Pelvic Health is for Men too: How Physical Therapy can Support Men’s Health & Wellness

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OAK BROOK, Ill. — Men’s Health Awareness Month is dedicated to bringing awareness to a variety of men’s health issues – from prostate and testicular cancer to physical and mental health – and proactive steps they can take to live a healthier life. As a provider of men’s health services, Athletico Physical Therapy is encouraging men to prioritize their pelvic health, which plays an important role in overall health and well-being, and to take early action to address pelvic health concerns this month.

Physical therapy (PT) is widely known to aid in recovery after surgery or injury to major joints, but many people aren’t aware that it can also support a multitude of men’s health issues. One of the most common conditions treated by pelvic health physical therapists is pelvic floor dysfunction, caused by impaired use of the pelvic floor and surrounding muscles, ligaments, and joints that support your pelvic organs. These muscles coordinate urinary, sexual, and reproductive functions, and provide core stability for posture, breathing, and exercise. Pelvic health PT is an effective treatment but is often underutilized by men experiencing prolonged bladder and bowel issues, pain or discomfort. In fact, studies show that men wait an average of 4.2 years to seek help for pelvic floor dysfunction, but see 70 to 80 percent success in treating nagging symptoms within just four to seven sessions of PT.

“While societal and cultural factors may impact men’s likelihood to report their symptoms, seeking help from specialized health professionals can positively impact their comfort and health,” said Jordan Miller, PT, DPT, PRPC and Pelvic Health Specialist at Athletico. “As trained specialists, physical therapists recognize the additional challenges associated with pelvic dysfunction and can work with you to create an individualized treatment plan. The bottom line is that pain and leakage are never normal, and being proactive to address your pelvic health concerns can mean avoiding other time-consuming and costly services, and even surgery.”

Pelvic floor dysfunction can take many forms, and your PT can help identify and treat the source of your symptoms, aid in pre- and post-operative recovery, and work in collaboration with other medical providers to advocate for optimal diagnosis and recovery. Here’s what you can expect when it comes to treating three common pelvic health issues:

  • Pelvic Pain: Pelvic pain may be experienced in the groin, genitals, rectum, and/or in the front of the pelvis near the bladder. It may even occur with urination or bowel movements. Treatment is always individualized, but often includes stretching and mobility exercises, education on dietary, lifestyle, and behavioral changes, pelvic floor relaxation techniques, and internal or external manual therapy techniques to improve pain and function.
  • Urinary Dysfunction: Urinary dysfunction can take the form of incontinence, like leakage with lifting weights or coughing, a strong urge, hesitancy or pain with urinating, inability to completely empty the bladder, a change in the speed or quality of your urinary stream, or increased frequency during the day or night. Urinary symptoms usually result from muscles that are too tight or too weak, and from poor coordination of the pelvic floor muscles in relation to your trunk and extremities. PT provides individualized treatment by improving your awareness of the pelvic floor muscles, optimizing your body mechanics and breathing patterns, and modifying any behavioral and dietary habits that may be contributing to your urinary dysfunction.
  • Pre- and Post-Prostatectomy Care: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, and up to 90 percent of patients will have some degree of stress incontinence after surgery, with up to 20 percent experiencing these symptoms for up to two years. PT can be highly effective in treating post-proctectomy pelvic floor issues and even set you up for success before surgery, leading to a faster recovery. Your PT will conduct a pre-surgical assessment to help you prepare, understand potential side effects, and create a personalized recovery plan. After surgery, you can expect to focus on increasing strength, stability, endurance and synergy of the pelvic floor, abdominals and hips, as well as a home exercise program to support recovery.

“The biggest issue is awareness,” added David French, PT, DPT, MTC and Pelvic Health Specialist at Athletico. “We continue to see patients who have had pelvic health issues for years and did not find pelvic health PT until after they tried many other avenues. Fortunately, direct access laws make it possible to start with physical therapy first in most states. This means that men can see a pelvic health physical therapist who will evaluate if PT is right to address urinary or pelvic pain issues, and determine the best course of treatment.”

If you feel you may have pelvic floor dysfunction that is limiting or preventing you from everyday tasks and activities, you can get started with physical therapy by scheduling a free assessment* at www.athletico.com.

*Per federal guidelines, beneficiaries of plans such as Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, VHA and other federally funded plans are not eligible for free assessments.

About Athletico Physical Therapy
Athletico Physical Therapy provides the highest quality orthopedic rehabilitation services to communities, employers and athletes. With its recent acquisition of Pivot Health Solutions, the company has nearly 8,000 employees across more than 900 locations throughout 24 states and the District of Columbia. Athletico is committed to our patients and referring physicians through our patient-centric focus, positive work environment, attention to quality and high standard of care. Athletico measures patient outcomes and satisfaction and is dedicated to continuous improvement. Athletico was named #1 Workplace in Chicago, “Best Physical Therapy Practice in the Nation” by ADVANCE magazine, Top Workplace in the Nation and has been recognized as a leader in employee volunteering and charitable giving. Our services include physical and occupational/hand therapy, workers’ compensation, women’s health therapy, concussion management and athletic training. For more information, or to schedule a free assessment in clinic or now online with our virtual free assessments, visit http://www.athletico.com and follow us on Twitter at @athletico.

Media Contact:
Dana Andreoli
Athletico Physical Therapy
dana.andreoli@athletico.com
630-259-5156

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