So you finally decided to make an appointment with a pelvic floor physical therapist. What can you anticipate for that first visit?
A big part of that first visit will go into history taking. We will ask you about previous pregnancies, abdominal surgeries, medical history. We will ask you about your diet, daily fluid intake, sleep and rest, activity levels, work, emotional support, and so many other things that might be pertinent to your case. These daily habits are suuuuper important in giving us a clear overall picture of what your life is like. All of these things actually play a huge role in which treatments we will give you.
The physical exam will likely look at how strong and flexible your hips, back, abdominals are. We will look at balance and how you do certain movements like picking up the baby or getting up from the floor. We will look at your breathing. We will look at your posture.
Internal Exam – YES, this is a big part of your exam IF you are okay with that. Let’s face it – you scheduled an appointment with a pelvic floor therapist so we will examine your pelvic floor. (It is ALWAYS your right to say no to having an exam or deferring to a later session!) This internal exam is similar to a gynecologic exam, except that there are no special instruments and we usually are a little more thorough in our examination of the muscles. We look for strength, tightness, spasm, and coordination of these muscles. This portion of the exam should always be preceded with an explanation of what we will do and why we doing it. And no, there are no stirrups. This portion of the exam may last 10-15 minutes and may be longer if your therapist wants to start treatment.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER – The last 10-15 minutes or so of your visit will likely be an explanation of all the findings of your exam and history and a good hypothesis of why you have been experiencing your symptoms. Exercises and homework are given at the end of the visit so you can work on something prior to your next visit.
A thorough evaluation will likely take about an hour.
So now that you know what a typical evaluation is like… SCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT!
Dr. Katherine Pace.