Pelvic Floor Therapy

You've heard the hushed tones, the nervousness, the embarrassment. Women gathered together talking about how their bodies have changed and wondering why. Men silently agonizing over the whereabouts of the next restroom. Maybe you've even seen the commercials and advertisements about how you don't have to suffer from incontinence. No more rushing to the restroom. No more worrying when you cough or sneeze.

Pelvic floor therapy deals not only with incontinence, but with any abnormality or condition causing chronic pain or reduced muscle tone, says Community Hospital physical therapist Jil Johnson. Various events can weaken or cause dysfunction of the pelvic floor, including aging, pregnancy, childbirth, chronic constipation, or surgery.

Jil Johnson, Physical Therapist

Common candidates for pelvic floor therapy are post-radiation patients, women who have had children or undergone uterine or ovarian surgery, men after prostate surgery, and anyone following back surgery.

"I spend a lot of time," says Johnson, "assessing the sacroiliac joint, which connects to the pelvic floor and lower back. And I am able, through internal or external work, to reduce many symptoms of lower-back pain."

Therapy, she says, also involves education on the anatomy and function of the pelvic floor, as well as dietary effects on bowel and bladder function, pelvic floor exercises, and other treatments to address abnormally high or low muscle tone.

"Biofeedback," says Johnson, "is a large part of therapy. Biofeedback has to do with body awareness, targeting certain muscle groups, and learning how to use them effectively."