Diana Smith, PT, MPT is specifically trained in evaluation and treatment for conditions affecting the pelvic floor, including pelvic pain and lower back pain, urinary incontinence, peri-partum care, and early stages of pelvic organ prolapse. Your evaluation and treatment will be specific to your condition and goals, and you will receive an individual home treatment plan for how to manage and to improve your symptoms.
Do you experience any of these symptoms? Physical therapy may be very beneficial for you!
- Sudden, strong urge to get to the toilet.
- Need to use the restroom after a short time.
- Pelvic pain during activities or certain movements.
- Frequent waking to use the restroom.
- Leakage when changing positions.
- Leakage during exercise.
- Prior or current hip and/or back pain.
- Heavy feeling in your pelvis.
- Discomfort or weakness during or after pregnancy.
- History of pelvic surgery with recurrence of symptoms.
What to expect at your first visit:
At your first visit, Diana will complete an in-depth evaluation. This will include a general medical history, a history related to your current condition, and questions about your eating, drinking, and voiding habits.
Your posture and your hip and abdominal musculature will be checked for contributing factors such as tightness and weakness. The muscles of your pelvis (the pelvic floor) will be evaluated to determine any weakness and incoordination that may be present and contributing to your incontinence. This may include an external assessment to determine if you can isolate this muscle group, and may include an internal assessment to determine your strength of these muscles, as well as the anatomical position of your muscles and the organs they support.
What to expect with treatment:
You will receive specific exercise instruction, to improve the quality of a pelvic floor contraction, relaxation, stretching and strengthening activities. Patients will also learn application of techniques to carryover from stationary positions to movements and specific strategies to manage their condition during work, recreation, and sleep.
Our goals are to decrease or eliminate your symptoms and to develop strategies for you to manage future episodes of symptoms if they occur. We want to help you return to the activities in life which make it satisfying and confident!
What is Urinary Incontinence?
Incontinence refers to the involuntary loss of urine. Stress incontinence is leakage when there is increased pressure on the bladder during an activity as when sneezing or exercising. Stress incontinence usually results from weakness and lack of support in the muscles of the pelvic floor. These muscles attach and connect from the pubic bone to the tailbone within the pelvis. The pelvic floor muscles also work to strengthen the low back, to stabilize the pelvic bones, and to help with sexual function. Women with stress incontinence often have “under active” pelvic floor muscles.
Urge incontinence is the loss of urine when a person feels a sudden strong urge to urinate. Women with urge incontinence often have weak or “over active” bladder muscles which squeeze without sufficient control of the pelvic floor.
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
Physical therapy will focus on improving muscle control and performance to reduce and resolve incontinence. You will learn about the urinary system, the abdominal and pelvic muscles, and how they perform together normally. You will develop strategies to assist with routine daily activities and recreation, and how to change habits which may have developed while you have experienced these symptoms. Your physical therapist will train you with specialized exercises to improve the performance of these muscle groups, to carry over to the situations when you experience symptoms, and to maintain your new status. A typical course of treatment will extend between 4 – 12 visits depending on an individual’s condition.
What is Pelvic Pain?
Pelvic pain is described as pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis, or perineum. The pain may be aching or burning and it may be brief or longer lasting. Pelvic pain can be caused by problems such as pelvic joint dysfunction, muscle imbalance within the muscles of the pelvis and/or trunk, tender points in these muscles, or pressure on one or more nerves in the pelvis. Pelvic pain can also be related to the presence of scar tissue after abdominal or pelvic surgery and can be treated even years after surgery. There can be organic disease processes related to pelvic pain as well therefore it is important to consult your physician prior to initiating pelvic floor PT.
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
Women’s Health physical therapists are specifically trained to evaluate and treat joint dysfunction, muscle performance and nerve entrapment, any which may relate to this condition. Your physical therapist will focus on evaluating the source of the pain, and will then address these restrictions. You will learn exercises and strategies to reduce the intensity and frequency of your symptoms and your physical therapist may utilize hands on techniques to address or targeted exercises to improve muscle strength and to reduce faulty patterns of muscle recruitment. Other treatment strategies may include biofeedback, postural training and strengthening of the abdominal core muscles. A typical course of physical therapy treatment is between 8-12 visits over several weeks to meet satisfactory gains in their condition.
Conditions We Treat
- Stress/Urge Incontinence
- Post-Surgical Pelvic Care
- Dyspaerunia and Vaginismus
- Interstital Cystitis
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse
- Lumbopelvic Stabilization
- Pre/Post Partum Care
- Therapeutic Pilates
- Cancer Related Rehabilitation
- Post Chemotherapy and Radiation Rehabilitation
The American Physical Therapy Association and the Move Forward campaign present “Women’s Health Across the Lifespan,” an easy reference e-book for patients detailing how a PT specializing in women’s health can help treat the many specific conditions affecting women. Including topics like interstitial cystitis, peri-natal care, and incontinence.