Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

What is the Pelvic Floor? And What is Pelvic Health Physical Therapy?

May 12, 2020

The pelvic floor consists of muscles, ligaments, fascia and nerves located within the bony pelvis of women and men. In physical therapy we often discuss the muscles of the pelvic floor and may simply refer to these as the “pelvic floor”. These muscles serve essential functions including: 

  1. Support for pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, bowel) 

  2. Control of bladder and bowel sphincters 

  3. Sexual function

  4. Stability for the pelvis, hip and low back regions

  5. Assist with blood and lymphatic flow

Many women first learn about the pelvic floor during pregnancy or shortly after childbirth due to high incidence of pelvic floor dysfunction during this period. Pelvic floor disorders are not unique to the pre and postnatal women. Men also experience pelvic floor dysfunction and the incidence of incontinence is high among female athletes that have never had children. 

Pelvic floor dysfunction is extremely common (reported at up to nearly 50% in women in the US) and can be associated with: 

  1. Bladder or bowel incontinence or urgency

  2. Pelvic or low back pain

  3. Painful sexual function 

  4. Pelvic organ prolapse (lack of support of pelvic organs resulting in excessive mobility) 

A pelvic health physical therapist has completed additional, specialized training to evaluate and treat the pelvic floor. Assessment may include external and internal examination of pelvic floor muscle function with your consent. Effective pelvic floor physical therapy will also address the environment in which the pelvic floor functions. This may include a detailed assessment of the strength and mobility of your spine, hip joint and lower extremity as well as movement patterns with activities performed daily for life and fitness such as lifting, running or squatting. The experts at MEND combine their expertise in orthopedics and sports medicine with pelvic health and may utilize treatments such as: joint manipulation or mobilization, dry needling, progressive exercise and education in order to help you reach your goals. Please contact us or schedule an appointment to learn more about how MEND can assist you with your pelvic health issue.