Pelvic Health Rehabilitation

Medical Reviewer: Dr. Jessica Magee PT, DPT, ATC, LAT
Last Updated: June 24, 2021

What conditions do we help treat?

Pelvic health physical therapy is performed by therapists specially trained in treating dysfunction of the pelvic floor muscles, in both men and women. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles responsible for maintaining continence, sexual function, supporting the pelvic organs, and core stability.

Pelvic health physical therapy can help treat bowel and bladder dysfunction, pelvic pain conditions, dysfunction related to pregnancy and postpartum, pediatric pelvic floor conditions, and pelvic floor dysfunction related to cancer and cancer treatment.

  • Bladder dysfunction: urinary incontinence, urgency, frequency, nocturia/excessive night time urination, hesitancy, incomplete bladder emptying
  • Bowel dysfunction: fecal incontinence, anal incontinence, chronic constipation or diarrhea, fecal urgency, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease
  • Pelvic pain: chronic pelvic pain, dyspareunia/pain with intercourse, pudendal neuralgia, coccydynia, pain related to endometriosis, uterine fibroids, etc
  • Pregnancy and postpartum: low back pain, pelvic girdle pain, gestational diabetes, diastasis rectus abdominis
  • Oncology: breast, cervical, uterine, and ovarian cancers, prostate cancer, colorectal and anal cancers

What pelvic health services do we provide?

Pelvic Health PTs use a variety of treatment techniques including therapeutic exercise, manual therapy, and modalities to treat dysfunction of the pelvic floor.

  • Therapeutic exercise: interventions to improve motor control/coordination, strength, endurance, and power of the pelvic floor, pelvic girdle, and core musculature
  • Manual therapy: hands on techniques performed by your therapist, including but not limited to soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilizations to assist with pain relief or joint mobility and range of motion
  • Modalities: the most common modalities utilized in pelvic health physical therapy include electrical stimulation and surface electromyographic biofeedback.
    • Electrical stimulation or “E-stim” utilizes electrical current to address a variety of impairments. E-stim is most commonly used to improve muscle strength and endurance. However, some forms of electrical stimulation can also help to decrease urinary urge or manage pain.
    • Electromyographic biofeedback or “sEMG biofeedback” utilizes the electrical activity within muscles to provide a visual representation of muscle function. Visual feedback can be helpful to patients with difficulty coordinating the pelvic floor muscles or with poor muscle awareness. Biofeedback can also be used to assist with training pelvic floor muscle strength and endurance.

    What to expect during treatment?

    Your plan of care with a pelvic floor physical therapist will begin with an initial evaluation in which you and your therapist will discuss your symptoms and concerns.

    The pelvic health rehabilitation evaluation includes a comprehensive history and physical examination in a private room with your physical therapist. Dependent on your symptoms, examination of the pelvic girdle and pelvic floor muscles may include a direct vaginal or rectal assessment. The examination of the pelvic floor muscles is important to determine the ability of your muscles to function normally.

    Your therapist’s assessment will provide insight on whether or not your muscles can contract and relax normally, if there is adequate strength and endurance, and if there are painful areas or areas of increased muscle tension. Your therapist will use findings from both the interview and physical part of the exam to make sure you receive the proper treatment and personalized care.

    Following your initial assessment, your physical therapist will develop a plan of care and work with you to establish treatment goals including a timeline for achievement of your goals. Your plan of care will be sent to your physician for review and signature.

    Our pelvic health experts

    Our team is made up of physical therapists with additional postgraduate training in the area of pelvic health. Pelvic health physical therapists must undergo continuing education after PT school to be specialized to treat this patient population.

    Connect with us

    In the state of Florida, patients can be evaluated and treated by a physical therapist for up to 30 days without a referral (dependent on insurance carrier). After 30 days, a referral is required. Referrals to see a pelvic health physical therapist can come from a primary care provider, OB/GYN, urologist/urogynecologist, gastroenterologist, etc.

    Medical Reviewer

    Dr. Jessica Magee PT, DPT, ATC, LAT

    Pelvic Health Physical Therapist, Outpatient Pelvic Health Program Coordinator
    Dr. Jessica Magee received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) in 2018 from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. Prior to this, she received her Bachelors of Science, also from the University of North Florida, in 2014 and is a licensed and certified Athletic Trainer. She has been a practicing clinician at the Orange Park location of Brooks Rehabilitation since 2018 and is a graduate of the Brooks Rehabilitation Institute of Higher Learning’s Women’s Health Physical Therapy Residency program. She currently serves as the Women’s Health Program Coordinator for the outpatient division of Brooks Rehabilitation and works as a full time therapist serving the women’s/pelvic health and orthopedic populations. Dr. Magee has been a presenter at the 2021 APTA Combined Sections Meeting and has had multiple abstracts published in the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy.
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