What to Expect at Your First Pelvic Floor PT Appointment
Congrats on scheduling your pelvic floor physical therapy evaluation. You will leave feeling empowered and hopeful about your diagnosis. You will leave with a plan in place that will allow you to regain control of your symptoms and improve your quality of life. With that in mind, let me share with you what you can expect to happen during your physical therapy evaluation.
At Cornerstone Pelvic Therapy, your physical therapist is a trained orthopedic therapist who has chosen to specialize in pelvic floor rehabilitation. She is skilled at assessing your posture, alignment, joint range of motion, muscle strength and she will determine if there is dysfunction within your musculoskeletal system. In addition to the basic orthopedic exam that you might receive at any physical therapy clinic, your pelvic floor PT will also assess your pelvic floor muscles that are located inside of your pelvis.
An internal vaginal or rectal exam (not performed in pediatric pelvic floor exams) can be performed to assess your pelvic floor muscle range of motion and strength. She will walk you through the exam, step by step, educating you about your pelvic floor muscles, where they are located and how to activate them. She might give you a hand held mirror to point out any skin concerns she might have but primarily to “give you a tour” of the female anatomy and to help you to feel more confident about what she is assessing externally. A pelvic floor muscle exam is typically performed without a speculum or stirrups. Your therapist will insert a gloved finger into the vagina or rectum to assess your muscles. She can also determine if you have a vaginal wall prolapse or possible skin conditions that need further evaluation by another provider. As the patient, you are always in control of the session and if something makes you feel uncomfortable or you aren’t ready for an exam, you can always decline an internal exam until you are ready. Furthermore, you are always welcome to bring someone else with you for your exam.
Once your physical therapist has completed the exam, she will explain the findings and put together a tailored physical therapy treatment plan for you. It might include specific guidelines for pelvic muscle strengthening (i.e. kegels) or you might need to focus on stretching and releasing pelvic muscle tightness, but whatever the treatment involves, you can be certain she will have a plan to eliminate or reduce your symptoms.
Pelvic floor PT is not “one size fits all” and your PT sessions will be tailored to your specific goals in addition to the objective findings that your therapist will need to treat. She will likely perform a variety of hands on techniques that will address tissue restrictions or muscle tightness, alignment asymmetries, triggerpoints or joint stiffness. She will educate you on your diagnosis and will listen to your concerns. You can be sure your treatment will also include a home program and it will be essential that you are compliant with this home program so that you can optimize your treatment outcome. Your home program might include exercise recommendations, dietary and behavioral modifications and possibly self treatment techniques, which will give you control over your symptoms and will help you to maintain your progress once you are discharged from PT.
At Cornerstone Pelvic Therapy Clinic you will have direct access to your PT by text and email and when questions or concerns arise in between treatment sessions you can have them answered quickly.