What is a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist?
Hi friends! October is one of our favorite months of the year—it’s National Physical Therapy Month!
But what exactly does a physical therapist do? And why are they such unique providers, especially when it comes to pelvic health?
The American Physical Therapy Association defines physical therapists as, “movement experts who improve quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care and patient education.”
They receive extensive training in how the musculoskeletal (muscles/bones) and neuromuscular (brain/nerves/spinal cord) systems of the body work. They understand how muscles, nerves, and other connective tissue all move together and interact with each other to help the body move!
Their goal is to get you moving optimally and pain-free. They do this by correcting weakness, incoordination, and suboptimal movement patterns.
Pelvic floor PTs are often an integral component to a team of professionals (like physicians, urogynecologist, urologists, obstetricians, and more) who can successfully address pelvic floor conditions.
Do you have pain in/around your pelvis? A pelvic PT can help with that!
Are you having leakage (either of pee or poop) when you jump, laugh, cough, or sneeze? A pelvic PT can help with that!
Do you have to run to the bathroom to make it just in time? A pelvic PT can help with that!
Are you having leakage or erectile dysfunction after prostate cancer treatments? A pelvic PT can help with that!
Do you have pelvic organ prolapse? A pelvic PT can help with that!
Did you just have a c-section and now you’re having pain with moving around? You guessed it—a pelvic PT can help with that!
The list of problems and conditions that a pelvic floor physical therapist can help with is endless (well, almost).
WHAT MAKES A PELVIC PT DIFFERENT?
Pelvic health physical therapists often take hours of continuing education courses after getting their degrees as a physical therapist to help them apply general principles they have learned to the pelvic floor muscles. They know how to help you get the pelvic floor muscles to do the right thing at the right time to help improve of your symptoms and get you back to living a life without worrying about pelvic problems!
They incorporate education, hands on work, exercises, and more to build a comprehensive rehabilitation program for each individual. Physical therapy is considered a conservative treatment and is not invasive (like surgery) and doesn’t have many side effects (like medications). Many studies have shown that working with a pelvic floor physical therapist is very effective at treating these conditions.
HOW DO I SEE A PELVIC PT?
The great news is that many states have direct access, which means you can go straight to the physical therapist without getting a prescription from your primary doctor. But make sure to check that your insurance plan does not require a referral first.
You can find a pelvic therapist on your own at myPFM.com. We have links to 4 free searchable databases under Find a PT.
Want to learn more about the pelvic floor?
Ask your healthcare provider for a referral to a pelvic therapist.
Go to our YouTube channel for videos to learn about your pelvic floor and more
Learn more about the pelvic floor muscles with our book: My Pelvic Floor Muscles The Basics: Learn where the pelvic floor muscles are, what they do, and how they work
Sign up for our email newsletter!
Visit our Instagram page for more on pelvic health.
Visit our Amazon store for pelvic health products—both for patients and providers.
Are you a physical therapist interested in incorporating pelvic health into your practice? Check out one of our many courses, or consider joining our Ambassador Program and most of our courses will be included with your membership!
Has a physical therapist changed your life? We’d love to hear them. Please join the conversation in the comments section below.
By Emily Reul, PT, DPT