What is the Pelvic Floor?

Janelle A
Pelvic floor - Wikipedia

The pelvic floor consists of a group of muscles that extend from the front of the pelvic to the coccyx. The pelvic floor muscles support the organs inside the pelvis, which include the bladder and the bowel, as well as the uterus for women. 

The pelvic floor is a vital part of women’s everyday health and wellbeing. Therefore, it is important that the pelvic floor muscles remain strong to maintain continence, sexual function and support any extra weight or stress on the pelvis during pregnancy and childbirth. 

Proper pelvic floor function is also important for men, as maintaining a strong pelvis helps avoid problems such as erectile dysfunction and incontinence. 

Many people tend to neglect the pelvic floor; however, this can cause complications, especially after childbirth or surgery. Obesity can also cause the pelvic floor to weaken, as being overweight can put a strain on the pelvic area. 

To avoid pelvic issues, pelvic physiotherapists recommend some form of pelvic floor therapy which will help to strengthen and restore the pelvis and prevent any future problems.   

How Does Pelvic Floor Therapy Work?

Pelvic floor therapy is a specialist form of physical treatment that focuses on the muscles, organs and tissue in and around the pelvic area. This type of therapy is designed to address any pelvis pain, weakness or dysfunction. 

Pelvic floor physiotherapists will typically perform internal and external examinations on patients while also discussing any issues. They can determine the best manual therapy and physical exercises for the individual. 

Types of Pelvic Floor Therapy 

There are several types of pelvic physiotherapy, which help relax, strengthen, and improve pelvic floor function. 

Pelvic floor exercises

Pelvic floor exercises are a common form of physiotherapy and are specifically designed to strengthen the muscles surrounding the pelvis. These exercises typically involve squeezing the muscles to tighten the pelvic muscles. Pelvic floor movements usually start small, with therapists advising patients to build up the number of pelvic squeezes every day. 

A pelvic physiotherapist will typically assess a patient before deciding on the best exercises. The therapist will typically work through the exercises with the patient and encourage them to perform the exercises at home on a daily basis. 

Pregnant women can benefit from pelvic floor exercises, and they are usually advised to start moving their pelvic muscles as soon as possible before giving birth. This will prevent any incontinence during and after the pregnancy. 

Manual therapy

Manual therapy is a type of hands-on treatment which is typically performed by pelvic physiotherapists and massage specialists. This normally involves gentle manipulation of the muscles surrounding the pelvis and lower back to reduce and prevent pain or discomfort. 

Before massaging, a therapist will assess the patient to determine areas where compression and tension are present. Manual therapy also helps to re-align the pelvic muscles and create the perfect balance between the two sides of the pelvic floor, resulting in reduced pain and incontinence. 

Manual therapy aims to release and reduce tension on the pelvic muscles and tissues, which helps improve the range of motion in the pelvic area. This results in all-around improved function, contraction and relaxation. 

Electrical stimulation 

Electric stimulation is a type of physical therapy used to treat a wide range of issues, including pelvis-related problems. This involves applying electrodes to the pelvic area, which are connected to an e-stim machine via a wire. The procedure is completely painless, and the patient typically only notices a tingling sensation on the skin. 

Electrical stimulation or e-stim works in different ways, depending on what it is being used for. For example, if the patient is experiencing any pelvic pain or muscle spasms, the electrodes will be used to relax the area. They can also be used to strengthen the floor muscles if the patient has experienced any weakening. The electrodes will be used to enhance contractions, as the individual will be encouraged to squeeze the pelvic muscles during this treatment.

The process usually starts slow and steady. However, as the session continues, the sensation will increase depending on the individual’s requirements and whether they can withstand the tingling sensations.  

The Benefits of Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy

Pelvic floor physiotherapy offers an array of benefits for anyone dealing with pelvic pain, weakening and any other related health issues. 

Prevents incontinence

Incontinence can be caused by weakening the pelvic muscles, which can occur naturally and after childbirth or surgery. This reduction in strength prevents the pelvic from contracting and relaxing properly. Pelvic floor physiotherapy works to build strength in the muscles again to regain stability and ensure proper continence. 

Speeds up childbirth recovery

Pelvic physiotherapy is a common treatment for pregnant women who are advised to practice pelvic floor exercises such as kegels in the early stages of the pregnancy to build pelvic strength. This also enables the muscles to support the extra weight of the baby without the risk of a pelvic imbalance which can cause pain and incontinence. 

Helps with surgery recuperation 

Both men and women can benefit from pelvic physiotherapy after surgery. This type of therapy acts as a form of rehabilitation, especially for anyone who has undergone prostate surgery or a C-section.  Pelvic floor therapy will normally be conducted immediately after surgery to help the patient regain pelvic muscle strength and prevent issues such as a prolapsed bowel, frequent urination or pelvic pain. 

How to Find a Reputable Pelvic Floor Therapist

Now, you’ve got to grips with pelvic physiotherapy, why not book a session at Sky Therapy with the best physiotherapist London has to offer? Our specialist physiotherapists will assess and determine the right pelvic therapy for you to regain balance, reduce pain and prevent any pelvis-related issues. 

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