A women’s health PT is an individual who is licensed in physical therapy, with additional training in diagnosing and treating many conditions that are specific to or more common in women.
Pelvic floor dysfunction: The pelvic floor refers to a group of muscles that lie between the pubic bone and the tailbone (coccyx). These muscles are involved in a variety of bodily functions such as bowel and bladder control, support for internal pelvic organs and sexual functioning. If these muscles are not working properly, symptoms may include (but are not limited to) urinary or fecal incontinence, urgency or frequency; difficulty urinating, constipation, or pelvic pain. A properly trained WH PT can thoroughly evaluate this muscle group and design a treatment plan to address the dysfunction that was identified.
Pregnancy or post-partum pain: A women’s body undergoes dramatic changes during the child-bearing year. Many times pain in the back, hips, pelvis as well as neck and shoulders results from changes in posture and increased joint laxity or movement within the joints. A WH PT can often alleviate these symptoms with massage and/or exercises and advice on proper movement patterns. In addition, recovery from these changes is not always automatic and may require an evaluation and advice from a women’s health PT to regain optimal health and fitness.
Breast Cancer and Lymphedema: A WH PT may also possess specialized training in the management of post-breast cancer pain, or swelling that is referred to as lymphedema. Often pain may be from scar tissue from surgery or fibrosis in the breast tissue after radiation. The risk of swelling increases with removal of lymph nodes from the armpit area, but may also occur after surgery and/or radiation therapy.
Osteoporosis: Loss of bone density, or osteoporosis, is a serious condition that may also be addressed by a WH PT. Specially designed flexibility and strengthening exercises may greatly improve posture, reduce pain, and even improve bone density.
For more information feel free to contact Laura Carroll, PT, CLT at the Arizona Vulva Clinic (602) 265-1112. You may also find helpful information at: www.womenshealthapta.org.
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