Pelvic Physical Therapy – A Surprising Road to Relief
WEST PLAINS, Mo – Roberta had looked forward to retirement and long
motorcycle rides with friends. However, her frequent restroom breaks were
making these outings more and more stressful. Her friends gifted her with
a sticker for her motorcycle helmet that read, “Get out of my way;
I need to pee.” Of course, she’d joke along with them, but
deep down she was embarrassed.
Roberta was suffering from overactive bladder and urinary stress incontinence.
One quarter to one-third of men and women in the US suffer from urinary
incontinence. Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control and,
while common, is often embarrassing. Many never seek help as they think
there is nothing that can be done, making it an emotional burden interfering
with everyday life. It is more common in women than in men. Pregnancy,
childbirth, and menopause are major contributors along with frequent heavy
lifting and constipation.
Roberta went to her doctor for her annual checkup. She told him that she
often experienced sudden urges to urinate – the ones you can’t
control. She couldn’t walk from her house to her dog kennel without
being overcome with them.
She also shared that she had experienced pain in her abdomen for two years.
The pain began progressing from her hips and down through her legs until
she could no longer sleep through the night. Her doctor observed that
her pelvic muscles were very tight and tender. That’s when he recommended
Pelvic Physical Therapy.
The pelvic floor muscles are a layer of muscles that support the pelvic
organs and span the bottom of the pelvis. When your pelvic floor muscles
are tight or weak, the tissues around the affected area may experience
irritation as well, leading to the persistent abdominal, low back and
hip pain as Roberta was experiencing.
Roberta had never heard of pelvic physical therapy and frankly had her
doubts, but was willing to try almost anything. She was already taking
anti-inflammatories in excess and had previously been misdiagnosed with
bursitis, undergoing steroid shots that proved ineffective. She even once
thought that she had ovarian cancer because the pain and spasms were so severe.
Specially trained physical therapists perform pelvic physical therapy.
It can help with many forms of pelvic pain and reduce symptoms associated
with multiple pelvic problems including urinary incontinence, constipation,
and sexual dysfunction. Roberta began therapy with Nancy Meesey, Physical
Therapist at Ozarks Medical Center (OMC) Rehabilitation Services. Meesey
has over 20 years of experience and is specially trained in Pelvic Physical Therapy.
Nancy taught Roberta urinary urge control techniques using muscle contractions
and deep breathing. She learned breath and muscle control, managing her
incontinence rather than it controlling her. Nancy found areas of tension
in Roberta’s abdomen and pelvis and used manual therapy techniques
to release these. In a matter of weeks, Roberta was able to sleep through
the night and didn’t have any hip pain. “The first night that
I slept through the night, I thought, Wow, I could’ve been doing
this two years ago,” exclaimed Roberta.
Roberta saw Nancy for five visits over two and a half weeks. By her second
visit, she was no longer waking at night to urinate. By visit number three,
she needed only one pantiliner in 24 hours, and it was staying dry nearly
all day. By visit number five, just two weeks into therapy, she was free
of bowel or bladder issues and was nearly pain-free in her lower back.
Nancy says that when she sees a client with urinary incontinence, most
of the time there is also a history of constipation. Once that is improved,
clients usually begin to see an improvement in their ability to hold urine
within about two weeks. “Roberta improved much more quickly as she
was excellent at putting the techniques into practice, had a pretty healthy
diet already, and was very consistent with her exercises,” said Meesey.
Roberta says that it was such a relief working with Nancy and that she
would recommend Nancy and Pelvic Therapy to anyone. “There was just
a multitude of things she taught me to do, changes that made a huge difference,”
said Roberta. “Skills that anyone can learn and practice.”
She says that Nancy puts you immediately at ease when discussing such
personal issues. Nancy’s facility dog, Hakuna, also provides welcome
stress relief with his friendly wag and calm demeanor. (Nancy trained with
Canine Companions for Independence to become a service dog facilitator. Facility dogs are expertly trained
and are trustworthy in professional environments. They can perform over
40 commands designed to motivate, inspire and comfort clients.)
Both men and women should be aware that any type of pelvic pain is not
normal, and they should seek medical attention sooner rather than later.
You don’t have to live with pain or the shame and inconvenience
of incontinence. Pelvic Physical Therapy may sound unusual, but it can
be a powerful road to relief.
Nancy Meesey is a Physical Therapist with over 20 years of experience.
She treats all conditions and specializes in pelvic health, which treats
conditions including pelvic and abdominal pain, sexual dysfunction, and
bowel or bladder dysfunction. She treats pelvic conditions for men, women,
and children of any age. Meesey practices at OMC Mountain Grove. For more
information, please call OMC Rehabilitation Services at 417-257-5959.
OMC Rehabilitation Services takes a team approach to meeting each patient's
therapy needs. In cases when a patient requires more than one rehabilitation
service, all therapists work together with the patient and his or her
family to develop and carry out the best possible plan for achieving therapy
goals. Physical Therapists Nancy Meesey and Emily Streit specialize in
pelvic health. With Streit practicing in West Plains and Meesey practicing
in Mountain Grove, OMC is able to provide more convenience for clients
to find a practitioner closer to home.
Ozarks Medical Center is a system of care encompassing eight primary care
and 16 specialty clinics, along with complete rehabilitation, behavioral
healthcare, and home care services. While the 114-bed acute care hospital
cares for more than 5,400 admissions, the entire medical system has more
than 364,000 patient visits annually, in South Central Missouri and Northern
Arkansas. For more information about OMC, visit
Nancy Meesey, Physical Therapist; with Hakuna, Certified Facility Animal;
OMC Rehabilitation Services.