When you visit Dr. Michael M Awad, DO at Women's Health Group in Chicago, physical therapy may not come to mind. Physical therapy works on broken bones and new knees; it isn't something you need for a gynecological exam. But Dr. Awad understands particular conditions that affect women, including pelvic floor disorders and abdominal separation, require specialists to help with treatment. If you're interested in learning how physical therapy can help your special medical needs, call the office or book an appointment online.
Physical therapy aims at reducing pain and improving function to improve your health. Treatment might include physically manipulating your body to improve form or teaching you exercises to strengthen muscles and enhance support and movement.
The highly trained physical therapists at Women's Health Group possess a master's or doctoral degree in physical therapy and take a particular interest in women's health.
Physical therapists are trained to treat all types of conditions, including those specific to women such as:
The physical therapist may also assist during pregnancy, teaching safe exercises for good health and more comfortable delivery, and proper body mechanics to reduce pain and edema.
At Women’s Health Group, the physical therapist initially meets with you to determine your individual health needs and devises a personalized treatment plan. If necessary, you may need to come in once a week or more for therapy.
Physical therapy teaches you how to strengthen your core muscles to reduce symptoms caused by pelvic floor disorder, which is when your pelvic muscles weaken and can’t properly support the bladder, uterus, and vagina, causing them to fall.
Pelvic floor disorder is common in women and may lead to urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse, which is when the bowel and bladder drop into the vagina.
Exercises to improve pelvic floor disorder might include wall push-ups, crunches, planks, and sit-ups. The therapist may also teach you core-strengthening exercises for home, such as sitting on an exercise ball while watching TV or proper posture to strengthen the abdominal muscles.
Abdominal separation, clinically known as diastasis rectus, is when there’s separation between the right side of your belly muscle and the left creating space, and causing what many women refer to as the “mom pooch” or protruding belly. It typically occurs in women after they give birth.
Unfortunately, sit-ups and planks can't help your abdominal separation and may even make it worse. The physical therapists at Women's Health Group know no one specific exercise can fix abdominal separation. But they work with you to create an appropriate plan, which might include the use of a belling splint, to help flatten your belly and improve appearance.