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor and stress the bladder. Urinating more than 8 times per day, strong urges to urinate frequently, or urinary leaking are all signs of worsening urinary function. Physical therapy can help to strengthen the pelvic floor and abdominals to relieve excess stress on the bladder, as well as to teach behavioral strategies to improve bladder health and function. Whether the problem is recent or has gradually worsened over time, physical therapy can often improve and even eliminate urinary incontinence.
Pelvic pain encompasses a broad spectrum of diagnoses and can include lumbosacral pain, sacroiliac pain, abdominal pain, and pelvic floor pain. Pain can interfere with daily life and can even make intercourse painful or impossible. Physical therapy can help to address the underlying cause of pain and improve your overall function and quality of life. Minimizing scar tissue and alleviating tight or sore muscles in combination with core strengthening can be effective at treating the various types of pelvic pain.
Not solely a female problem, osteoporosis affects nearly 10% of women and 2% of men over the age of 50. The condition is not usually painful, but the stress of the weakening skeletal system can often cause pain. The real issue with osteoporosis is the risk of serious injury from falls or accidents. Research has shown that the best treatment to maintain bone density is weightbearing exercise. Physical therapy can teach you safe and effective exercises to maintain bone density, strengthen postural muscles, and improve balance to decrease your risk for falls.
What to Expect at Your First Visit at Suburban Physical Therapy
Patients are often apprehensive about their first physical therapy visit, but most find it an educational and surprisingly pleasant experience. Our goal is to help alleviate symptoms and existing pain, while providing education, comfort, and peace of mind. Pelvic floor therapy can also help to alleviate secondary problems such as chronic low back, hip, or abdominal pain. Be sure to mention if you are experiencing any of these problems to your therapist, as some conditions may be relevant to your treatment.
At your first physical therapy visit, we will perform a comprehensive exam. This includes a detailed evaluation of your symptoms and problems along with a physical examination. In the physical examination, we will evaluate your posture, spinal and pelvic alignment, muscle tightness and pain, muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion. At that time, we will discuss the possible need for internal examination, usually performed at a follow-up appointment. Your therapist will then discuss your plan of care, which will include the frequency of your visits and an estimated total time for treatment.
To prepare for your initial visit, please fill out and bring the Pelvic Floor Screening Form. Be prepared to discuss your symptoms or pain. If your condition includes pelvic pain, also fill out and bring the Vulvar Pain Questionnaire. If you are unable to complete the forms ahead of time, please come 15 minutes early to fill out the necessary paperwork. Also, wear or bring comfortable clothing that allows unrestricted movement. Feel free to bring any and all questions for your therapist.
If you are ready to relieve your pain, we are ready to help. To schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists, please call Suburban Physical Therapy at our Brecksville office at (440) 746-1730, or our Twinsburg office at (330) 963-2920. Same-day appointments may often be available so please call the office of your choice, if you wish to be seen today. You may also submit an appointment request via our Request an Appointment form.