Gastrointestinal and Bowel Disorders

Gastrointestinal and bowel disorders can arise from many different factors. Your GI doctor(s) evaluated and tested for any digestive inflammatory, transit blockages or disease processes.   A certain percent of constipation and abdominal pain/bloating may arise due to muscle and fascial restriction of the pelvic floor and or abdominal regions.

Your pelvic physical therapist will examine the muscles, connective tissue of both the pelvic floor, abdominal and sacral/gluteal region. We will discuss toileting patterns, sitting posture, and gently assess the mobility of your ascending/transverse and descending colon within the abdominal cavity.  The pelvic floor muscles and abdominals work in unison and when there is muscle holding patterns, scar tissue from prior surgeries/injuries or if the colon is “stuck” internally, these can give rise to constipation and abdominal discomfort.


Your pelvic physical therapist will figure out what faulty habits, postures and tension patterns you may be doing daily to cause or exacerbate your symptoms and then will educate on how to reverse these patterns.  We implement a wide variety of manual therapies such as myofascial release, skin rolling, trigger point release and nerve mobilization techniques to lengthen and normalize tone.  We are trained in gentle visceral mobilization techniques to free the internal organs so they can optimally function.

We use biofeedback training to train your pelvic floor muscles to relax. We’ll teach you an individualized stretching, relaxation,  yoga poses and graduate to core stabilization exercises for your home program.  We’ll direct you to do a daily 10 minute deep breathing /meditation to further calm your system.  While your therapist will take your lifestyle in mind when creating your home exercise regimen, it is the consistent and frequent practice at home that will have the biggest impact on your rate of recovery.


Below is an example of the type of exercise your therapist might assign you as part of your home exercise program.  It is called “ILU” or the “I Love U” as you massage the letter on your abdominal wall over your intestines to help with the transit for a bowel movement.

Step one of ILU exercise Step 2 of ILU Exercise Step 3 of ILU Exercise Step 4 of ILU Exercise

This is just one of many pelvic floor exercises you can find in the PelvicTrack app for iPhone users.  Use the app to find a library of exercises , record your symptoms and pain levels, and even keep a bowel diary to record activity.  For more information, check out our blog post on the PelvicTrack app or visit the PelvicTrack website. For a detailed home exercise program tailored to your body and your symptoms, call us to set up an appointment with the therapists working under the direction of Evelyn Hecht, PT, ATC at EMH Physical Therapy.

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