What is Pelvic Health Physical Therapy?
More commonly known as pelvic floor physical therapy, pelvic health physical therapy is physical therapy for the muscles, connective tissues, and organs of the abdominal and pelvic spaces. Pelvic health physical therapists are specially trained to perform assessments and treatments specific to the abdominal and pelvic spaces of the body in order to help release tight muscles, scars, and other tissues,
and retrain muscles, coordination, and balance in the pelvic areas.
While the focus is on the pelvis, this type of physical therapy still uses a whole-body approach in understanding how the challenges expressed in the pelvic may affect and be affected by other areas of the body, such as the breath, arms,
legs, feet, neck, and head – Really, anything in the body can be affected by anything else! Therefore the
assessment will also look at how you walk, squat, stand, sit, engage movements in activities you love,
and breathe, among others.
Specialized training allows pelvic health physical therapists to provide the patient with individualized assessments and interventions, often including an internal pelvic exam (vaginal or rectal, depending on patient need and practitioner training). While this may feel invasive or off-putting to some, the internal pelvic exam, when performed by a trained physical therapist, provides invaluable input to the treatment plan for an individual patient. This exam is considered the gold standard in pelvic health physical therapy for understanding how the pelvic floor muscles are functioning and how the organs such as the bladder, uterus/ cervix, and rectum are positioned in the pelvic space, which can often contribute to abdominal and pelvic challenges. Note that this exam, while recommended and helpful, is not required to work on addressing a pelvic health challenge if an individual feels uncomfortable with it.
Conditions often addressed with pelvic health physical therapy include: bladder leaking or incontinence at all ages, pelvic pain, painful periods, prolapsed organs, painful bladder syndrome/ interstitial cystitis, post-surgical scars on the abdomen or pelvis, pre- or post-hysterectomy care, digestive challenges, and bowel sphincter dysfunction, to name a few. Post-partum pelvic physical therapy is also important to the healing mother’s journey by addressing pelvic floor weakness, diastasis rectus abdominis (DRA)/separated abdominals, prolapse, bladder leaking, pain with intercourse, constipation, and low back/ SI joint pain, as well as supporting women with a safe progression of returning to the physical activities they love.
Treatments to address issues above often include gentle manual therapy (internal and/or external), coaching, education, movement practice and prescription, breath work, pelvic floor exercises and/ or relaxation, and the use of tools such as vaginal dilators.
While Beth Anne does not treat those who identify as male with male anatomy in her practice, it is important to know that these individuals can also benefit from pelvic health physical therapy for conditions such as constipation, urinary issues, painful or premature ejaculation, pelvic pain, or post-prostatectomy-related challenges. Beth Anne is happy to provide you with a referral if this is your
Meet Our Practitioner
Beth Anne Fisher
Beth Anne Fisher PT, DPT, CSCS, WHC and Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® Practitioner is a physical therapist with 17 years’ clinical experience in a variety of settings. She currently practices pelvic health physical therapy from a holistic angle at her practice, Womb Matters PLLC (www.wombmatters.com). Given her unique set of research-based and holistic pelvic health training, Beth Anne’s work primarily focuses on addressing issues related to female pelvic health including issues related to painful or irregular periods (uterine position, pelvic pain, endometriosis, optimal natural fertility, etc), post-partum challenges (leaking, prolapse, weakness, pain, scars, DRA), and menopausal transitions, in addition to addressing other abdominal scar-related issues and digestion. She integrates research-based pelvic health physical therapy with holistic, gentle hands-on therapies to address organ alignment, circulation, pelvic floor muscles and function, and energetic flow. As a practitioner who deeply values the whole person, she also enjoys integrating her training in nutrition through the Integrative Women’s Health Institute and in spiritual direction through the Center for Spirituality at Work, when it feels responsive to her client’s needs. Learn more about Beth Anne’s work at her website: www.wombmatters.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-620-6699.