The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and ligaments that line the bottom of the pelvis and give support to the organs above. When you are sitting down, the tissue that you are sitting on is the pelvic floor. Regardless of age or gender, you have a pelvic floor (it is a common misconception that females are the only ones who have a pelvic floor).
The pelvic floor supports and provides structure to the external genitalia and is heavily controlled by our nervous system (hence why symptoms can be worse when you are stressed). The pelvic floor muscles sit like a hammock and start at the pubic bone in the front to the tailbone and sacrum in the back and have both voluntary control (meaning you can contract and relax the muscles) and involuntary control (meaning your body can contract the muscles without your control) . There are 3 layers of muscles that sit in the pelvic floor and they help provide sphincteric control to the bladder and bowels, aid in sexual function, help support the organs from above and help stabilize our pelvis during movements such as walking.
When the pelvic floor is not working properly, you can experience:
Pelvic floor therapy is therapy performed by a licensed physical therapist or occupational therapist and is targeted at improving function of the pelvic floor muscles in order to abolish the symptoms listed above. Just as if you were to get physical therapy after having knee surgery or a knee injury, pelvic floor therapy helps to rehabilitate the pelvic floor after surgery, childbirth or injury to the pelvis or pelvic floor.
The goal of pelvic floor therapy is to allow patients to fully recover from symptoms of pelvic floor therapy and thus allow patients to be as active as possible without worrying about their symptoms. Treatment should be dynamic and help coordinate how the pelvic floor functions not only in isolation, but also how the pelvic floor works with the rest of the body. This is the key to improving your symptoms long term!
So how do you know if you would benefit from pelvic floor therapy? The symptoms noted above are very common after surgery, pregnancy, with hormone changes and after trauma. However these symptoms are never normal. Therefore, if you struggle with any of the listed symptoms. Please call us at (267)685-6368 and we would be happy to help you. Not local? Call us anyway, we have a large network of likeminded clinicians and would be able to find someone that can!