Finding a physiotherapist for pelvic floor issues is not like visiting the dentist. You need to find one who you trust to work with you on what may become a fairly intimate level, and who can actually help you. Here are five things to look for:
1. Assesses and Treats the Whole Body
If all they talk about is Kegels, which we’ll also talk about in a bit, this is not the physiotherapist for you. Modern pelvic floor physiotherapy involves far more than that. You want someone well versed in the treatments, exercises, and knowledge of the field, and who knows how to assess your situation using a whole-body approach, based on the interconnectedness of your body systems.
This is the single most important thing to look for in a pelvic health physiotherapist.
2. Training in Chronic Pain or a Biopsychosocial Approach
So many pelvic floor patients, especially women, come to their physiotherapists with a history of not being believed. Or, their problems are explained away as easily fixable or something they’ll just have to live with. You need a physiotherapist who understands your hesitation and fear because of so many past failures.
And you want one who understands the biology and the psychology of chronic pain.
3. Training in Sports or Orthopaedics
One or both of these are helpful as well, because the pelvic floor muscle group interacts with your other muscles and bones, particularly your spine. This hits again on the interconnectedness of your body systems. You want a pelvic floor physiotherapist with expertise in how this one muscle group relates to your whole body. The pelvic floor is not an isolated muscle group.
4. Offers Trauma-Aware Care
Particularly for women’s pelvic health, some pelvic problems are the direct or indirect result of trauma. Sometimes this trauma may have happened many years ago, but the physical and emotional affects still persist.
A pelvic floor physiotherapist will be engaging with parts of your mind and body that will bring those emotions and past experiences to the surface. That’s hard. You want someone who knows how to navigate those memories and experiences with you in a trusting and caring manner.
5. Offers First-Time Phone Calls
After reading all this, you may be feeling nervous. A good pelvic floor physiotherapist understands your uncertainty and anxiety about coming in. Doing the first meeting on the phone is a good way to bridge this gap and help you decide if you’re willing to do more.
Look for a specialist who gives this as an option if you’d describe yourself as ‘nervous’ about seeking pelvic health physiotherapy.