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12 Surprising Facts about Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy at Shift

Written by Megan Stancill, PT, DPT. Physical Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher 

It’s comfortable

We will treat you in our private serene treatment room.  You will lie on a comfortable padded table with a sheet draped over your lap, no stirrups or paper sheets.  We don’t use a speculum to assess the pelvic floor as in a traditional gynecological exam. We assess internally with a gloved finger.  We use non-Latex exam gloves and water based natural lubricant. It is also possible to assess the muscles of the pelvic floor externally.  We want you to feel relaxed and comfortable.

We want to hear your story

Answering questions, educating and empowering patients is our specialty as physical therapists at Shift. That’s why during your first session we’ll spend time taking your health history so we can understand how best to help you.  

Men can benefit from pelvic floor PT

Both male and female pelvic floors are comprised of a network of muscles which function to hold in the abdominal organs as well as play important roles in bowel, bladder and sexual health.  Therefore, men can also experience many of the same uncomfortable pelvic symptoms as women such as urgency incontinence, pelvic pain, pain with elimination or sexual activity, and stress incontinence.  We can help.

Strong kegels aren’t always the best kegels

Muscles work best when they can be fluid: relaxing as well as contracting on demand. Done correctly, a kegel is a great strengthening exercise for the pelvic floor. We can assess you to determine if your kegel has a volitional contraction as well as appropriate relaxation.  

Breathing and posture affect your pelvic floor

Your pelvic floor forms the floor of the container housing your abdominal organs.  The roof of the container is your diaphragm, the muscle of breathing. When you breathe in, your diaphragm descends to make room for your lungs.  This creates downward pressure. Optimally, your pelvic floor will descend as well. Your posture and your breathing pattern can affect the amount of pressure generated on the pelvic floor.  Let us show you how.

Leaking urine isn’t a normal part of postpartum recovery

Do you experience incontinence when you sneeze, laugh or cough?  Are you avoiding running or jumping because you may leak urine? Your pelvic floor muscles help you retain urine and feces until you eliminate.  We can teach you how to use these muscles effectively so that you can jump and laugh worry-free.

Sex shouldn’t hurt, but often can

Like any other muscle in the body, a pelvic floor muscle can get tight or go into spasm.  This can occur in men or women during sexual activity, orgasm or afterwards. We can instruct you in stretching, breathing and self care to restore your muscles to a better resting length.  We can instruct patients how to use dilators to stretch and desensitize tight tissue.

You don’t have to have deliver vaginally to benefit from pelvic PT

At Shift we can treat scarring from c-section surgery, assess the tone and coordination of the pelvic floor as well as check for diastasis recti (separation of the rectus abdominis muscles of the abdomen, commonly known as “the six pack.”)

Pregnant women aren’t the only people who can have a diastasis

In pregnancy the muscles of the abdomen are stretched out over a growing baby.  Abdominal muscles can also be stretched by weight lifting, hernia, or even rapid weight gain.  A pelvic PT can assess you for diastasis and guide you through exercises that brings the muscles back together.  

Scars can cause pelvic pain

Scar tissue is a normal part of the inflammatory process of healing post-surgery.   Our bodies are very effective at laying down collagen, a strong and inflexible fiber, to create stability at the site of an incision.  A physical therapist can treat your scar with targeted massage techniques to promote better skin flexibility. We treat scars all over the body including episiotomy scars in postpartum women.

Friends, family members or loved ones can come to your session

At Shift we believe that patient comfort comes first.  If you would find it helpful to have a companion at your session, we can accommodate you.  

Babies are welcome

Arranging child care to go to physical therapy can be overwhelming, especially as a new parent.  We understand. If you would like to bring your baby or child we can accommodate you. Your child would be in the treatment room with you and your therapist during your session at Shift.

Click here or call our office today on 212 604 1316 to book your first session with one of our pelvic health physical therapists.