Postpartum Pelvic Floor PT in Grand Rapids
What does Postpartum Pelvic Floor PT Treat?
If you are postpartum and wondering what postpartum pelvic floor PT in Grand Rapids would do for you, read on! We thought it might help you to hear of one woman’s recovery story with us. If, after reading this, you feel postpartum pelvic floor PT could help you, Contact Us
Here’s a story of one woman we helped. Her problems: pelvic and perineal pain, pelvic floor dysfunction with bladder and bowel control problems, postpartum recovery following severe pelvic trauma with labor and delivery and pelvic reconstructive surgery.
Like all new moms, this woman was impressive! She worked full time, was in love with her baby, struggled with sleep deprivation and wanted to get back to being athletic. When we met, she was 6 months postpartum with problems of bladder/bowel control and pelvic instability, pelvic pain, pelvic floor weakness and diastasis recti abdominus (split abdominals). She experienced inner thigh and pubic pain with walking, exercising, moving in and out of positions when picking up her baby and when driving and moving her foot from gas to the brake. This pain was her dominant concern, but she also wasn’t happy to have embarrassing and unexpected loss of gas, problems with bladder control, a weak abdomen and a diastasis recti abdominus (split abdominals) as well as knee pains. Before I met her, when her baby was 4 months old, she had pelvic surgery to correct a serious injury from her labor and delivery. She had been referred to me by her urogynecologist surgeon, but had tried two other pelvic floor PTs prior to her surgery and before finding me. Neither of the prior pelvic health PTs could help her pain and she had been told that she needed to get in shape, but she found herself unable to exercise because of pain.
- Get pregnant again and be healthier before the pregnancy, down the line.
- Get the adductor (inner thigh & pubic bone) pain to go away. “It prevents me from doing every other exercise.”
- Regain the strength of the pelvic floor and muscle control.
We got to work right away with a comprehensive postpartum pelvic floor physical therapy evaluation. This included a detailed assessment of her:
- Load transfer ability: This was impaired, she could not shift weight from one leg to another and keep her pelvis and low back in stable.
- Strength: Poor all around, she was deconditioned, had weakness in her glutes, pelvic floor and abdominals and low back.
- Abdominal wall integrity: Disrupted by a diastasis recti abdominus that caused ineffective and abnormal load transfer through her legs, pelvis and core)
- Pelvic floor integrity & coordination: Integrity of the multiple layers of the pelvic floor was intact, but coordination was impaired and deficient, poor timing and firing of the muscles noted)
- Postoperative healing: She was doing well, but the vaginal tissues were fragile and needed to be treated delicately and carefully.
Her Plan of Care Included Hands-On Treatments and Graded, Specific and Careful Exercises to Promote Stability, Strength and Coordination
We worked together at each visit, with a very careful and coordinated plan to progressively help facilitate her recovery. I provided a good amount of hands-on manual therapy to her abdomen, low back hips and thighs and internally to her pelvic floor. Together we worked to optimize her muscles and her fascia, to improve her pelvic stability, to advance her strength and conditioning and to restore her pelvic floor, breath and core muscle coordination, timing and strength. If you may benefit from postpartum pelvic floor PT in Grand Rapids, we can offer the same expertise to you!
At Her 5th postpartum pelvic floor physical therapy appointment, she was feeling better! Less pain! Less Worry! Hope and optimism were born!
She arrived with a smile and noticeably less stressed. She reported this was because she was feeling better and seeing that we were making progress. Her postpartum pelvic floor physical therapy program was different than the other two physical therapists had recommended and it was detailed, systematic and progressive. She was feeling improvements and this gave her confidence that she was getting the help she needed. By this fifth appointment she reported “every now and again I get twinges of pain in my inner thighs or my abs, but it goes away. It doesn’t happen often. My walking is pretty good. Standing on one leg still hurts a little; I have to sit down to put on shoes and pants. It is unstable and some pain in the proximal adductor.” This difficulty with standing on one leg is something that women with pelvic instability can experience. We perform a comprehensive evaluation to determine what are the driving factors with balance, pelvic stability, muscular control and motor coordination. Then, once we know what is causing this pain and problem, we devise a program to systematically address all of the contributions to it. In her case, we provided a postpartum pelvic physical therapy program customized to her post-operative precautions and designed to optimize both her post-operative and her postpartum healing. The results of pelvic floor physical therapy are born from the wisdom and experience of a good pelvic health physical therapist to design an effective and comprehensive treatment program.
Not all pelvic health physical therapy is the same!
For this woman we were challenged to develop a pelvic health recovery program that gave a “Goldilocks” effect. You remember the childhood 3 Little Pigs tale, with Goldilocks finding the “just right” bed and porridge? We needed to evaluate and treat her with the “just right” methods of physical therapy. Enough to stimulate pelvic recovery, coordination and strength while also reducing pain and instability. Too fast, too aggressive or the wrong exercises and treatments and she was at risk for a huge flare up and possibly adverse healing. Too little or the wrong exercises and treatments and she was at risk for physical therapy not helping her, having no response and thinking “this doesn’t work and I’m never going to get better.” If you might benefit from postpartum pelvic PT in Grand Rapids, we are here to help you. Contact Us
We’ve Seen This Before & We Can Help You!
I had seen this condition before, many, many times over the years. By working with so many other women and having advanced training in pregnancy and post-partum pelvic floor physical therapy, I knew how to best help her. She and I worked together in partnership to step-by-step get her to achieve her goals. One advantage she had in coming to see me was my experience with helping women with these types of complicated cases. I am an avid reader of clinical research and participant in professional societies and ongoing clinical education, because of this I can offer my patients clinical expertise. For example, in this woman’s case she had a diastasis recti abdominus, which is split abdominal muscles. In the last ten years there has been a lot of research, debate and clarifications on how to best treat this condition. Having kept up with all of this, I was able to offer her the most current and effective methods to resolve her diastasis recti abdominus. There are many published articles about DRA, here is one that surveyed pelvic health physical therapists to learn what their current practices were to treat this condition.
At 6 Months After Starting Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy She Was Roller Blading!
To help someone recovering after pregnancy and surgery requires expertise. At 6 months after starting physical therapy, she returned with happiness reporting “I’m feeling ok! I feel fine doing my core exercises (this is an improvement!). I went roller blading and felt good. I feel some soreness in my inguinal region, not like it was before, it is mildly sore, same as my abs. My knees and back have felt better. I’m doing all of the exercises you gave me and some extra squats throughout the day and my knees are fine.” You can see this is a huge advancement in her activity tolerance. Rollerblading? That was absolutely out of the question when I first saw her, she would have had pelvic pain, possibly knee and low back pain also, possibly loss of gas or urine. And, here she was able to roller blade without anything more than some soreness that was normal post-workout soreness! Her success with roller blading was a huge win and a reflection that all of our pelvic floor physical therapy had correctly addressed her myriad problem.
Free Discovery Visit if you wonder if postpartum pelvic floor physical therapy might help you!
This story gives you a glimpse into one woman’s experience of postpartum pelvic floor physical therapy. This woman had an unfortunate and complicated case and was able to get back to an active life and achieve her goals. Many women we help are fortunate to have fewer problems. But, most postpartum women do experience some challenges to their recovery. Even when they are feeling fine they don’t know exactly which exercises they should be doing. Or, they may experience some urinary leakage from time to time and don’t know how to get that to go away. If you wonder if postpartum pelvic floor PT in Grand Rapids could help you, we offer a free Discovery Visit. This would be an opportunity for us to meet so I can answer your questions and get a sense of what is going on with you. I could then tell you how and what I may be able to offer to help you reach your goals. If you are interested in this, call 616-516-4334 and mention this articel and the Discovery Visit and we can find a good time to meet! Contact Us
Dr. Maureen O’Keefe, DPT