What should I expect on the first in-person visit?
- We’ll start by talking a bit about YOU – your medical history and any other background info, but also your goals, your true desires of what you’d like to get back to doing! Your first visit lasts about one and a half hours.
- Basically, we’ll look at how you move (or don’t), how you stand/sit and then run a few tests. The physical part is a thorough orthopedic screening and functional movement evaluation combined with an abdominal and pelvic-specific examination. That will possibly include an internal assessment (vaginal and/or rectal as appropriate to diagnosis).
- We’ll immediately go over your findings and develop a realistic plan of care based on your physical presentation, goals, schedule and needs. You’ll receive treatment during that very first session! You can expect to be sent home with homework and/or resources to review.
- Follow-up visits are either scheduled ahead of time or set up after that first visit. The frequency and length of visits depends on your particular situation (severity of symptoms, distance from clinic, need for in-person follow-up, etc).
- All sessions are 1-on-1 with the original evaluating PT – completed in a warm and private treatment space.
What are the most common diagnoses treated?
(In no particular order)
- Pelvic pain (acute, chronic)
- Vaginismus/Dyspareunia (Pain with Penetration)
- Levator Ani Syndrome
- Pudendal Neuralgia
- Interstitial Cystitis (IC) / Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS)
- Male Pelvic Pain
- Vulvodynia / Vestibulodynia
- Abdominal, Hip, Sacro-iliac (SIJ) or Low Back Pain
- Pubic Symphysis dysfunction
- Coccygodynia (Tailbone Pain)
Pelvic / Supportive Dysfunction
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse (Cystocele, Rectocele, Prolapse)
- Constipation (Slow Transit / Outlet Obstruction)
- Urinary Incontinence (Stress, Urge, Mixed)
- Dysfunctional Voiding (Hesitancy, Frequency, Retention)
- Fecal Incontinence
- Prenatal, Pregnancy and Postpartum Issues
- Diastasis Recti
Surgically related Issues
- Abdominal / Pelvic Adhesions
- Prostatectomy Issues (Urinary, Erectile)
- Pelvic Reconstruction
- Endometriosis Excision
- Laparoscopy (for varying reasons)
What treatments are offered?
- Evaluation: The first session begins with a thorough review of your history and symptoms. Then a physical evaluation is provided, including postural assessment, functional movement evaluation, orthopedic screening, and as appropriate internal and external pelvic examination. In truth, evaluation is ongoing – each session will include assessment of current conditions and how they relate to pre-treatment, initial evaluation and so forth. More formal evaluations and reports are completed at regular intervals as your therapy progresses.
- Manual Therapeutic Techniques: Gentle hands-on approach to reduce tension and pain, improve coordination and retrain muscle function. The most frequently used techniques include Myofascial Release (MFR), Visceral Mobilization (VM), Muscle Energy Techniques (MET), Integrated Manual Therapy (IMT), Trigger-Point Release (TrP), and Cranio-Sacral Therapy (CST). A key to this – ALL manual techniques are supported with exercise, taping, re-education and functional training to ensure that the effects do not wear off between sessions.
- Neurological re-education: Pelvic retraining involves improved coordination with the surrounding structures for safe and pain-free movement. All tissues are involved, including muscles, connective tissue, nerves, bones, joints, and organs. The pelvis is also the connection point for the upper and lower body – coordinated movement and appropriate recruitment of muscles is essential for function. One of the powerful tools for retraining the appropriate neuromuscular activation (Neurac) patterns is Redcord.
- Exercise / Activity Training: Whether the exercises/activities are directed toward strengthening, tension reduction, or training optimal recruitment patterns, they are all vital to supporting other clinical treatments provided. (Note: I emphasize “activities” in addition to “exercises” because for many people with pain, traditional exercises can be difficult or even contraindicated and should not be part of the program. However, there are many activities these people can do to reduce the pain/tension that involve the pelvic floor.) We have a dedicated team of movement experts – our Performance Specialists – who are ready to progress your exercise to the next level in a balanced, safe and effective manner.
- Home Treatment Program: Clinical visits are necessary, but much of the program rests in self-care and self-training. Independence from therapy is a primary goal and your confidence in being able to regain control is essential. Some forms of treatment you would complete at home include manual techniques, exercises /activities, behavioral training (bladder retraining, dietary and nutritional modification), vaginal/rectal dilators, vaginal weights, and sexual health training to progress personal/clinical goals.
- Perineal Electrical Stimulation (e-stim): Electrical stimulation may sound intimidating, but applied appropriately it is not so scary. It is a low-level electrical current applied through either a rectal or vaginal sensor in an effort to retrain pelvic floor neuromuscular structures. Indications for using e-stim may include increasing strength, coordination or to reduce tension patterns. It has proved particularly useful in urgency reduction (both urinary and fecal).