A woman’s body experiences many different stresses during her lifetime. These stresses can accumulate over time and lead to muscular and structural imbalances such as back pain, urinary incontinence, and pelvic pain. Other stresses include childbirth, gynecological issues and surgeries such as hysterectomy and cesarean delivery. Physical Therapists who specialize in women’s health issues assist women in achieving their individual optimal function during their lives. Women of all ages can benefit from specialized Physical Therapy.
Conditions we treat
Pregnancy and Post-Pregnancy Related:
Diastasis Recti Pubic and Sacro-iliac Joint Dysfunction
Post-cesarean Delivery Episiotomy Pain
Vaginal Wall Weakness:
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Female Post Surgical Conditions:
Post Surgery Hysterectomy
Post Bladder Suspension Surgery
Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome
Urinary Stress Incontinence
Urinary Urge Incontinence
Mid Back Pain
Low Back Pain/Sciatica
Sacro-iliac Joint Pain
Shoulder Pain/ Frozen
Shoulder Hip Pain/Bursitis
Pelvic Pain Syndromes:
Pelvic Floor Pain Disorders
Levator Ani/ Pelvic Floor Muscle Pain
Other Post-Surgical Conditions:
How we treat them
Tissue Mobilization: Using specialized techniques to target your body’s specific needs, our trained therapists can work to mobilize connective, myofascial, and soft tissue. This can greatly improve your body’s pain and basic functions.
Biofeedback Technology: Biofeedback machines are safe and effective way to gage your rehabilitation process. The biofeedback machine determines the strength of the pelvic floor muscles. Sensors are placed externally or internally in the pelvic area and help determine the ability of a person to contract these muscles. These measurements are visualized on a monitor. Measurements are recorded each visit to determine your personal improvement over time. Muscle stimulation can be added to the rectal or vaginal sensor to help improve muscle strength. This is helpful for patients with neuromuscular diseases like multiple sclerosis. Biofeedback is only a small part of the pelvic floor rehabilitation process. Sometimes tissues adhesions from previous surgeries and old injuries around the pelvis prevent the pelvic muscles from contracting properly. Therefore, biofeedback is used as tool for patients who need to visualize the contraction of their muscles but should not consider this tool as the only option in their rehabilitation to improve incontinence.
Therapeutic Exercises: A key component to your recovery process will be the implementation of an exercise regimen. Our trained therapists will go over exercises with you in person and set up a home exercise program for you so that you can proactively work towards recovery.
Now Introducing: Belly After Baby
A free information session for new mothers
Sometimes in an effort to get rid of the “baby bump”, women often want to get back to the gym and start working out again. Physical activity is good and recommended, however, safe exercise habits is essential. Start building physical activity into your schedule, for example, take a walk with the baby in the stroller, with your dog, or with a friend! After childbirth, correct posture, body mechanics, and movement patterns is essential. Throughout the day, it is important to perform activities in a way that protects and prevents excessive pressure or stress within the abdominal region. It is recommended that initially women avoid aggressive abdominal workouts such as plank exercises, full sit ups, intense Pilates classes or “ab” classes (unless working with a therapist or professional trained to work with women during and after pregnancy). These activities may cause or worsen a Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA) and/or pain in the abdominal region if performed incorrectly or performed in a way that increases stress and pressure within the abdomen prior to regaining good muscular control and stability.
Diastasis Recti Abdominis, also called DRA, is the widening and separation of the left and right rectus abdominis muscles, which are the abdominal muscles closest to the surface. These are the muscles that bulge if someone has “six-pack abs”. DRA most commonly occurs towards the end of pregnancy and in the early postpartum time, however, may extend six months and over a year after delivery. A dense line of connective tissue, called the linea alba, separates the right and left rectus abdominis muscles and spans from bottom tip of the breastbone (the xyphoid process), down through the umbilicus (belly button), and finally down to the pelvis. The linea alba is the midline area that unifies the connective tissue that supports the rectus abdominis and the deep abdominal muscles. During pregnancy, the linea alba becomes stretched and spreads further apart as the baby bump becomes larger and larger. Sometimes, this distance of separation can increase even after the baby is delivered. Imagine the entire mid to lower torso area as a flexible, yet sturdy, cylinder-shaped exercise ball. Altered strength and stability in any part of this cylinder may affect other areas ability to function properly. Women after childbirth may experience: abdominal pain, torso feeling wobbly and weak, back pain, pelvic girdle or sacroiliac (SI) joint pain or dysfunction, urinary or fecal incontinence and/or sexual dysfunction. These health care concerns may or may not be present when someone has a DRA. It is important, however, to be screened and properly educated on prevention and/or management of DRA or other health related concerns to improve a woman’s ability and comfort when safely performing activities throughout the day.
Central Bucks Physical Therapy, LLC is committed to improving the quality of life for women in our region. Belly After Baby was developed to provide new mothers with a 15-20 minute, no-cost, DRA (Diastasis Rectus Abdominis) screening and brief education session. Simple activities are introduced to retrain and strengthen deep abdominal muscles. Exercise precautions, proper body mechanics and posture are discussed. All participants are given baseline measurements of the distance between the rectus abdominis muscles (performed with a tape measure) to compare and to guide recommendations. Follow up with an appropriate health care provider is recommended if a DRA and/or other health care concerns are suspected. Research has found that DRA and other health care concerns can improve with education and specific exercise.
For more information or to schedule a 15-20 minute, no-cost session with a women’s health physical therapist, give us a call at 215-345-3260.