No announcement yet.

First Physical Therapy

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • First Physical Therapy

    I had my first Physical Therapy yesterday. I am currently in a flare. Because of my IC, both my bladder and pelvic floor have been spasming. The physical therapist was specialized in relaxing the pelvic floor muscles and knew all about IC. The PT went great I think.

    After getting a very detailed history, she had me work stretch in different ways to see if my body was "protecting" my bladder area. It wasn't too badly. Then she tested my flexibility to see how else my body was being affected by IC.

    She found muscles that were spasming and/or tight in my lower abdominals. It reminded me of seeing a masseuse--how they press and hold in areas where their is lactic acid build up. First she pressed around and found areas along my abdominal wall that were painful. The most painful area was right where I imagined my ovaries being. When she pressed in on it, it felt a lot like very strong, deep menstrual cramps. Apparently, what she was pressing on was top of my hip flexors--i did not realize hip flexors went up and into your lower abdomen. But honestly, this felt NOTHING like what I think sore or tight muscles feel like. It felt like a much more internal, damaged pain.

    I am in the military, so I am used to having sore and tense muscles, and lactic acid bubbles in my neck and back. The reason I am pointing this out is because I think a lot of women would also misinterpret this kind of pain and sensitivity as being more internal, when in fact it is muscular and can be treated with massage or PT like this.

    She told me that my hip flexors were very tight, probably from defending the area around my bladder. What I find interesting about this is that for the past 2-3 years I have knee issues (patellar subluxation, where the knee cap does not fully seat correctly, and thus it grinds back and forth or gets stuck slightly out of alignment). When I saw a physical therapist before for this, eventually they determined that my patella was being pulled out of alignment because my IT band and hip flexors were so tight.

    *As a side note, in eastern medicine, kidney and bladder issues also typically have knee pain issues. I wonder if this is the "western" reason why..When you are having bladder issues, your body "protects" that area, thus tightening your leg muscles/IT band, which can eventually lead to knee issues. Just a thought.

    So she pressed in on those muscles with one of those 4 pronged plastic massage things you can buy in a drug store. Even thought it was pretty painful and uncomfortable, she told me that the if she stopped pressing the pain would be worse and the muscle would remain clenched. And after like 20-30 seconds of pressure, the pain from pressing lessened substantially. She said she did not decrease the pressure, that it felt better because the muscle was loosening up.

    Then she did the same thing using her fingers inside my vagina. It was uncomfortable, but I could feel the muscles loosening. She had me do kegel exercises while she pressed. Apparently, i need to practice relaxing those muscles as their clenching is causing a lot of my IC pain. She told me to expect some soreness later on in the day; I had a little, but compared to the pain I have been it, it was not too bad. She gave me kegel exercises to do every day and also suggested I go to yoga a few times a week.

    Overall, it was a really positive experience. Today, I am urinating better--a constant stream instead of stop and go. And I did not have to take as high dosage of pain killers as I have been. And overall, I don't feel the same level of pain that I had been feeling.

    I just wanted to encourage other women to get this kind of treatment if they can! Even if there is not a specific "IC" physical therapist in your area, you might be able to find a regular physical therapist who can help with the lower abdominal tightness, which for me has been causing a lot of additional pain.

  • #2
    That is great that it is helping you that much. You just made me want to go back to PT!! I went before but stopped when my insurance changed and now we are changing again so I have to wait and see what this plan covers.

    The only part that confuses me is the kegels, from everything I have ever read IC specialists say we are not to do kegels because our muscles are already tight. However, the first physical therapist I saw had me do what she called a reverse kegel, first I would tighten just a little to locate the muscles and then I would try and relax those same muscles. Is that how you are doing them?

    Like I said, I am so glad you are getting good results so fast! I hope it gives you a better IC life! Keep us updated.

    Link to the patient information, everything from What is IC? to Disability

    American Urological Association Clinical Guideline
    Diagnosis and Treatment of Intersitial Cysitis/Painful Bladder Syndrom


    • #3
      Did you see a military PT or did they send you off base?



      • #4
        sailawaygrl: I am not sure, we definitely did regular kegels, but the focus was just as much on the relaxation part. For example, on the worksheet that she gave me, the instructions said to hold it for three seconds, relax for three seconds...But my goal was to hold it for three seconds and relax for ten. I agree with you about what I have read about kegels making it worse? I am not sure, I will ask her when I go again in two weeks. She also said that next time she is going to insert some instrument that measures how hard I am squeezing so I can the difference between squeezing and relaxing. Perhaps doing kegels while she presses on the muscle is different...

        One thing she did mention: She looked at the outside, and said that part of the skin looked "thin", which is what you expect when there is low blood flow to the area (because of clenched muscles).

        suzannes: Both my urologist and my PT work for the military. I live in Hawaii, and there is an army hospital on the island where we are sent for pretty much anything other than a routine ailment. The urologist is a specialist in the Ob/Gyn section. And the PT is a specialist who focuses on the pelvic floor muscles--her office is right outside a normal physical therapy clinic, so it is kinda weird...

        Luckily, the military has been addressing this issue well so far. I was scheduled to deploy but it was my decision whether or not I felt capable. Due to the levels of pain I have been in recently, I chose not to...But my chain of command has been very helpful in working with me to try to get me better so I can deploy at some point in the near future when I was feeling healthy.

        But, just to clarify, neither the urologist or my local provider (who is supposed to make the call about whether or not I am deployable) thought I was non-deployable because of this issue, which I think is very fortunate. I chose not to deploy because the work up cycle would be verty time-consuming and it would be challenging (to say the least!) to ensure that I could go make my 3+ doctos appointments a week.

        My battalion moved me to a different section: same level of responsibility but a lot more flexibility in my working hours. My CO also said that I should not feel bad about going to the appointments, that is my primary mission right now and he knows how long and frusterating going to the doctor a few times a week can be..(You show up 15 minutes early like they ask, and then you wait an hour for the appointment, go to the appointment, and then need to pick up the refill of your medicine afterwards...)


        • #5
          So you must be at Trippler. I'm glad they have a PT who specializes in PFD. I am retired AF and go to the major hospital in Alaska. The urologist is ok, I see PT off base since no one here specializes in PFD, plus they are really busy with post deployment soldiers. I'm glad the military is treating you well!