When I, or one of my colleagues, say “I’m a pelvic physical therapist,” the usual reaction (if other than bewilderment) is “oh, so you help people with Kegels, huh?”. We then feel a surge of obligation and simultaneous delight for the opportunity to share the full array of services that we offer. Pelvic Physical Therapists (also sometimes referred to as Women’s Health Physical Therapists) receive an advanced degree in Physical Therapy (now Doctorate level- DPT) AND we also go through numerous hours of courses specializing in the field of Pelvic Health. This includes everything from Pregnancy/Postpartum to Bowel/Bladder disorders to Female/Male Pelvic Pain.
We certainly can and do teach patients how to do Kegels (pelvic floor exercises) correctly, as many patients don’t activate the right muscles in the right way. However, when we see patients presenting with Chronic Pelvic Pain and pain with sexual attempts, the treatments change drastically. A skilled Pelvic PT, will NOT focus on doing Kegels (contracting the muscles) initially, but will focus on how to relax the muscles and increase the length (not contract).
Interested in learning more about how Physical Therapists treat Chronic Pelvic Pain? Here’s a great link with a full article – Please click on the link to see more!
Beyond Kegels: When do gynecologic problems call for physical therapy?