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Interstitial Cystitis and Physical Therapy

Interstitial cystitis

For patients with interstitial cystitis (IC), physical therapy can be an effective treatment strategy.

Though the exact cause of IC is unknown, like many conditions affecting the pelvic organs, there can be many factors that contribute.  The pain may come from the bladder itself, the pelvic floor muscles, and the tissue surrounding the tight group of pelvic floor muscles.  When the pelvic floor muscles contract and relax, they help to control urinary and bowel function.  Hina Sheth, owner of Rebalance PT, explains that with IC, the nerve signaling between the bladder, brain, and muscles surrounding the pelvic organs degenerates over time into chaotic crosstalk. “This faulty communication causes a change in the muscle itself,” she says, “The muscles get a higher state of excitability, the surrounding connective tissue gets tighter, and the resulting pain is referred back to the bladder.” This can put the person in a vicious cycle of tight tissue contributing to pain and pain then increasing the guarding or tightening response of the tissue.

This vicious cycle contributes to pain symptoms for many IC patients.  About 85% of patients with IC have pelvic floor problems that account for some amount of pelvic pain according to Dr. Robert Moldwin, who is the director of the Arthur Smith Institute for Urology in Long Island, NY.

Pelvic pain associated with Interstitial Cystitis can be a cycle that may have been brought on by trauma, chronic muscle tension, habitual urge or voiding patterns, and decreased blood flow to the area associated with tight muscles which then cause pain.

When there is a large number of muscular symptoms or connective tissue tightness, physical therapy can be very effective to alleviate the pain because it addresses the compression of the connective tissue, muscles, nerves, and vessels in the pelvis.

Interstitial Cystitis

At Rebalance PT, our physical therapists specialize in pelvic health.  Each PT has extensive experience with treating conditions associated with pelvic pain and techniques that restore the normal function of the pelvic muscles. Blood flow to the pelvic floor musculature can be improved through connective tissue release of the pelvic floor muscles and soft tissue on the abdomen and pelvis. Soft tissue work releases the mechanical compression on the blood vessels and thus improves blood flow. This is only one part of the treatment, however. Physical therapists at Rebalance will also provide additional lifestyle changes and recommendations to help release tension in tight pelvic floor muscles and minimize stress on pelvic floor organs. Many times, symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction overlap in several different systems like the colorectal, GI, GYN, orthopedic, and other pain disorders.  In such cases, the therapists can help to determine if additional medical management is necessary to offer you the best outcome.

If you have any specific questions or concerns related to physical therapy and your individual condition (IC), we encourage you to take advantage of a complimentary phone call with Rebalance PT. During this call, you will have the opportunity to discuss your symptoms in detail and explore whether physical therapy could potentially offer effective solutions for your specific needs. Our team of experienced professionals at Rebalance PT is dedicated to providing personalized care and tailoring treatment plans to address the unique requirements of each individual.

Furthermore, in addition to offering physical therapy services, Rebalance PT understands the importance of comprehensive healthcare. If, during the course of our conversation, it is determined that you may benefit from additional medical support, we are well-equipped to assist you in connecting with the appropriate healthcare providers. Our goal is to ensure that you receive comprehensive care that addresses all aspects of your well-being.

Written by Stephanie Muntzer, MPT, PYT, RYT200, CPI, SFMA, FMSc

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