Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy – The Roles of Pelvic Health Physiotherapy

Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy – The Roles of Pelvic Health Physiotherapy

Physiotherapists with pelvic health specialties have a wide range of skills and techniques to help you manage pain and symptoms. These include manual therapy, Biofeedback, and education on exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve your bladder control.

Pelvic floor physiotherapy is a growing area that treats various conditions relating to the pelvic muscles and related organs. This includes pelvic pain, painful bladder syndrome, vaginismus, and vulvodynia.


Pelvic health physiotherapy plays a critical role in strengthening women’s pelvic health. It’s a safe and effective treatment that helps alleviate pain, control bladder and bowel dysfunction, and improve the overall quality of life.

When you visit a pelvic health physiotherapist, they’ll take a complete history and perform an assessment. The physical exam will typically include an external and internal examination of your pelvic floor muscles and ligaments to check for weakness, tightness, or spasms.

Your therapist will use a combination of techniques to help strengthen weak muscles, reduce tightness and spasms, or teach you how to relax your pelvic floor muscles. Hence, they’re more efficient and less likely to be activated during an emergency. These methods can include modalities like moist heat and electrical stimulation.

The therapist may also perform a rolling skin technique to identify restricted or painful areas of the body that need massaged and joint mobilization to improve flexibility and reduce joint pain. In addition, Biofeedback is often used to retrain your pelvic floor muscles, so they can better regulate their activity when you need them to.

Your physiotherapist can also teach you about good hygiene habits and how to control your bladder and bowel movements and prevent urinary incontinence. This information can make a big difference in your day-to-day life and may help reduce the number of pads you need.


When women seek physical therapy treatment for urinary incontinence, a pelvic health physiotherapist can help them learn about their bodies and their symptoms. They can also teach patients to eat healthy foods and change their lifestyle habits that may contribute to their urinary incontinence symptoms.

Pelvic health physiotherapists often use a combination of modalities and manual techniques to address trigger points, tight muscles, myofascial restrictions, sensitive nerves, muscle coordination issues, and pain. These treatments can include massage, stretches, and manipulations to improve blood circulation, posture, and mobility.

In addition, a physical therapist can offer Biofeedback to monitor how well your pelvic floor muscles are working. This can help you develop better contractions, relaxation, and breathing techniques for optimal strength building.

A physical therapist can also educate patients on their pelvic floor, bowel, and bladder anatomy and how to use the pelvic floor muscles in conjunction with other body parts. This can reduce pain, discomfort, and stress related to these conditions.

A pelvic health physiotherapist can help women of all ages and skill levels. They can recommend exercises and a routine to strengthen the pelvic floor and bladder muscles and address diet, nutrition, toileting habits, and hydration.


Pelvic health physiotherapy is a specialty area within physical therapy that includes a range of courses to train therapists in assessing and managing pelvic dysfunction. These courses are typically developed by private companies and taught through several levels, each focusing on different aspects of pelvic health.

In Canada, a physio’s highest designation is a Women’s Health Clinical Specialist (WCS). These therapists have completed advanced training in pelvic health and are considered true “specialists” by the Physiotherapy Specialty Certification Board of Canada.

Most aspiring pelvic floor therapists go through an undergraduate program in a medical-related field, such as biology or anatomy, to understand the human body and how it functions. After this, they take a postgraduate program in physical therapy to get the required skills to become a PT.

Many pelvic floor physiotherapists also work in primary care clinics where they can improve access to treatment and manage patients with these issues. In addition, they will often collaborate with a nurse to ensure that patients receive the right level of care and get the best results.

Pelvic floor physiotherapy is an effective way to treat women with various symptoms. It can help women with weakened pelvic muscles due to childbirth, surgery, obesity, constipation, menopause, and other conditions. However, it can also help women who have overactive pelvic muscles. This can make it difficult to have sex, empty the bladder or bowels, and use tampons.


Pelvic floor physiotherapists play a significant role in helping women to prevent pelvic health problems such as bladder and bowel leakage, prolapse, and sexual dysfunction. These specialized treatment professionals work within the Australian medical system in technical women’s clinics, health centers, and private practice.

The role of pelvic health physiotherapy involves using evidence-based interventions to treat or prevent conditions related to the pelvic floor. It starts with a comprehensive subjective and objective assessment of a patient’s symptoms to identify the contributing factors.

A comprehensive musculoskeletal evaluation, including the internal pelvic floor muscles, will be conducted. In addition, an internal exam may be completed using an intrarectal probe (inserted into the vagina or rectum) and abdominal sticky pads to assess muscle strength, tone, and control.

Surface electrodes (self-adhesive pads placed on the skin) can be used to check pelvic muscle control for patients who cannot undergo an internal exam. This test is not painful and can be done on both men and women.

For many women, the pelvic floor muscles can be weak or overactive (hypertonic). This can result in problems such as pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, and prolapse of the womb and bladder. In this case, it is essential to strengthen the weak or overactive muscles and retrain them to relax when needed.

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