What to Expect on Your First Visit with a Pelvic Physical Therapist
So your doctor has referred you to a Pelvic Physical Therapist… Now what?
You may be wondering how this will help with your concerns and symptoms. You may be wondering “how does this work”. What will happen during the first visit and follow up treatments. You may be feeling anxious or nervous. You may wonder if we treat women and men. You may feel like you have a hundred questions. Well, you are not alone! We hope this will help to ease some of your concerns and questions.
Pelvic Physical Therapy has been around for over 25 years. Don’t feel bad if you have never heard of it. Most people that we see have never heard of it. Pelvic Physical Therapists are specially training in the anatomy of the pelvis and surrounding area; muscles, joints, nerves, organs, connective tissue, and how this may be contributing to your symptoms.
What to expect on your first visit with a Pelvic Physical Therapist.
- ID – Drivers License
- Insurance card
- Any tests and records that you think may be relevant to your concern
- Form of payment
Arriving early to take care of paperwork will prevent cutting into valuable time with your Pelvic Physical Therapist.
- Your Pelvic Physical Therapy will take a though history and discuss your symptoms. For example, if you are seeking treatment for urinary incontinence (aka urinary leaking) You will be asked questions such as how frequently does this occur, what causes you to leak urine, are you wearing pads, etc.
- You will be educated on anatomy, muscle, joints, nerves, organs, connective tissue that may have a role in your symptoms.
- Based on your history and symptoms an exam will be perform. This may include observation and palpation of back, pelvis, hips, abdomen and pelvic floor. Your therapist is looking for restrictions of mobility or movement, cause of pain or cause of pain that is referred to another location. For example, if you had a C-section, is there a restriction in the scar or connective tissue? This may be contributing urinary incontinence.
- Next, your therapist would like to do an internal exam of your pelvic floor. Ladies, don’t panic! No speculum is involved, only a gloved finger. Gentlemen, same for you, one gloved finger.
We know that many of you don’t like being touched and especially “down there” this may feel like a deal breaker. Your Physical Therapist will absolutely respect your wishes and will not force this on you.
But let me explain why this is an important part of the exam. When symptoms such as burning, throbbing or aching are described as “deep inside.” Or feeling of heaviness on pelvic floor from pelvic organ prolapse (POP) Being able to palpate the muscle, connective tissue or nerve, will us give valuable information as the cause of your symptoms and how best to treat them.
For example, palpating the pelvic floor, your therapist may determine you have muscle trigger points causing ineffective muscle contraction or pain. Or tight connective tissue that may restrictive decreased blood flow and increase (hyper) sensitivity – pain
If this does not put your mind at ease, please, still come to the first visit and discuss your concerns with your therapist. It makes us feel sad that you have symptoms or concern and are willing to continue with your symptoms and not seek help from a Pelvic Physical Therapist because you don’t want a pelvic floor assessment.
- After the assessment is complete, your Pelvic Physical Therapist will discuss her findings, explain what will be included in your treatment. Treatment may include manual techniques such as trigger point release, visceral mobilization, connective tissue release, scar tissue release, stretches, exercises, E-stim, or Biofeedback.
- You will be given “homework”. I can already hear the sigh! You may only have treatment 1 or 2 x week. If you are not making changes in daily habits, exercising, stretching etc, your Physical Therapist will spend the hour undoing a weeks worth of something that is contributing to your symptoms. For example, if you are sitting all day in a slouched posture, it may be causing your pelvic floor muscle to be tight and ineffective to control urinary incontinence or cause your pain. Unfortunately, if you don’t do your “homework” then you will see minimal improvement in symptoms and not get the outcome you desire.
We hope this has answered your question and put you at ease. If you still have questions, please call your nearest office providing Pelvic Physical Therapy and ask to speak with the Pelvic PT. She will gladly answer your questions.
Current offices with Pelvic Physical Therapy are Orlando-downtown, Winter Park, Waterford and Sanford.