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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Kirk

10 Pelvic Health Interventions in Virtual Physical Therapy

As we continue in our series on virtual pelvic health services, we've covered the benefits of virtual services, as well as debunked various myths surrounding limitations of virtual physical therapy. With those things in mind, I felt it was only appropriate to dive in the actual interventions that are appropriate for virtual pelvic health physical therapy appointments.


Throughout this blog post, I've compiled a list of 10 different treatment techniques, interventions, and focuses that can empower the pelvic health PT to provide optimal quality care in the virtual setting. This list may not be necessarily comprehensive, but if you're considering offering virtual services for your pelvic health practice, these ideas can get you started today!


If you're considering opening a pelvic health practice or have already done so and not sure where to go after opening your clinic doors (both virtual or brick and mortar), check out my blog post here.



Virtual Treatment Options to Start Implementing Today

To kick us off today, I want to point out that what can be provided virtually versus in-person doesn't differ all that much when it comes to pelvic health PT. I want to refer back to one of my previous blog posts where we discussed that virtual versus in-person outcomes are actually quite comparable, not to mention patient satisfaction continues to be high, sometimes even more so in the virtual setting.


With all that said, let's dive into 10 virtual treatment ideas that you can start implementing today as a virtual pelvic health provider.


Education and Counseling

As a pelvic health provider, one of the interventions we will be providing at almost every session, if not all, includes patient education. Educating our patients on pelvic anatomy and common conditions that individuals face helps to empower them with knowledge. In that same token, we are well-equipped to educate our patients on lifestyle changes that they can take action on immediately including a bowel and bladder diary, common bladder irritants, proper hydration, and so much more.


Pelvic Floor Muscle Training

We are movement specialists. In the virtual setting, we are able to take the patient through many different muscle retraining exercises, relaxation techniques, and provide them with feedback to assist with coordination and strengthening of their muscles.


We have the ability to see our patients via the camera function, as well as they are able to see us, giving us the ability to provide demonstrations, give feedback, and so much more to further benefit our patient's understanding of what we are hoping for them to achieve.


Proper Breathing Techniques

When it comes to pelvic health dysfunction, and really many orthopedic conditions in general, breath work is so important. Most, if not all patients, struggle with proper breath patterns simply because of the day to day hustle and bustle resulting in learned upper chest breathing and holding your breath.


During a virtual session, you have the ability to teach your patients proper diaphragmatic breathing techniques, provide demonstrations, and give feedback to assist their success. The foundation of breath work in itself can promote relaxation, reducing pelvic floor muscle tension, minimizing dysfunction, and improving overall wellness.


Mindfulness and Meditation

In that same realm of proper breath work, mindfulness and meditation practices can also be quite helpful to many health issues. Many of our patients experience levels of stress outside of working with us, leading to increased muscle tension in many areas of their body, including the pelvic floor.


Teaching our patients to implement these practices can help them relieve many life stresses, anxieties, and pain levels associated with pelvic health conditions.


Pelvic Mobility Exercises

Both mobility and stability play a role in the health of our pelvic floor. Pelvic floor mobility exercises can be given to your patients in the virtual setting to help them increase their flexibility and range of motion in their pelvis, hips, and lower back, ultimately benefiting pelvic floor dysfunction. Focus on having them complete stretches that reduce pain levels and make sure they listen to their bodies to prevent overstretching.


Pelvic Alignment Techniques

Posture and, as a result, pelvic alignment are probably an issue in 99% of all the patients we see. This is simply due to our everyday tasks and positions we spend most of our time in. Demonstrate and education the patient on optimal postural and pelvic alignment that they can implement throughout their daily activities, helping to reduce pelvic floor muscle tension and abnormal movement patterns.


Manual Therapy Self-Treatment

This may be one of my favorites, not only because I thought it was crazy when first coming out of school, but also gives the patient so much empowerment. Teach your patients how to properly perform manual techniques either by using their hands or purchasing inexpensive manual therapy tools.


Manual interventions performed by the patient themselves can help to manage issues like trigger points, scar tissue, and tissue tightness. Our goal is to help our patients manage their symptoms, so why not hand over the responsibility of performing manual interventions and give them the guidance to be successful.


You can learn more about my take on patients performing their own manual interventions in my blog post here.


Bladder and Bowel Retraining

As mentioned before, we can provide our patients with the education they need to implement a bowel and bladder training program. These programs can help patients reduce their symptoms of leakage and give them a feeling of empowerment. Start with working on behavior changes that can be made, along with what food and drinks they can intake or avoid to support their bowel and bladder. We can also provide education on health voiding schedules for them to work towards achieving.


Sexual Health Counseling

The pelvic floor is a huge factor in our sexual health. This topic may be a bit sensitive for some, but it's such an important conversation to have with your patients dealing with pelvic floor disorders.

Although this may be difficult for patients to talk about, it is often a common issue that many of them are facing. Provide an open environment for sexual health counseling to your patient, addressing their concerns related to sexual function. Guide them on appropriate communication with their partner, intimacy exercises, and relaxation techniques if this is one of their areas of concern.


Home Exercise Programs

Lastly, as we do with patients in the clinic setting, we can also provide individualized home exercise programs for our pelvic health patients in the virtual setting. Go through each exercise with your patient to ensure they have a good understanding and are performing proper exercise technique. Provide them with a digital copy of their exercises that includes instructions, sets and reps, and how to safely progress their exercises when appropriate.


Conclusion

In conclusion, integrating virtual services into your pelvic health practice provides so many benefits to both patients and providers. You can learn more about the benefits of virtual pelvic health services in my blog post here. The key is to remember that we bring so much to the table as providers and can effectively offer various treatment interventions to our patients, even in the virtual setting.


If you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed as a pelvic health practice owner, or if you want to learn more about how I could help you and your practice via marketing, business consulting, or anything else, get in touch! 

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