The muscles of the pelvic floor play a key role in core stability, breathing and posture, as well as the support of the pelvic organs. Pelvic floor muscles work alongside other key muscles to enable proper support of the lower back, pelvis, bladder and bowel.
This guide was designed to help you understand more about pelvic floor muscles and the role they play in health conditions such as:
- Urinary and bowel incontinence
- Uterine, bladder and rectal prolapse
- Sexual dysfunction
- Pelvic pain
- Post-prostatectomy incontinence
- Overactive bladder
- Urinary hesitancy
Physiotherapy for Pelvic Floor Dysfunctions
One potential, non-pharmaceutical intervention for urinary incontinence is physiotherapy. PhysioExcellence can work with you to design a customized program that will help address weakness and spasm, regular bowel and bladder emptying as well as exercises to prevent further injury. Three common techniques that PhysioExcellence uses to help improve bladder control are:
Exercises – Many people simply need to strengthen and re-educate their pelvic floor muscles to dramatically improve their symptoms. Gaining greater control over the muscles deep in your lower abdominals can also help improve pelvic floor muscle function. Rigid contractions of both the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles can actually make leaking or pain worse.
Biofeedback – Although many people have heard of Kegel exercises, more than half are not able to contract the right muscles based on verbal or written instructions . Biofeedback can be used in combination with an exercise program to help make sure you are targeting the proper muscle groups. Biofeedback provides you information by a computer screen or a sound that tells you when you are contracting the correct muscles. This enables you to learn how to control the muscles during functional activities in sitting, standing and lying down. It also lets you know if you are fully allowing the muscles to relax. This is a crucial function especially with clients with pelvic pain.
Muscle Stimulation – Sometimes pelvic floor muscles are so weak that doing exercises (even with biofeedback) isn't enough. The muscles need to be physically reminded how to work properly. To do this your physiotherapist will teach you how pelvic floor muscle electrical stimulation can assist your muscles to remember how to contract. As the muscles start to remember how to work properly, your physiotherapist will add strengthening exercises into your treatment program.
Behavioral modifications are lifestyle and dietary changes that can significantly reduce your symptoms and improve your overall health. Combining behavioral modifications with pelvic floor strengthening techniques improves the effectiveness of your program. Your physiotherapist at PhysioExcellence may include one or all of the following to help improve your control over your bladder:
Bladder Training – People with incontinence often get into the habit of going to the bathroom too often. There are a number of techniques you can use to gradually increase the amount of time between bathroom trips, including learning how to control the urge to urinate and learning how to empty your bladder more completely. A licensed physiotherapist can also give you advice on how to modify your daily habits to help you regain control of your bladder. Monitoring what and how much you drink, losing weight and doing regular exercise may also help reduce or eliminate your symptoms.
Relaxation Techniques – Stress, anxiety and tension only make bladder problems worse. Physiotherapists at PhysioExcellence can instruct you in breathing, postural and relaxation techniques that can help put you back in control.