At Barefoot Physiotherapy, we offer various physiotherapy services; one of them being Women’s Health Physiotherapy. In fact, this is one of our primary service offerings in Brisbane. So, what is Women’s Health Physiotherapy?
Women’s Health Physiotherapy typically refers to Physiotherapy focusing on Pelvic health. At Barefoot Physiotherapy, we use the term to cover Physiotherapy concerns across the female lifespan, including adolescence, antenatal, postnatal and menopause stages of one’s life.
Most commonly, all these concerns will relate to the function and pain in the bladder, bowel, pelvis, lower back muscles and pelvic floor muscles. However, it can also incorporate a return to function and exercise concerns pre and post-pregnancy, gynaecological surgery and around menopausal age. At Barefoot Physiotherapy, we aim to empower women across the lifespan to maintain control of their bodies to live their best barefoot lifestyles. Working with a physiotherapist to address any of the above issues can help improve your overall quality of life and wellbeing.
What Is Women’s Health Physiotherapy?
Women’s Health Physiotherapy is different to general physiotherapy as its practitioners have a special interest and extra training in a range of female-oriented concerns across the lifespan. A women’s health physiotherapist will work with you with the aim of helping you achieve your physical best.
So what is Women’s Health Physiotherapy? As previously mentioned, it generally tends to focus on women’s pelvic health concerns across the lifespan. Contrary to common misconceptions, it isn’t just for pregnant women; but in fact, it addresses the changes to the female body throughout the various stages of life. Clients who work with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist have someone to guide them and organise a health team if needed to achieve their individual goals.
A general musculoskeletal physiotherapist can assist with injuries to various body areas, including symptoms associated with pregnancy and gynaecological surgeries. However, they may not have a deeper understanding of how to effectively treat pain and injuries stemming from the pelvic region long term and prevent reoccurrence. Therefore, they will often refer to a Women’s Health Physiotherapist who can utilise their extra knowledge, hands-on skills and exercise prescription in this area to achieve the client’s goals and keep the area strong and healthy to prevent reinjury.
Why Would I Be Referred to a Women’s Health Physical Therapist?
So why would you be referred to a Women’s Health Physical Therapist? At Barefoot Physiotherapy, we don’t do internal examinations: the only type of Women’s Health Physiotherapy we typically refer for is an Internal examination. If this is needed, we have great contacts to refer to and work with to help get you the best care. Therefore, there are plenty of reasons your GP/ general physio may recommend you to Barefoot Physiotherapy for Women’s Health concerns.
These concerns can include;
- Lower back, mid-back and neck pain pre and post-pregnancy
- Pelvic girdle pain or coccyx pain
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction or pain
- Postnatal pelvic floor assessments (excluding internal examinations)
- Bladder concerns including; stress urinary incontinence, urge incontinence/ overactive bladder syndrome, bladder pain syndrome and urinary retention.
- Bowel function concerns including incontinence and constipation
- Painful sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
- Exercise programs for menopausal women
- Exercise programs to increase bone density
- Exercise programs for a return to exercise post-pregnancy
- Advice and education on safe exercise throughout pregnancy
- Endometriosis pain
- Vaginal Pain
If you are unsure about what health practitioner is needed to help resolve your women’s health concern, give us a call anytime to address your concern, and we can assist you in determining the best course of action.
What Happens at a Women’s Health Physio Appointment?
Hopefully, by now, you will have a greater understanding of “what is Women’s Health Physiotherapy?”. Let’s now break down what happens at a Women’s Health Physio appointment.
At Barefoot Physiotherapy, your typical initial assessment will start with a detailed subjective examination. This will include asking the client to detail previous medical history, previous injuries or physical concerns, current physical injuries or concerns, any current medications, who your current health care team is, and any other relevant information to your presentation.
Then your Physiotherapist will go through a series of objective assessments, including testing for underlying neural irritation, any movement restrictions throughout the body, tightness in joints or muscles or any specific weakness in the pelvic floor or deep abdominal muscles. We don’t do any internal examinations; we have thorough assessment techniques that we use. And if we deem that an internal examination is necessary, we may refer you to a trusted colleague.
Once your Women’s Health Physiotherapist has a thorough understanding of your presentation, they will utilise the remainder of the appointment for treatment; this may include but isn’t limited to; manual therapy to relieve tight muscles/joints/ nerve irritation, advice and education about exercise, activity modification and postures and muscle activation or light strengthening.
Depending on the reason for your visit, your Women’s Health Physiotherapist may also recommend an SIJ belt or taping to help relieve your symptoms.
What Are The Benefits of a Female Health Physio?
When visiting Barefoot Physiotherapy for Women’s Health Physiotherapy, there are a variety of benefits of working with an educated, knowledgeable and experienced team.
At Barefoot Physiotherapy, we pride ourselves on providing the best possible treatment by staying up to date with cutting edge research around pelvic health. We undertake extensive extra training and learn from various leaders in the women’s health industry to constantly upgrade our skills in hands-on treatment, advice and education, and exercise prescription. This extra training also allows us to find excellent options for clients in terms of practitioners who provide internal women’s health examinations to be confident they are working with a team of highly trained professionals.
Whilst general physiotherapists can provide pain relief for some common musculoskeletal women’s health concerns; a general physio might not know how to effectively prevent reoccurrence with certain women’s health issues or who to refer to for specific women’s health concerns (for instance; internal examinations or pessary fittings for pelvic organ prolapse). Therefore, it is highly beneficial to seek out a Women’s Health Physiotherapist from the start of your physiotherapy journey.
Hopefully, this article has helped to understand the question of “what is Women’s Health physiotherapy?”, and you now feel confident to request a Women’s Health Physiotherapist early on in your care.
How Can a Female Health Physio Help With Pregnancy?
A major area of Women’s Health Physiotherapy is the focus on antenatal and postnatal issues. A female’s body undergoes major changes throughout pregnancy. Therefore, as the body adapts, females can develop issues or concerns with pain and dysfunction, which can last throughout the entirety of their pregnancy and into post-pregnancy if not addressed by a Women’s Health Physiotherapist.
Women’s Health Physiotherapy can help prevent pregnancy-related concerns such as; pelvic girdle and coccyx pain, pregnancy and postnatal lower or mid back pain, incontinence (bladder or bowel), pelvic organ prolapse and or exercise-related muscle fatigue/ pain. A Women’s Health Physiotherapist can address the above issues through advice and education around pelvic organ health, hands-on therapy to release tight muscles causing discomfort, exercises to increase pelvic floor strength and endurance and postural education. In addition, they can work with you to develop a safe plan for exercise during pregnancy and a graded return to activity post-pregnancy.
Women’s Health Physiotherapists aim to empower you to feel confident in your body, prevent issues from occurring or reoccurring and achieve your individual goals.
Find the Right Women’s Health Physio For You
This article has aimed to provide you with the answer to the question “What is Women’s Health Physiotherapy?” and how Barefoot Physiotherapy can help you resolve your women’s health concerns.
At Barefoot Physiotherapy, we always utilise the most cutting edge research to shape our treatments, and you can be confident that your Physiotherapist will listen to your concerns and work with you to achieve your goals and resolve your issue. Therefore, if you need Women’s Health Physiotherapy in Brisbane, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us to chat about what you would like to come in for or book an appointment. You can book an appointment by calling us on 1300 842 850, or you can book online here.