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Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy: More than Just Kegels

By Amber Langel, Physical Therapist

Do you leak urine when you cough, laugh, or sneeze? Do you wear depends or a pad because you are worried about leaking in public? Despite what many thing, it is not normal to leak urine at any age. Pelvic floor physical therapy can help with these issues. And there is a LOT more to pelvic floor physical therapy than just “Kegels.”

So, what are “Kegels?” Kegels are pelvic floor strengthening exercises that can be implemented during physical therapy, but there are many more options and varieties of treatment available. Physical therapy can also include exercises, soft tissue mobilization, breathing exercises, posture training, stretching, taping, bracing, pelvic floor exercises (Kegels), general strengthening, education on diet and exercise, and more!

What can pelvic floor therapy treat? Pelvic floor physical therapy can treat a variety of conditions including pain during pregnancy, postpartum pain/incontinence, prolapse, pelvic pain, pain with intercourse, back pain, incontinence, and diastasis recti. Treatment focuses on your personal goals and helping you gain more control of your body. Currently our program supports the treatment of women, and there are plans for treatment of men to be included in the near future.

So what does a pelvic floor examination look like? A typical examination may include an internal examination to assess muscular strength, function, and tension, which is different from a typical gynecological exam. There is no speculum involved during the examination and this examination is not required for treatment.

An external examination includes differentiating between muscular and hormonal issues and to assess functional strength of the musculature. The examination also includes a general orthopedic assessment that will evaluate back, hips, and lower extremities just like a typical physical therapy session. Having a thorough examination helps the therapist determine the best treatment plan for you to return to your prior level of function.

Our current pelvic health physical therapist is Amber Langel, PT, DPT. Amber is a new graduate who is passionate about helping individuals gain more control of their bodies and to educate everyone about the pelvic floor. Amber studied at Clarke University and had two clinicals that included pelvic floor evaluation and treatment. She completed Herman & Wallace’s Pelvic Floor Function, Dysfunction and Treatment course, stays up to date on the latest research, and attends local conferences.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you could benefit from pelvic health physical therapy. In order to see a physical therapist, please contact your physician or the Rehabilitation Department at The Orthopedic Institute at Southwest Health. For further questions to determine if pelvic health physical therapy is the right treatment for you, call our rehabilitation department at 608-342-4748.

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