Absolutely! A skilled and trained Pelvic Health physical therapist or PT can change your quality of life in dramatic ways. A specialized Pelvic Health therapist or pelvic therapist can share many testimonies of facilitating a patient progressing from incontinence to continence or a 9 out of 10 (10 being worst pain) pelvic pain to completely managed symptoms. Qualified pelvic therapists are physical therapist’s who have completed specialized training in the pelvic health of men and/or women. The therapist should be certified as a Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification (PRPC), Pelvic Health Certification (PHC), Board Certified Women's Health Specialist (WCS) or at least be closely supervised by a certified therapist. As a potential patient you should inquire if the therapist specializes in treating men, women or both. Historically pelvic therapy training was geared more towards female anatomy. However, as more and more men are being seen and treated for pelvic floor dysfunction and pain, training in pelvic therapy for male anatomy has expanded considerably. Most pelvic therapists or physical therapy clinics now treat both men and women.
Effective pelvic floor physical therapy should involve a creative team effort between the patient, their medical practitioners and the physical therapy team. It should take into account a patient's abilities/disabilities, work or home schedule, and support system. Being creative is particularly important when a patient has debilitating pelvic floor dysfunction or pelvic pain.
Most therapist’s will see their patients between 1-3 times a week depending on the actual physical problem and the practical reality of each patient's life situation. One on one therapy sessions are critical to attaining a proper physical therapy diagnosis and treatment plan.
The treatment plan should include some form of manual therapy involving soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, Manual Lymph Drainage, joint and neural mobilization and neuromuscular re-education. The pelvic therapist may also use modalities such as cold laser, electrical stimulation, biofeedback and ultrasound to achieve their patient goals of improved strength, muscle relaxation and reduced pain.
You will concurrently be taught exercises that will become part of your home program. A practical and effective home program can be essential for successful outcomes. Part of a home program to address pelvic pain may include stretching and/or trigger point release using an internal massage device. The use of a therapeutic massage device such as a TheraWand can empower patients as they participate in their own treatment and positive outcomes, generally improving the quality of life.
This may seem overwhelming but it will be well worth the effort as you manage your pain and gain control over your bowel, bladder and/or sexual problems!