At Peterson Physical Therapy we offer a wide range of services for women and men reguarding urinary and fecal incontinence, prostate surgery, female and male sexual dysfunctions, fibromyalgia, pre and post-pregnancy conditions, post breast surgery and lymphedema, and osteoporosis. Below are the most common conditions that we treat.
The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that run between the pubic bone and the tailbone that act as a hammock to support the internal organs, namely the bladder, uterus, and rectum. This group of muscles may become weak due to pregnancy and delivery, pelvic surgeries, obesity, chronic coughing, or chronic constipation. This weakness can contribute to symptoms of urinary/fecal incontinence and/or organ prolapse. It is estimated that more than 17 million Americans suffer from urinary incontinence, but even fewer seek help for these symptoms. There are two main types of urinary incontinence, stress and urge incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs when sneezing, coughing, or laughing is accompanied by urinary leakage. Urge incontinence is associated with a strong, sudden urge of needing to get to the restroom NOW, and being unable to control leakage. Urinary incontinence is not a normal part of aging or as a result of having children. Not even a drop of urine is normal, even if it is infrequent. The pelvic floor muscles have a function to act like a sphincter or “turn off” switch to close off the urethra (which is the tube that allows you to urinate). These muscles when strong and used appropriately can prevent urinary leakage from occurring.
Organ prolapse occurs when the bladder, uterus, or even the rectum is not in its proper place. When the pelvic floor muscles are weak, they do not provide the support for these organs. Pelvic floor exercises, known as “kegels” can strengthen the pelvic floor to provide support to pelvic organs and prevent urinary leakage. There are two types of muscle fibers in the pelvic floor muscles, so we must strengthen both types of fibers through quick kegel contractions and longer hold kegel contractions, such as 5 to 10-second hold. Sometimes kegel exercises alone are just not enough to alter your symptoms, but physical therapy offers additional conservative treatment for pelvic floor weakness. Physical therapy treatments for urinary incontinence and organ prolapse include, but are not limited to, pelvic floor exercises, biofeedback training (in which surface electrodes on place on the skin and pelvic muscle activity can be watched on a computer), neuromuscular re-education, resistance training with the use of vaginal weights, body mechanics, education, and abdominal strengthening.
Urinary incontinence is common immediately following prostate surgery, whether there is partial or complete removal of the gland. Some men have longer term difficulties with controlling the bladder. Kegel exercises can be helpful to increase the strength in the pelvic floor muscles and provide better control of the bladder. It is recommended that pelvic floor exercises, or kegels, be started before and following prostate surgery. When symptoms of incontinence do not resolve, then physical therapy may be helpful. Treatment may include advanced pelvic floor exercises, bladder training to control urgency and frequency, electrical stimulation to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, and appropriate use of the pelvic floor with activities of daily living, including sneezing, coughing, laughing, and lifting. Abdominal strengthening and use of proper body mechanics can also affect urinary incontinence following prostate surgery.
Pregnancy and Post Partum
Pregnancy and delivery are life-changing events, to say the least. During pregnancy there is a fluctuation in hormones that can cause changes in a woman’s posture, center of gravity, weight, and abdominal strength. This can lead to aches and pains that are all too common during pregnancy. A woman may experience back pain, back pain that radiates down the leg, abdominal pain/discomfort, mid back and neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, urinary leakage, pubic symphysis pain, coccyodynia (tailbone pain), headaches, and even rib pain. You do not have to live with these aches and pains! Gentle exercises may provide relief from these pregnancy-related symptoms. Physical therapy treatment including therapeutic exercise, stabilization training, soft tissue mobilization, muscle energy techniques, and postural training can decrease or eliminate the discomforts associated with pregnancy. In addition, a properly fitted maternity support belt may provide relief from symptoms. At Peterson Physical Therapy we can fit and supply you with a maternity belt.
Post-partum is not only a time for your baby to adjust to its new surroundings, but it can be a time for you to get back on track with your fitness and wellness. Activities like child care and nursing can place extra stress on your body, specifically your back. Your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles will need to be strengthened to help protect and care for your back. Post-partum exercises include kegel exercises as well as strengthening and flexibility exercises. Post-partum urinary stress incontinence is not a normal part of having a baby, but physical therapy can provide you with a guided exercise routine to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Physical therapy can provide you with an appropriate exercise routine to meet your unique healthcare needs and give you suggestions on how best to complete those childcare activities without injuring your back. Your newest arrival needs you to be at your best!
Breast Surgery and Lymphedema
A difficult stage in a woman’s life is a diagnosis of breast cancer. As the physicians provide the best course of action, the resultant treatment, which may include a mastectomy, can alter your body image. In addition, there may be limitations in the strength and range of motion in your upper body and arms. After breast surgery, you may not know what you can and cannot do. Your posture may be altered. As you undergo breast surgery, you may need some assistance with strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Our physical therapist can provide the answers to many questions you may have regarding your mobility in your arm and across your incisional sites. In addition, Peterson Physical Therapy can provide treatment for lymphedema, which is a condition that may develop after a mastectomy or lumpectomy in which your arm or chest may become swollen. Manual lymph drainage and compression bandaging are physical therapy options that treat lymphedema. Physical therapy will provide you with information about preventing and managing lymphedema.
Female Sexual Dysfunctions
Female Sexual Dysfunctions
Female sexual dysfunctions include dyspareunia (painful intercourse), vestibulitis, vulvodynia, anorgasmia, and vaginismus. Female sexual dysfunctions can be very debilitating. Vestibulitis may be described as a burning and itching sensation in the perineum. Tight pants, jeans, and even your underwear may be inrritating. Your pelvic symptoms may go undiagnosed or ignored for many years, but your symptoms are very real! Female sexual dysfunctions significantly limit your ability to have sexual intercourse to the point of avoiding intercourse. This often impacts your quality of life and your intimate relationship with your partner. Pelvic floor dysfunction is a big part of female sexual dysfunctions and described as a hypertonicity (muscle spasm) in the pelvic floor muscles attaching from the pubic bone to the tailbone. Hypertonicity in these muscles can become chronic and lead to bladder and bowel dysfunctions because the muscles may not relax entirely while voiding or having a bowel movement. At Peterson Physical Therapy we provide various treatment approaches including manual therapy such as massage and trigger point release, biofeedback for relaxation of the pelvic floor musculature, electrical stimulation, vaginal dilator therapy, and lumbopelvic stabilization exercises.
Osteoporosis occurs when bone is broken down and becomes fragile and thus more likely to fracture or break. Fractures often occur in the hips and spine and careful attention needs to be made for appropriate steps to avoid fractures in these areas. It is suggested that you get your recommended amount of calcium and vitamin D each day, get regular weight bearing exercise, avoid alcohol and smoking, and secure your house to avoid falls. Talk to your physician about calcium and vitamin D. Weight bearing exercises can be prescribed by our physical therapists, but do include activities such as walking and weight lifting. Avoid falls by using rug mats so that your rugs don’t slide when walked on. Use night lights if you get up during the night so that you can see where you are going. Pay attention to pets that can get under your feet easily. Your balance is very important in avoiding falls. Peterson Physical Therapy can also instruct you in balance exercises.