Physical therapy can be beneficial in managing constipation by addressing underlying factors that contribute to bowel dysfunction. Here’s how physical therapy can help with constipation:
- Education and lifestyle modifications: Physical therapists can provide education on bowel health, diet, hydration, toilet positioning and lifestyle modifications that promote regular bowel movements.
- Pelvic floor muscle training: The pelvic floor muscles play a crucial role in bowel function. Physical therapists with expertise in pelvic health can assess the strength, coordination, and relaxation of these muscles. They can teach exercises to improve pelvic floor muscle function, which can aid in proper bowel movements and reduce constipation.
- Biofeedback training: Biofeedback is a technique that helps individuals gain awareness and control over their pelvic floor muscles. Physical therapists can use biofeedback devices to provide real-time feedback on muscle activity during bowel movements. This helps patients learn to relax and coordinate their pelvic floor muscles effectively, promoting regular and efficient bowel movements.
- Manual therapy techniques: Physical therapists may use manual techniques such as abdominal massage or visceral mobilization to improve bowel mobility and stimulate the digestive system. These techniques can help relieve constipation and improve overall gastrointestinal function.
- Posture and movement retraining: Poor posture and movement patterns can affect bowel function. Physical therapists can assess your posture and movement mechanics and provide guidance on proper body mechanics during activities that support healthy bowel movements.
- Exercise prescription: Regular physical activity can help stimulate bowel movements and improve overall gastrointestinal function. Physical therapists can design a personalized exercise program that includes activities such as walking, jogging, or specific exercises to promote bowel motility and relieve constipation.
- Breathing and relaxation techniques: Stress and tension can contribute to constipation. Physical therapists can teach breathing and relaxation techniques to reduce stress levels and promote a more relaxed state, which can positively impact bowel function.
Our skilled team of pelvic floor physical therapists will perform a thorough evaluation to identify areas of impairment that are contributing to your symptoms. Following the exam, your physical therapist will work with you to create a plan of care that best suits your personal goals and needs.