It may be difficult to talk about, but pelvic pain and dysfunction are real issues. Although you may think that problems associated with the pelvis, like pain, incontinence or constipation are conditions you have to live with, that’s not true. Pelvic dysfunction may be common, but it’s not normal, and pelvic rehabilitation can help.
Men, women and even children can have pelvic problems that require rehabilitation. Men may have urinary or fecal incontinence, an inflamed prostate (prostatitis) or complications arising from a prostatectomy, which is a surgery to remove a part of the prostate. Children may have issues with bowel and bladder training or constipation, among other problems.
For women, childbirth is one of the most common events contributing to pelvic dysfunction that requires rehab, but many other conditions can be factors too. Multiple pelvic surgeries, chronic constipation, pelvic trauma, and repeated lifting and straining can affect the muscles of the pelvic floor.
Other conditions associated with pelvic dysfunction in women include urinary or fecal incontinence, constipation, pelvic pain, pain with intercourse, painful bladder syndrome (interstitial cystitis), diastasis recti, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, endometriosis, coccydynia (tailbone pain), and pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic therapists can also help manage pain and immobility resulting from scars after abdominal or pelvic surgery or after gynecologic cancer treatment.
How Does Pelvic Rehabilitation Work?
Pelvic rehabilitation helps strengthen the pelvic floor and other associated muscles. It also can help address problems with surrounding joints, ligaments and fascia. A specially trained clinician provides treatment, which can include manual therapy, therapeutic exercises like biofeedback, activity modification, and education. These actions restore balance to the pelvic floor, decreasing the dysfunction.
When you come to an appointment, a pelvic physical therapist will identify what is causing the dysfunction and give you specific hands-on therapy and exercises. If your condition warrants it, the therapist may use both internal and external treatment strategies to help restore healthy joint and soft tissue movement.
Your therapist will give you exercises to do at home. These exercises are vital in reinforcing your in-person treatment sessions and can help you recover faster.
As much as pelvic rehabilitation depends on the treatment you receive, it also relies on your participation in recovery. You may feel a little nervous on your first day of rehab, or even slightly embarrassed to discuss your symptoms or participate in treatment. That’s completely natural. But don’t worry. Most people quickly feel at ease and are pleasantly surprised to learn of simple interventions that can treat even chronic problems.
In addition to therapy, education is an integral part of any rehabilitation program. This education may include learning about self-treatment strategies, behavioral modifications, and extensive information about the anatomy and physiology of your condition. The more you know, the better prepared you are to be a partner in your recovery.
Is Pelvic Rehabilitation Right For You?
If you are having issues regarding bowel, bladder, or sexual dysfunction, pelvic rehabilitation can help. Even if the problem seems mild or unimportant; or you’ve lived with it for years, you can feel better. I encourage you to get evaluated by a pelvic therapist and consider pelvic rehabilitation.
Getting Relief for Chronic Pelvic Pain
The doctors associated with Orlando Health and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies will diagnose and treat your chronic pelvic pain with skill and compassion so you can get back to your busy life, pain-free.Learn More