Physical Therapy for Interstitial Cystitis
You may be asking yourself how physical therapy could possibly help with interstitial cystitis pain. The answer lies in the pelvic floor. If you have spent much time here on treatic.com, then you are already aware of the relationship between a dysfunctional pelvic floor and a diagnosis of IC. But, just in case you haven’t had a chance to look around yet, let’s review the basics on the pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor can be thought of as a sort of “muscle hammock” (ewwww, that sure sounds gross).
The main jobs of the pelvic floor are related to supporting the bladder and other important organs, sexual function, stabilization of the pelvis, and all those fun sphincter activities, such as being able to stop and start a stream of urine
At this point, you are probably beginning to understand why any pelvic floor problem will need to be fixed in order to control the symptoms of interstitial cystitis. All the things that the pelvic floor does tend to get totally screwed up when you have IC!
Interstitial Cystitis symptoms that may be related to pelvic floor dysfunction include:
urinary urgency and frequency
low back pain and pressure
pain with intercourse
So what can help this muscle hammock heal? And how do you even know how involved your pelvic floor is in your continued symptoms?
You go to an expert in fixing muscles that aren’t doing what they are supposed to do: a physical therapist (PT).
And not just any PT….you want a PT who specializes in pelvic floor dysfunction. Someone who has specific experience using physical therapy for IC. Yes, they exist. There is a whole sub-specialty in the physical therapy field that gets extra training in this area. And the good news is that more and more attention is being placed on the role of PT in correcting pelvic floor disorders. Which means the chances of you having nearby access to a PT who can help treat your pelvic floor are really good!
A good pelvic floor physical therapist will be able to identify trigger points in the muscles in your pelvic floor. Trigger points are hyperirritable spots in the fascia that surrounds your skeletal muscle. They can feel like firm nodules (bumps) under the skin and are due to taut bands of muscle fibers.
“Releasing” these trigger points decreases the tension in the pelvic floor. Once the tension dissipates, the entire pelvic region (including the bladder!! YAY!) can begin to relax and function in a normal manner again.
And we aaaallllll want a normal bladder again, don’t we??
Research backs this up, big time. Treating pelvic floor dysfunction is considered a first-line therapy for treating IC. So what does this mean??
It means studies have shown it works.
And there haven’t been many things that have proven to be effective in treating the pain, urgency, and frequency of interstitial cystitis, as you are all well aware.
Ready to try it? Here are some resources for finding a PT who specializes in treating pelvic floor dysfunction and/or interstitial cystitis:
American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists (make sure to choose the “Women’s Health” option in the search form)
Herman & Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute (they also have self-education courses)
**Disclaimer: NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. See more information here By reading this website, you acknowledge that you are responsible for your own health decisions. Do not take anything from any website, including this one, and try it without proper research and medical supervision.