Women’s Health

Women’s bodies go through a number of strains and life changes that are exclusive just to women. Whether pregnancy or menopause, there are a series of changes that impact the musculoskeletal system of women, specifically. Not only that, but there are certain conditions, such as pelvic floor dysfunction and osteoarthritis, that pose a greater risk to women than to men. With these in mind, it’s no wonder that physical therapists have designated certain treatments specifically to address women’s overall health and the types of conditions that seem to have a greater impact on their lives. 

In this page, we’ll walk through the types of conditions that are more present in women and the treatments available. If at any point you have any questions, you can reach out to our team directly to schedule a free consultation with one of our physical therapists.

Conditions Specific to Women’s Health

As we mentioned, there are a series of conditions for which women have a higher risk of developing than men. A couple of the most common conditions include:

  • Osteoarthritis — Osteoarthritis describes chronic inflammation in the joints as a result of the protective cartilage in the joints breaking down over time. While this condition is often caused by general age and wear and tear of the body, for some reason it affects women more often than men. Researchers are still trying to determine why that is, but the statistics are clearly skewed toward women developing osteoarthritis more frequently as they age.
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction — Women are often at a higher risk of developing pelvic floor dysfunction, usually due to pregnancy and childbirth (sometimes multiple pregnancies and births). The hormone increase during pregnancy loosens the pelvic floor muscles, while the added pressure to the pelvic floor from weight gain during pregnancy can cause those muscles to weaken over time. While men also experience pelvic floor dysfunction, women are largely at a higher risk for this condition due to these reasons.

Physical therapy is often the preferred method of treatment to address these women’s health concerns. Physical therapy can help address the common symptoms associated with women’s health conditions, such as:

  • Chronic low back and pelvic/groin pain
  • Discomfort during intercourse
  • Loss of bladder/bowel control (leaking during certain movements)
  • Constipation
  • Frequent urination/inability to fully relieve the bladder

A physical therapist will work with you to determine the best treatment plan to relieve your symptoms and help you reach your lifestyle recovery goals, e.g., are you wanting to get back to running without having to worry about bladder leaks? Each treatment plan will be personalized to your needs, and your physical therapist will help you set realistic goals that you can measure against along the way.

Types of Physical Therapy Treatment for Women’s Health

There are many different types of physical therapy treatment for women’s health. Specifically for the two conditions listed above that affect women more than men, your physical therapist may recommend the following group of treatments:

  • For osteoarthritis — Therapeutic stretches and exercises can help to reduce pressure on the inflamed joints by strengthening the muscles surrounding the joint. This is particularly helpful for larger joints like the hip, knee and ankle. For smaller joints, like fingers and wrists, treatments like manual therapy, ultrasound, and joint mobilization may be used to help reduce inflammation and stiffness and improve range of motion in the joint. 
  • For pelvic floor rehabilitation Biofeedback is the most commonly used physical therapy treatment for strengthening the pelvic floor. A biofeedback machine helps to retrain the muscles in your pelvic floor and improve overall muscle strength and coordination. In conjunction with biofeedback, many physical therapists will also recommend active exercises to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. This is also helpful for women who suffer from diastasis recti after pregnancy, which is the splitting of the abdominal muscles, which weakens the core and creates more pressure on the pelvic floor muscles.

If you’re ready to start treatment for your women’s health issues, contact our team today to schedule an appointment or visit our locations page to find a clinic near you. Our team at Lattimore Physical Therapy is here to help you find relief from your chronic pain and symptoms, so you can get back to the lifestyle you love.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is a health care profession that involves evaluating, diagnosing and treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system. The goal of physical therapy is to focus on movement in order to restore function, minimize pain and improve an individual’s quality of life. Physical therapists often utilize treatment modalities such as therapeutic exercise, soft tissue mobilization, ultrasound, electrical stimulation and other treatments to help achieve these goals.  

Do I Need a Referral?

The state of New York has “direct access” to physical therapy, which means that patients are not legally required to have a physician’s referral to see a physical therapist. However, some insurances may require patients to have a referral or authorization before they will approve payment. Be sure to contact your insurance company beforehand and determine the process that they require.

It’s important to know that if you are under the care of a physician and require physical therapy treatment, you have the freedom to choose your own physical therapy clinic.

Do You Accept My Insurance?

We accept most major insurance coverages. Some of those we accept include Tricare, Medicare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna and workers’ compensation. If you don’t see your insurance company listed above, reach out to us and we’ll let you know if we accept yours. At the time of scheduling your first appointment, we request that you provide us your insurance information so that we may verify your benefits and coverage.  

How Can I Pay for Treatment?

We accept payment via cash, check, flex spending card, and debit or credit card (Visa, Mastercard and Discover). Payment is expected at the time of treatment and typically required during check-in. If you have insurance coverage, there may be a deductible or copay required. 

Before your first visit, we will contact your insurance company to verify your benefits for physical therapy. Some insurance providers have restrictions on specific treatments. As a courtesy, Lattimore Physical Therapy files with your primary insurance as well as any secondary coverage. You will be billed for any cost share (if applicable) after your insurance has paid their portion. 

What Should I Expect During My First Visit?

During your initial visit, your physical therapist will provide you with a thorough 45-minute to one-hour evaluation in a private room. Please be prepared to discuss your needs, your pain, and any lack of mobility or function that you currently have. This evaluation will involve certain range-of-motion, postural and strength tests to help your physical therapist develop a plan unique to you and your condition.Treatment for your injury will begin on the day of your initial visit.  

How Should I Dress?

You should wear loose-fitting clothing during each session with us. Loose-fitting clothing helps us access and move the areas of the body that are being treated. If you have a knee problem, it is best to wear shorts. For a shoulder problem, a tank top is a good choice. For low back problems, a loose-fitting shirt and pants are the best go-tos.

Do I Need to Bring Any MRIs or X-rays That I Have?

Please bring any relevant MRI or X-ray interpretation reports from your physician’s office. However, since X-rays and MRIs aren’t always the most telling, your physical therapist will want to also take into account your medical history and other physical tests and measures. Their goal is to perform an evaluation as best they can using a thorough series of processes.

How Many Visits Will I Need?

The number of visits necessary to complete treatment varies from patient to patient. Some patients only undergo a couple of sessions, while others need several months of care. It most often depends on your diagnosis, the severity of your impairment(s), your past medical history and other similar factors. You will also be reevaluated on a monthly basis. Each time you visit your doctor, we will provide you with a progress report with our professional recommendations.

Can I Bring My Child With Me to My Appointments?

Yes! Our policy allows for children to accompany their parents during appointments.