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With a state of the art computer-driven biofeedback system, pelvic floor electrical stimulation unit and a specifically designed exercise program from a qualified physical therapist, local help is now available for issues with urinary incontinence, pelvic floor pain and problems during pregnancy and postpartum.
Marian Merritt, physical therapist, has recently completed course work through the Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute and has obtained certificates of academic proficiency achievement in the following: pelvic floor 1 — female pelvic floor function, dysfunction and treatment; pelvic floor 2a — colorectal and coccyx conditions, male pelvic floor, pudendal nerve; pelvic floor 2b — urogynecologic examination and treatment intervention; pregnancy and postpartum – clinical highlights.
While most people believe leaking urine is a normal part of aging or the normal consequence of childbirth, it is not.
Urinary incontinence can be the result of weakened pelvic floor muscles. These muscles attach from the pelvic bones and run from front to back to form a sling-like structure that supports the internal organs and controls the sphincter muscles. They aid in strengthening the low back, stabilizing the pelvic girdle and help with sexual function. When these muscles become weakened they no longer perform as well.
Pelvic floor pain present during speculum exam, such as during a PAP test, when using a tampon, during intercourse and during normal activities of daily living can be treated by physical therapy as well.
Physical therapy intervention is tailored to address the type of incontinence or pain and can include behavioral modification, improved functional mobility, bladder retraining, biofeedback, electrical stimulation, physiological quieting, muscle downregulation and a personalized exercise program to increase awareness and strength of the pelvic floor muscles.
Issues during pregnancy and postpartum can include low back pain, sacroiliac joint dysfunction and various other conditions that arise during pregnancy. A personalized physical therapy program addresses proper exercise techniques, posture and ergonomics during pregnancy. Evaluation for optimum delivery position can also be determined.
After birth, physical therapy can play a role in scar management (episiotomy and Cesarean section), diastasis recti, prolapse, coccydynia (tailbone pain) and many other postpartum conditions.
Consult with your doctor to see if a physical therapy referral is right for you. For more information about the Women’s Health Physical Therapy Program and what we can do for you, contact: Pioneers Medical Center Rehabilitation Department, Marian Merritt PT, (970)878-9298.