Written By: Catherine Lewan, DPT, CYT


May is National Women’s Health Month! As we observe this month, let’s shed light on a commonly overlooked area of women’s health: pelvic floor rehabilitation. Despite affecting a significant number of women, conditions like urinary incontinence and pelvic pain often remain unaddressed due to limited awareness and education surrounding pelvic health, historically seen as a “women’s health” issue and neglected as such. Physical therapy and occupational therapy professionals are uniquely positioned to bridge this gap and empower women through pelvic health rehabilitation, leveraging their existing skills with a proactive approach.

Recent research reveals a startling statistic: over 80% of nulliparous women surveyed had never received information about the pelvic floor. This lack of knowledge persists across age and parity demographics, despite the likelihood of encountering pelvic floor conditions during a woman’s lifetime. However, evidence strongly supports pelvic floor exercises (PFE) as both preventive and therapeutic measures for these issues, emphasizing the urgency for increased awareness and education in pelvic health.

Interestingly, data from the 2024 Exploding Trends website indicates a significant rise in interest in pelvic care over the past five years, with searches for terms like “pelvic health therapy” increasing by 126%. Social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok have become invaluable tools for spreading general information about pelvic health, but there remains a need for credible, individualized guidance from rehabilitation specialists.

PTs and OTs can play a vital role by screening for and addressing pelvic floor issues within their current patient populations. With some additional training, they can utilize their expertise in clinical reasoning, patient education, behavioral change coaching, and exercise prescription to empower patients to optimize their pelvic health. Integrating pelvic floor therapy into existing treatment plans has shown promising results. A 2023 systematic review found that adding PFE to an existing low back pain (LBP) care plan further decreased LBP intensity. The authors concluded that PFE is a component of evidence-based care for lower back pain, indicating that best practice when treating the lumbar spine does include the pelvic floor.

Professional education courses, like those offered by Summit Professional Education, equip therapists with the necessary skills and knowledge to confidently integrate pelvic floor therapy into their practice. By leveraging their existing strengths, therapists can expand their rehabilitation toolbox and provide evidence-informed, individualized care plans that address pelvic health concerns. Let’s ensure that physical and occupational therapists become trusted sources of information and support for women seeking to improve their pelvic health.

Mark your calendar to attend my upcoming Live Webinar, Functional Pelvic Floor Training for Weakness, Pain, and Dysfunction in Men, Women, and Older Adults, on September 13th. Join and learn exercises that have been demonstrated by research to improve function and self-care that can be easily reimbursed by Medicare and insurance companies.



Visit summit-education.com for more information.

Written permission to use the graphic image from exploding topics website: https://explodingtopics.com/topic/pelvic-floor-therapy



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