What can I expect on my first day of therapy?
It helps to write down all of the questions that you have about your condition and therapy. If your question is not answered during the evaluation, you will be prompted by your list to ask your questions at the end of your first session.
Once in the treatment room, your therapist will ask you numerous questions pertaining to your condition. Your posture, balance, back and hip motion and pelvic alignment will be analyzed. There will be an explanation of the anatomy of the pelvis. Then you will be given privacy and asked to get undressed from the waist down. A sheet will be provided for you to cover yourself, as you like back on the treatment table. Your therapist will assess the perineum (the area covered by your underwear), and possibly perform a vaginal and/or rectal exam. This is only done with your consent, but can provide very important information used by your therapist to create your Plan of Care. Your therapist will use non-latex gloves and lubrication during this part of the evaluation, which will make it more comfortable. Once this part of the evaluation is complete, your therapist will give you privacy to dress. Your therapist will then explain their findings and what your Plan of Care should be, as well as answer any question that you still have.
How can physical therapy help?
Physical therapists do not specifically treat the organs of the pelvis, such as the bladder, uterus, and rectum, but rather the musculoskeletal structures, including the muscles, joints, fascia, tendons and ligaments.
Who can benefit from physical therapy?
Men and Women of all ages, including children, can be affected by the various types of urinary incontinence. Because many symptoms are caused by pelvic floor muscle weakness and dysfunction, a specially trained Pelvic Health Physical Therapist is the ideal provider to help you gain control over your symptoms. Physical Therapists use their specialized medical training to complete an evaluation and design an individualized treatment program.
Physical Therapy can:
- Give you control over your life and your bladder
- Save money and embarrassment by allowing less use of pads and undergarments
- Reduce use of medications for incontinence
- Possibly prevent the need for surgery
Physical Therapy Treatment may include:
- Education on diet and nutrition to avoid food and drinks that may irritate the bladder
- Advice on how to change behaviors that make symptoms worse
- Techniques to help you find the right muscles and learn to use them correctly
- Pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles
- Exercises to stretch and strengthen other important muscles
- Ways to decrease urinary urge and frequency
- Biofeedback that shows you how your muscles are working
- Electrical stimulation to improve awareness and strength of the muscles