Pelvic Health Program:
The pelvic floor is a collection of muscles, ligaments and nerves that are located on the bottom of your pelvis. This group is responsible for helping support your organs (bladder, uterus and rectum in women and rectum and bladder in men), allow for normal bathroom movements and give support to your hips and back. When these muscles, ligaments and nerves are not working together, you can have problems such as pain, unwanted leaking, or a sensation of lack of support. These muscles can be tight or loose, weak, in-coordinated, or painful.
Physical therapy works to help the muscles, ligaments and nerves work at their best so that you can go about your daily activities without having pain, unwanted leaking, or lack of support. Our physical therapists, Whitney Ford, Janna Manning and Amanda Nelson are specially trained to treat these conditions. Many pelvic floor problems are not talked about very often or when they are, it is thought to be normal. These are conditions that can be improved with physical therapy.
Here are some conditions that you may have heard your doctor mention to you that physical therapy can help with:
Pelvic Floor Pain: Pain anywhere near the pelvic floor, groin, lower back, tailbone or internally can be coming from the pelvic floor muscles, ligaments, or nerves. Sometimes these muscles can be very tight, and it can cause pain. Other times the muscles can be weak and loose, and your organs can put a lot of pressure on these muscles and make them hurt. Sometimes you can have pain with sexual intercourse or with medical evaluations. This can occur in both women and men. All these moments are not normal and would benefit from examination and treatment from pelvic floor physical therapy.
Muscle In-coordination: Sometimes your pelvic floor muscles may be not working together correctly which may lead to constipation, urinary/fecal incontinence (unwanted leaking of urine or stool) or poor support to your lower back and hips. If you have to strain to go to the bathroom, these pelvic floor muscles are not working right, and you may benefit from treatment from pelvic floor physical therapy.
Incontinence: Urinary or Fecal: Do you pee when you cough or sneeze? Do you have an accident in your pants if you try to lift something heavy. Although this is very common, this is NOT NORMAL! Sometimes your pelvic floor muscles are too tight to let urine or bowel movements come out fully or your muscles are too weak to fight back the pressure from above. This is where you can get what is called Incontinence, or unwanted leaking of bowels or bladder. This is something that pelvic floor physical therapy can help with. We not only look at the muscles and their function, but we also teach you how to use them correctly in all positions: lying down, sitting, standing, walking, and lifting.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Do you feel a lot of pressure or see things coming out of your body that are supposed to be inside? If you do, you may benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy. Often, people who have strained, have ongoing breathing problems or weakness in his/her pelvic floor can have pelvic organ prolapse. This is when the ligaments supporting the organs of your pelvis (bladder, bowels, rectum, uterus) get stretched due to repeated strain or pelvic floor weakness/tightness. When they are unable to support fully this is where you feel pressure in your pelvic area and may have to push organs back in. Physical therapy can help teach you how to lift, breath and move properly to reduce the amount of pressure pushing onto the organs and help you strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to support the organs where they are at now.
Post-operative Prostatectomy: Men have pelvic floor muscles too! When you have your prostate removed due to cancer or other reasons, the pelvic floor muscles have to work harder to prevent urinary incontinence (unwanted leaking of urine). Often, patients will benefit from being taught how to contract their pelvic floor muscles following this surgery and can help speed up the recovery.
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is an abnormal buildup of fluid that results in swelling, usually in the arms or legs,
but can also occur in the head, neck and trunk.
• The condition develops when lymph vessels or lymph nodes are missing, impaired, damaged, or
removed. It affects both women and men and can occur at any age.
• Lymphedema cannot be cured but with the right care and treatment, the affected
limb can be restored to a more normal size and shape.
• Lymphedema also can be treated and controlled so that it does not progress further
• Left untreated, lymphedema can lead to increased swelling and hardening of the tissue,
resulting in decreased function and mobility in the limb. It can also lead to chronic infection
and other illnesses.
We first provide hands-on therapy to reduce the size of the affected limb and then teach each person to successfully manage their specific conditions. Our therapist is Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) certified. CDT is a painless, noninvasive treatment using techniques that consist of:
• Proper skin and nail care to reduce risk of infections
• Manual lymph drainage (MLD) – a gentle manual technique that routes lymph fluid away from the
area toward adjacent functioning lymph nodes.
• Specialized compression bandaging
• Remedial exercises or exercises that address related orthopedic dysfunctionsand lymphatic flow
• Instructions in self-care techniques including self-MLD and self-bandaging
• Compression garment fitting
The length of treatment depends upon which limb is involved and the severity of the swelling. Success depends on the patient’s willingness to follow the prescribed treatments and their commitment to long-term self-management.
Getting a Referral
Most insurance companies will cover the initial evaluation and treatment for the complete decongestive therapy; they do not cover the cost of supplies for the compression wraps and may or may not cover the cost of the compression garments. A referral to the Lymphedema Program can be obtained by acquiring a prescription from your physician.
If you have any questions or are interested in the Lymphedema Program in Outpatient Rehabilitation Services located at the Center for Health Improvement please call 785.623.5691