Excel Rehab and Sports Seneca believes in putting patients’ needs first. They understand that injuries and chronic pain affect a person’s daily life and overall wellness. For this reason, Excel Rehab and Sports develops personalized treatment plans to sustain individual goals and lifestyles. With their latest offering, pelvic health physical therapy, Excel Rehab and Sports is taking the same specialized approach to help mothers heal after pregnancy and childbirth.
“During pregnancy and after birth, the pressure system, made up in part of the abdominal wall and pelvic floor muscles, changes dramatically. Left unaddressed, these changes can lead to postpartum dysfunction like urine, gas, fecal leaking, pelvic organ prolapse or pain in the pelvis, low back or hips. Sometimes these issues lead to surgical procedures when women reach their 50s or 60s that may have been avoided with conservative care, like physical therapy, in the early postpartum period,” said Stefanie Davis, PT, DPT, Excel Rehab and Sports Seneca’s clinical director for PT.
Many women are not aware that pelvic floor physical therapy is an option and hope that postpartum incontinence and pelvic floor weakness will resolve on their own. Many mothers simply accept these conditions as a part of life after birth, said Davis. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way, and mothers are pleasantly surprised with the benefits they experience when working with a pelvic floor therapist.
As with all of Excel’s treatments, pelvic floor physical therapy starts with a thorough evaluation. Therapists gather a detailed description of symptoms, reproductive history, activities and goals. They then conduct a total body examination, which includes posture, movement, core strength and more.
Davis recognizes that women can be uncomfortable with pelvic exams. For these women, Davis starts with reconnecting a woman’s breathing with pelvic floor and abdominal muscle activation and relaxation as well as any manual therapy or other therapeutic exercise techniques that are needed based on her evaluation. If the woman is comfortable, Davis conducts an internal pelvic floor muscle exam. By evaluating the patient’s ability to contract and relax pelvic muscles, Davis can determine the muscles’ endurance, trigger points and sensitivities. Using methods such as vaginal and rectal sensors, biofeedback, electrical stimulation and tactile feedback, a plan of care is designed and healing can begin. Follow-up visits include soft tissue work, reconnecting abdominal and pelvic muscles and retraining and strengthening the system.
“Pelvic floor muscles are just like other muscles in the body. They play a role in the kinetic chain and affect total body function,” Davis explained. “There are countries in which women go in for the six-to-eight-week postpartum visit and are automatically referred for a physical therapy pelvic floor muscle exam. I would like to see that happen in this country as well.”
Until then, she hopes that past patients will share their successes with other women, and mothers will seek out pelvic floor therapy. With Excel Rehab and Sports, mothers enjoy an uplifting and supportive environment and direct communication with their therapist before, during and after care, helping them heal and face the physical demands of motherhood with greater stamina and endurance.
For more information on Excel Rehab and Sports, visit excelrehabsports.com and learn more about their three locations in the Upstate.
By Isabel Alvarez Arata