Now that we have covered some of the things pelvic floor physical therapy (PFPT) can help with in part 2 of my pelvic floor series (if you missed it, you can check it out here!) I’d like to give you some tactical information this part 3 as to how to find a pelvic floor PT, and what to expect from your appointment.
How Can I Find a PFPT?
Once you have your options, I recommend calling and inquiring if they have the services you are looking for. Are you looking for support through pregnancy and postpartum? Do you have diastasis recti? Are you an athlete with pelvic organ prolapse that wants to get back to weightlifting? Does this particular PT support that goal? It’s important to know that just like any other profession, not any and all PT’s are going to be the correct fit for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and if you are thinking they are not a good fit, don’t be afraid to call someone else or get a second opinion.
What If There Is Not a PFPT in My Area?
There are telehealth options available for those that do not have a PFPT in their area. These sessions can be done over the phone or via video call. Tracy Sher offers remote services that you can check out here as well as a number of practitioners you can find here.
What Can I Expect From the First PFPT Appointment?
This will vary based on the practitioner. I will give some general information surrounding what your first appointment might look like. I am not a pelvic floor physical therapist. This information is based upon my own personal experience as well as information I have learned from PFPT colleagues.
Before you have your first appointment you will be asked to fill out some paperwork that will ask you to detail different aspects of your medical history. These questions may include birth history, surgical history, sexual history, bowel and urinary history etc… It’s important to be honest and open with your responses as every response will help your therapist help you.
When you get to your first appointment you may notice that it is different from what you may think of when you think physical therapy. It is not in a gym like atmosphere with people all around doing all kinds of different therapies. You will be in a private space with a physical therapy table and you may see things like therabands, foam rollers, and yoga balls.
You will likely start your appointment talking with your therapist. They will discuss your paperwork, ask any further questions they may have about the reason you are there, the help you are hoping to receive, and any history you noted in your responses. You will then be taken through an examination that will likely include everything from your shoulders to your ankles and include how you move, your range of motion, and tendencies. Even though it is “pelvic floor” physical therapy, everything is connected and your therapist should be getting the whole picture.
Is There an Internal Examination?
Internal examination. This is the part I get the most questions about. If you are uncomfortable with this, that’s ok. Just let your practitioner know. If your therapist is someone that does internal examinations, and you consent, (not all of them do, so if you would like one this is something to ask before your appointment) it will not be like going to the gynecologist. Your practitioner will likely insert a finger and assess the internal muscles for strength, level of tension and laxity, and your ability to connect to those muscles by asking you to perform a few different types of movements.
After your examination, your therapist will go over appropriate treatment options for you. This could include homework, and they should go over each item with you, how to perform that movement correctly, and ensure that you can do so before leaving.
If you have any questions about any of the above or something I did not cover, leave a comment or reach out directly!
[I am a fitness professional that specializes in pregnancy, postpartum, and the pelvic floor. But, I am not a medical professional and am not providing medical advice. I am providing basic information and can help direct you to a pelvic floor medical professional in your area if you need one.]
I am available to work with you remotely online or in person in Rhode Island and parts of Massachusetts. For more information about me and how I can help you through this chapter, please schedule a FREE 15-minute chat here, contact me directly at kerri@gracefitnessandnutrition or visit Grace Fitness and Nutrition.
Stay strong, stay beautiful!