Pelvic floor physical therapy targets the muscles located at the bottom of the pelvis referred to collectively as the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor muscles are responsible for several important functions including supporting the organs of the lower abdomen such as the bladder, urethra, uterus, and rectum. They also play an important role in bladder and bowel control, regulating intra-abdominal pressure and sexual function. Pelvic floor therapists are trained in specialized techniques to help address dysfunction of these muscles such as overactivity, weakness, and pain.

What conditions can a pelvic floor therapist treat?

Pelvic floor therapists can treat various conditions including:

  • Urinary incontinence
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Diastasis recti, or separation of the abdominal muscles
  • Pain with sexual activity
  • Coccyx pain
  • Hip and low back pain
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Pudendal neuralgia
  • Postpartum recovery and return to activities such as running
  • Pain associated with Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Fecal Incontinence
  • Conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome and constipation


How will my therapist treat my condition?
Much like general physical therapy, your therapist will help you improve the strength, endurance, and coordination of your muscles. Treatment sessions will include individualized exercise and education, and your therapist may also choose to use techniques such as stretching or soft tissue mobilization. The pelvic floor muscles work together with the muscles of the hip and abdomen, which your therapist may also give you exercises to address.

How will my therapist assess my pelvic floor muscles?
Pelvic floor therapists are trained to assess pelvic floor function with internal and external examination techniques. Your therapist may test for things like muscle strength, endurance and coordination. Exam techniques are primarily done using manual palpation, and your therapist will walk you through the details of tests they perform during your session.

Do I have to have an internal pelvic floor muscle exam?
Not every patient will require internal examination, but in many cases an internal exam will help your therapist best understand the individual needs of your body, and create the best plan for you. You may choose not to undergo any exam or treatment technique, and your therapist will discuss what tests they think are most appropriate at your visit.

Will the therapy appointment be painful?
While your therapist may test you to find out what causes your pain at your initial evaluation, pelvic floor therapy should be only be minimally painful at most. Your therapist will monitor any symptoms you may have throughout the session, and you may end any activity if it becomes too uncomfortable. Our goal is to get you out of pain and back to the activities you love!

Where will I be treated?
At Rise physical therapy, our pelvic floor patients are examined and treated in a private room. Your therapist may also use our gym space for activities such and hip and core strengthening exercise or weight lifting or running form evaluations.

I am an athlete and want to get back to my sport after injury or having a baby. How can pelvic floor therapy help?
The pelvic floor is critical in athletic performance because of its role in supporting the abdominal organs especially during impact activities such as running and jumping, as well as its function in core stability, efficient breathing mechanics, and optimal movement of the lumbopelvic hip complex. Training the strength, endurance, and coordination of these muscles can help reduce leaking urine, improve nagging back or hip pain, and help better stabilize your body during athletic movements.

About Rise Physical Therapy

Hi, and welcome to Rise Physical Therapy.

Rise exists because we believe there is a demand for honest and ethical therapy that truly makes a difference in people's lives. After years of working in healthcare, we realized that the industry had lost it's focus on the patient. So we decided to start our own clinic and focus on providing our patients the very best in one-on-one physical therapy. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Thanks for swinging by the site, and we hope to see you soon.

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Most common questions about physical therapy

1. What is physical therapy (PT)? – Physical therapists, sometimes called PTs, are experts in the musculoskeletal system, meaning we know your muscles, bones, joints, tendons, ligaments and how they operate as well as anyone. We play a critical role in the recovery and rehabilitation of the injured, hurting, or those suffering chronic conditions. Becoming a Doctor of Physical Therapy (the only type of PTs we hire at Rise), requires over seven years of education.

2. Is PT covered by insurance? Almost all insurance plans give you an annual allowance of PT visits. For our current patients, that has typically meant a copay of around $15-$30/visit. Sometimes it’s lower, or even completely covered by insurance. Depending on your plan you might pay a bit more, such as when your plan has a higher deductible. If you are unsure, give us a call and our insurance experts can help you figure it out. You can reach us at (479) 595-8667.

3. Do you need a doctor’s referral for PT?No referral is needed – you can come straight in to see us without having to go to your doctor. Years ago a referral was required, but studies like this showed it was dramatically more effective and cheaper for patients to be sent to PTs first. The state of Arkansas has not required them for over 20 years (since 1997).

4. Does physical therapy work? – The only question that matters. Here’s what a recent large study found: “In the year following their initial complaint to primary providers, the sample of people in the study who went to physical therapy directly spent an average of $1,871, compared to $6,664 for those who were first sent for an MRI. The patients who received physical therapy first were less likely to receive surgery and injections, and they made fewer specialists and emergency department visits within a year of primary consultation.” [link] So not only does it work, it saves you money over the long run.

5. How much does PT cost? – We actually went ahead and ran the numbers on this one. If you include all of our past patients, the average payment after insurance was $19.25. So anywhere from $15 – $30 is a fairly accurate estimate of how much you’d be looking at paying per visit. That said, some patients actually get PT completely covered by insurance so you may end up paying $0.

6. What is the difference between a PT and a chiropractor? – There are quite a few, but the biggest difference is in the way the professions approach the practice of medicine. Physical therapists strictly use evidence-based (scientific) treatments that are focused on healing the patient permanently rather than temporarily dulling pain. At Rise, we are all about educating you on how to treat and address your issues on your own with stretches and exercises. On the other hand, Chiropractors tend to focus on pain relief techniques like spinal manipulation (adjustment) that are performed on an ongoing basis. It just comes down to what you desire in a treatment.

More questions? Read through the rest of our frequently asked questions here or give us a call at (479) 595-8667.