Women’s Health Physical Therapy
Our Physical Therapy practice includes a team of highly skilled, compassionate, and experienced providers who are ready to assist you with your specific therapeutic needs.
We offer an inter- and multidisciplinary approach to pelvic health that incorporates the expertise of healthcare providers with backgrounds in:
What We Treat
Our physical therapists are trained to evaluated, diagnose, and treat a wide variety of women’s health issues, including those that affect bladder, bowel, and sexual function, as well as chronic and acute pain.
Additionally, our care providers specialize in the treatment of a variety of pregnancy and postpartum-related health issues, which include:
While many of these and other health issues may be of a sensitive nature and may be challenging or embarrassing to discuss with a medical professional, our experts are here to help. We will work with you and help create an individualized care plan to help you reach your own goals and get you back to doing the activities you enjoy.
Physical Therapy Treatments
Our practice offers a range of individualized treatments, which may include:
While most issues associated with medical necessity are covered by insurance, you should check your policy to confirm.
Why Choose Us
The physical therapists at the Northwestern Medical Group Women’s Health Physical Therapy practice are an integral part of a team of healthcare providers who work together to help patients reach their individual goals and achieve the best possible outcomes.
We communicate directly with your physician and collaborate with a network of other providers. This includes specialist physicians and mental health therapists in areas such as:
What to Expect at Your Appointments
Upon arriving for your first physical therapy appointment, you’ll begin by discussing the following with your therapist:
To ensure privacy, each session will take place one-on-one with your therapist. After the initial discussion, your therapist will perform a physical examination tailored to your current diagnosis and symptoms.
This exam may include any of the following:
Dysfunction of pelvic floor muscles can be a cause of many of the issues we can treat. Sometimes they may be too weak, uncoordinated, or painful. With your permission, our experts will perform an external as well as internal examination of your pelvic floor muscles, and this exam will help us determine the strength, level of tension, muscle coordination, and mobility of your pelvic floor muscles.
The specific exam may be performed either vaginally or rectally, depending on your symptoms, with the therapist inserting one finger internally. If you have a history of pain with gynecologic exams or vaginal penetration, you may not be able to have an internal pelvic floor muscle assessment on your first visit. Our experts will work with you to determine the best time to attempt your internal assessment.
After the physical examination, your therapist will provide a summary of their findings and recommend subsequent treatment options to you. You may be prescribed exercises to practice at home as a key part of your treatment plan. These may include stretches, breathing exercises, strength-building exercises, and pain-relief positions.
These exercises are intended to complement any work you are undertaking with your therapist during follow-up visits. Patients are usually scheduled weekly visits for approximately 12 sessions.
The specific number of sessions a patient may need differs from person to person. Your therapist will communicate with you regularly regarding your progress and may recommend adjusting and/or supplementing your scheduled visits as necessary.
Subsequent therapy visits may include other treatment techniques tailored to your specific condition and goals.
Our experts seek to provide high-quality, cost-effective, and exemplary, patient-focused care. Some of the techniques that may be included in your plan of care are manual therapy interventions designed to address weak or overactive muscles, including:
Be sure to bring a completed copy of the Physical Therapy Screening Questionnaire to your first appointment. You can also download the Spanish version of the questionnaire.
What is the Pelvic Floor?
Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles that are located at the bottom of your pelvis. They extend from the front to the back and form a sling-like structure made up of three different layers. These muscles carry out several important functions in our bodies.
First, the pelvic floor muscles help support your internal pelvic organs, including your bladder, uterus, and rectum. While you are pregnant, these muscles also help support the weight of your growing baby. Disorders of the pelvic floor muscles can lead to pelvic organ prolapse or the sensation that something is falling out of your vagina or rectum. You may also experience a feeling of heaviness in the pelvis or abdomen.
Second, the pelvic floor muscles surround the external openings of your urethra, vagina, and anus. These muscles are integral in controlling urination and defecation, as well as releasing or holding back gas. If these muscles are too weak or tight to properly function, you may experience leakage of urine, stool, or gas. You could also experience difficulty or pain with passing urine, stool, or gas.
Third, the pelvic floor muscles are involved with sexual function. They contract and relax during sexual arousal to promote adequate blood flow to the genital area. Disorders affecting these muscles can lead to decreased sensation during sexual activity, difficulty achieving orgasm, weakened orgasm, or pain accompanying arousal.
Finally, your pelvic floor muscles are connected to the deep muscles in your abdominal wall (the transversus abdominis). These muscles work in conjunction with our lower back muscles (multifidus) and our diaphragm to provide stability to our spine and pelvis when we move. Problems with your pelvic floor muscles can lead to poor stability, lower back pain, and joint pain in your pelvis.
Why is Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Important?
Pelvic floor disorders affect millions of women every year. More people are searching for help for issues that affect pelvic health, including bowel and bladder changes or pain during sexual activities.
Conditions may arise because of pregnancy or childbirth, after surgery, or as part of the natural aging process. However they arise, you do not have to live with the discomfort and embarrassment that can be caused by these issues.
If you are in need of guidance, assistance, and compassionate care, Northwestern Medicine specialized physical therapists are there to help you.
Useful Patient Resources
Meet Our Team
We are a highly skilled group of physicians, nurse practitioners, and women’s health physical therapists, offering compassionate, evidence-based health care to women of all ages.