What is pelvic floor physical therapy?
The “pelvic floor” is a group of muscles which line the inside and sling across the bottom of the bony pelvis. When these muscles are not able to optimally do their jobs, we can have issues with bladder and bowel function, prolapse, sexual function, and pain. Muscles may be weak, tight or restricted, or just not in great communication with the brain. Pelvic floor physical therapy applies the specialized skills of a physical therapist such as releasing soft tissue, improving alignment, and muscle coordination, power, and endurance in order to improve pelvic floor muscle function.
Who might need pelvic floor physical therapy?
Traditionally, we think of any person who has been pregnant as a candidate for pelvic floor physical therapy. As conversation about pelvic floor dysfunction has become more prevalent, we are finding that issues may be found in many more groups including:
- Children with bedwetting, incontinence, or constipation issues
- Teens or adults of any age with incontinence or pain
- Men with pain, urinary or sexual dysfunction, or post-prostatectomy bladder control
How is pelvic physical therapy different from just doing Kegels?
Kegels are actually pretty often a part of pelvic PT… but just one part. Our pelvic floor muscles have to work through a full spectrum of contraction and relaxation in order to do their jobs well and be pain-free. Traditional Kegels contractions work on the strengthening aspect of things, but that is rarely the whole picture. And did you know that statistically about 33% of women will do Kegels incorrectly without skilled guidance?
Do I need a referral from my doctor to come to physical therapy?
The State of New York does allow for direct access to physical therapy, meaning that you can make an appointment and be evaluated without a prescription. However, there are time-based limitations to direct access care, and it may be that a referral will be needed before your work with Artemis PT is done. If it is easy to get a referral off the bat, please do. It will leave us both with one less thing to think about.
What will my first visit be like?
We always start with a long talk. Some of this talk is open ended, where you can just share your story, and some of it is guided by more specific questions, in order to help me gather as much information as I can. We then move on to a general physical assessment, including posture, some functional movements, and breathing patterns. If it is warranted, and if the patient is comfortable and ready, we will then move towards a pelvic floor assessment. The gold standard technique for this is a manual internal assessment, which allows me to visualize and feel muscle function, as well as palpate for particular restrictions or tender spots. If the patient is not ready or willing to be assessed internally, there are external assessment options which will still help us to get started with treatment. When we finish physical assessment, we resume our Long Talk positions and I share my findings and thoughts. We’ll have some sort of homework to get you started on so that you can feel (and be) proactive about your participation in your care.
How long does a physical therapy session or series of sessions last?
Evaluations are planned to last 90 minutes, and follow ups may be 60 or 30 minutes at the discretion of both patient and therapist. While some people feel dramatically better after a couple of visits, others take longer. One guiding principle is that we know that the body takes roughly 8 weeks for muscle strength to develop, or for healing to occur.
Do you accept insurance?
Medicare is the only insurance that I am in-network with. Some insurance policies do reimburse for out of network treatment, and I will provide superbill receipts which are appropriate to submit for reimbursement. I cannot guarantee reimbursement by your insurance.
In the interest of providing accessible services, I do have discounted rates for children and for patients who are insured through a state Medicaid program.
Please see the rates page for more detailed information.