Despite commonly held assumptions, pelvic floor exercises are not just for women. In fact, according to Jessica Powley, Physical Therapist, pelvic floor exercises are required for treating all age brackets of patients and for many types of conditions, including “urinary incontinence, difficulties in urination, bowel incontinence, constipation, abdominal pain, low back/SI pain, sexual dysfunction, pelvic pain or coccyx pain, vaginal or rectal pain, penile or testicular pain, as well as men and women prior to or after having pelvic surgery.”
According to the Interstitial Cystitis Association, “The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that attaches to the front, back, and sides of your pelvis and to the tailbone and sacrum. These muscles support your pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus or prostate, and rectum, and wrap around your urethra, vagina (in women), and rectum.”
By using exercises that coordinate contraction and relaxation of these muscles, many of the above conditions can be helped.
Urinary incontinence is one of the more commonly treated issues. And research shows pelvic floor physical therapy exercises for patients over approximately 13 sessions assists in gaining continents in 88.9% of cases. Therefore, it really is great training to add to your repertoire of physical therapy treatments for patients.
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Exercises for Patients
Sarah Fosheim, Physical Therapist, suggests physical therapy pelvic floor treatments include biofeedback, muscle therapy, manual therapy, and addressing postural issues.
Natalie Stratton, doctor of Physical Therapy, demonstrates a variety of pelvic floor exercises, including how to do kegel exercises correctly, an exercise she suggest many physical therapists don’t do correctly.
Education must also be provided to the patient on frequency of using these exercises, as they will need to be practiced on a regular basis for best success.
Here is a video that provides 5 different pilates-based pelvic floor exercises.
Since pelvic floor exercises are more commonly associated with women, you often find videos and information on women’s sites. Though, the exercises can be used for all populations.
For patients with pelvic floor issues, building core strength is also important. Here Michelle Kenway, Physical Therapist, demonstrates 3 pelvic floor safe core strength exercises using the stability ball.
Like any type of physical therapy you conduct, evidence based practice is essential. Use research to guide what types of pelvic floor exercises you prescribe to patients to ensure you achieve the best outcomes.
- Evidence Based Practice for Therapists
- 5 Step Process for Implementing Evidence Based Practice
- Physical Therapy Continuing Education Courses Online