Occupational Therapy & Pelvic Health
What is Occupational Therapy
Occupational Therapy is a type of health care that helps solve challenges that get in the way of a person’s ability to do the things that are important to them. Helping you to participate in your favourite activities in a productive and meaningful way without barriers or pain is the main goal of an occupational therapist (OT) like me. Traditional methods of Occupational Therapy involve biomechanics, ergonomics and exercises; however, recognizing there are more elements to wellbeing than just physical, I integrate and connect the biological, psychological and social aspects of who you are into improving your quality of life.
Women’s pelvic health is the area of focus for my practice. Most women have a complicated relationship with their pelvic health and are often hesitant to seek help. I am comfortable asking the hard questions around topics that often carry stigma, or are just not talked about. Pelvic dysfunction can include:
- Urine leakage / Incontinence - do you pee a little when you laugh, cough, or with physical exertion? Are you planning your next bathroom break immediately after your last one?
- Painful sex or vaginal dryness
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Pain or pressure in your pelvis, lower back, or hips
- Loss or decrease of ability to achieve orgasm
- Weakness or separation of your abdominal muscles - this can often occur during and after pregnancy (also known as ‘diastasis recti’)
Pelvic health becomes especially important for perinatal and postpartum care (best practice is to see a pelvic health therapist 6-8 weeks postpartum) or in cases of chronic illness such as endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), or cancer.
More things impact your pelvic wellness than you might think!
- How we go about completing daily tasks such as cleaning or lifting, playing with our children, or driving.
- Breathing! Often, we hold our breath without realizing it or take short, shallow breaths.
- Our environment, our sleep, our nutrition and our level of stress all play a role in our pelvic health!
How Can Occupational Therapy Improve Pelvic Health
I focus on assessment, education and individualized strategies to help you back to pelvic wellness.
Though your symptoms may be the same as your girlfriend's, the reason they are happening can be very different. A thorough assessment allows us to identify physical, psychological and personal events or situations that may be impacting your pelvic health. Topics we will review may include:
- Posture & biomechanics
- Daily habits and routines
- Mental health
- Internal and / or external exam of the pelvic floor muscles
- Stress levels
- Sleep habits
- Bowel routines and fibre intake
Research shows people benefit more from therapy when they understand the WHY and HOW. I I use a life-like 3D pelvic model to show you how everything is connected. It’s important that you feel empowered by understanding how my holistic approach will improve your quality of life. Knowledge is power and I will ensure you feel confident in the strategies that we implement for your wellness.
Every person and situation is unique! Though we may use the same or similar concepts in our treatment between people, HOW we implement those strategies in your life is individualized and designed to support success in your life. Some of these strategies will include:
- Breathing patterns, alignment & muscle activation patterns to help with activities that give rise to symptoms
- Therapeutic exercises
- Stress management with mindfulness
- Full body awareness and utilizing neuromuscular (mind-body) connection between your brain and inner core team of muscles
An OT is ideally situated to address the factors that can affect your pelvic health. Many of us have hectic lives and as women can have additional anxiety and self-esteem challenges when it comes to all the lovely components that make up our pelvis and core. We provide the emotional and psychological support during your rehabilitation in addition to the physical and functional aspects of your well being.