For many people, it’s embarrassing to talk about pelvic health. Because of the lack of conversation surrounding these issues, few are aware of what pelvic health really is. The first thing to know is that the pelvic floor involves the muscles that connect to the front, back, and sides of the pelvic bone and sacrum. These muscles support the organs in the pelvis and control the bladder and bowel, as well as sexual function. If these muscles become damaged, weakened, or tense, it leads to a condition known as pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD). Pelvic floor physiotherapy is available to help people strengthen, relax, or retrain these muscles to correct this condition. Before getting into where you can get physiotherapy, here are some of the most common misconceptions about pelvic physiotherapy.
There is a misconception that pelvic therapy is only for pregnant women or those that have given birth. While pelvic physiotherapy can treat pre-natal and post-partum pelvic problems, the percentage of women that seek pelvic physiotherapy immediately postpartum is less than 15%. The truth is, both men and women seek pelvic physical therapy for more common conditions, which include:
People who are preparing for or recovering after pelvic surgery (hysterectomy or prostatectomy) or abdominal surgery (C-section, hernia repair, etc.) may also seek physiotherapy.
Another misconception is that men don’t need to worry about their pelvic health. Although almost a quarter of woman deal with pelvic floor disorders, men can also suffer from PFD. The conditions that are classified as PFD are often geared towards women, however, men also suffer from problems like pelvic pain, incontinence, and other pelvic dysfunctions. About 20 to 30% of people who suffer from pelvic conditions are men. They usually seek therapy to treat pain in the pelvic area, prostate issues, incontinence, and sexual dysfunction.
It is false information that pelvic physiotherapy only works for minor issues. In fact, therapy alone can deal with specific pelvic problems and reduce the need for surgery, medication, and other invasive treatments. Pelvic therapy continues to be an important part of recovery when surgery and other invasive procedures are required. Since the techniques used in pelvic physiotherapy can be taught and learned, people are able to manage their own pain, reduce their level of discomfort, and recover faster.
A surprisingly large number of people believe that Kegel exercises are the primary treatment method in pelvic physiotherapy. This is false. The treatment methods used to rehabilitate pelvic muscles are far more complicated than simply contracting and releasing the pelvic floor muscles. Physiotherapy involves improving the muscular support around the hips, lower back and pelvis, as well as improving diet, coordinating better breathing, learning healthy bladder habits, retraining muscles to work their best, and building confidence in the patients.
Although it may be true that PFD is more common in people over the age of 50, it is not something you need to live with for the rest of your life. Pelvis physiotherapy has been shown to treat multiple symptoms and conditions of PFD. In fact, it can eliminate some symptoms completely. Conditions like urinary or fecal urgency and incontinence can be improved through lifestyle changes and proper treatment.
Genetics do play a role in PFD, but there is always something that can be done to treat the symptoms of this condition. A team of healthcare professionals, including a pelvic physiotherapist can provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan that can help you improve your symptoms and ensure optimal bowel, pelvis, and bladder health.
Some people believe that if they have already had surgery or are planning to, pelvic physiotherapy can’t help them. However, pelvic physiotherapy is extremely beneficial before and after surgery. Surgical intervention can correct anatomical issues, but physiotherapy plays a vital role in positive outcomes and reduces the possibility of needing future surgeries to repair the same condition.
Another myth is that a person’s lifestyle habits and diet are completely unrelated to the pain and discomfort associated with PFD. In many cases, one’s daily habits and lifestyle are the major factors that contribute to PFD symptoms. Part of your PFD treatment will likely include a discussion with your physiotherapist about your daily habits. Daily habits that may contribute to this condition can include sitting all day at work, exercising too vigorously, eating too much sugar, drinking too many beverages that irritate the bladder, or not drinking enough water.
Your doctor may be able to help you with treatment for underlying medical issues, but a pelvic physiotherapist can give you the right exercises and tools to achieve and maintain the best possible results for PFD. Even if you are having surgery or have had surgery to treat PFD, physiotherapy can restore your quality of life by reducing pain, increasing mobility, and strengthening the muscles to work their best.
At MedRehab Group, we will work with you to treat your chronic pain and health conditions, especially pelvic floor dysfunction. We serve clients in Brampton, Georgetown, Hamilton, Toronto, Richmond Hill/Maple, Vaughan, Woodbridge, and Pickering. We strive to do our best to meet our clients’ expectations. Contact us at 1-888-409-4058 to book your first consultation and appointment for pelvic floor physiotherapy in Richmond Hill.
Image Credit: iStock.com/Highwaystarz-Photography
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