Your pelvic floor consists of the muscles, ligaments and tissues located at the base of your pelvis. They help to support the organs in your pelvis, including your reproductive organs, bladder and large intestine. It can be hard to target and strengthen these muscles with regular exercises, but their health and strength are essential for avoiding common pelvic floor problems. If you think you may have pelvic floor issues, here’s how a physical therapist can help.
Diagnosing Pelvic Floor Problems
Before you can receive physical therapy Raleigh NC services for your condition, you first need a diagnosis. To obtain this, schedule a consultation with a trusted physical therapist near you. Your physical therapist will ask you about your symptoms and medical history. Then, they will perform a physical exam to determine whether you have a weak pelvic floor or some other issue.
Your physical examination will consist of an external and an internal component. During the external portion, your therapist will manually check for tightness, pain or tenderness around the sacroiliac joints and lumbar spine. The muscles in these areas will typically be tight in cases of pelvic floor issues. Remember, tightness is not equal to strength. Physical therapy will help you lengthen and strengthen weak pelvic floor muscles by exercising and stretching them.
The internal portion of the examination will involve an assessment of the pelvic floor muscles. This is typically done by inserting a gloved finger into the vagina or rectum. During this process, your therapist will check for muscle tone, tenderness and elasticity. At the end of this process, you’ll receive a diagnosis.
Exercises That Can Help With Pelvic Pain
There are exercises that can help reduce the pain caused by weak pelvic floor muscles. When you arrive for your Greensboro physical therapy appointment, your therapist will let you know which exercises will deliver the best results for your case. Two popular exercises include Kegels and glute bridges.
To perform Kegel exercises, you’ll want to sit comfortably and think about the muscles you would use to stop the flow of urine mid-stream. Tighten these muscles and hold the contraction for between three and five seconds. Release the contraction and allow the muscles to rest for five seconds before repeating the exercise. Do this for 10 repetitions each day.
To perform a glute bridge, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart. Your arms should be next to your body with the palms face-down for support. Contract your pelvic floor and buttocks muscles and lift your buttocks off the ground to create a straight line from your knees to your belly. Hold the contraction for up to eight seconds before slowly lowering your buttocks back to the ground. Your head and shoulders should remain on the ground throughout the entire movement. Repeat the movement up to 10 times.
In addition to these exercises, your physical therapist will most likely give you additional exercises as part of your physical therapy Winston Salem treatment. Perform all exercises as recommended to help strengthen your pelvic floor and reduce your symptoms.
Pelvic floor issues are quite common, especially after having children. To minimize the discomfort and embarrassment associated with a weak pelvic floor, consider meeting with a physical therapist for personalized treatment.