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How Physical Therapy Helps Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence, or the involuntary loss of urine, can cause embarrassment, loss of self-esteem and withdrawal from daily activities. Incontinence is NOT normal at ANY age and there is often an underlying cause. The good news is that urinary incontinence can be evaluated and treated by a Women’s Health Physical Therapist.

If you have already been evaluated by your doctor or health care provider and have received treatment for any underlying medical conditions that may be causing your problem, you are ready to seek the help of a physical therapist who specializes in treating pelvic floor dysfunction.

At Healthy Core, we thoroughly evaluate the lumbopelvic area for mobility and motor control. Most likely, this area is functioning abnormally if you are experiencing incontinence. Our therapists use a combination of manual therapy, therapeutic exercise and behavioral training to help “teach” the bladder to hold more urine. The emphasis of exercise is on strengthening the core muscles, particularly your pelvic floor and transversus abdominus musculature. Often, a proper contraction cannot be achieved until normal pelvic mechanics are addressed. During the course of treatment for urinary incontinence, other dysfunctions often improve, such as low back pain or painful penetration.

Some women we treat tell us they have been doing “Kegels,” or pelvic floor exercises, without resolution of symptoms. As many as 50 percent of women perform these exercise incorrectly and actually bear down rather than pull up with their pelvic floor muscles. The other mistake women make is not exercising the endurance part of the muscle, which makes up 70 percent of its function. At Healthy Core, we will teach you the proper way to contract your pelvic muscles and other synergistic muscles that are involved in lifting and supporting the pelvic floor.

Unfortunately, many women are not aware that physical therapy is a viable treatment option. They may pay for costly pads or medications for many years. In our opinion, this is like using a Band-Aid to cover up the problem, instead of treating the actual cause, which could be an inherent weakness of your core musculature. Our therapists will help you restore normal function and improve your quality of life. Contact your physical therapist, so you can start treatment and stop looking for every bathroom in your path.