Occupational Therapy for your Pelvic Health

Occupational Therapy is coming to KW Pelvic Health and you may be asking yourself, what could an Occupational Therapist do to help me with my pelvic health?
The answer…lots of great things!

What is Occupational Therapy?
Illness, disability, pain or significant life transitions can disrupt our ability to engage in the life roles and activities that are important to us. Occupational Therapists are trained to merge lived experience with best available evidence in order to help find creative ways to navigate these challenges, manage symptoms, maximize function, and find a life balance that works for each unique individual.

A Biopsychosocial approach to recovery is the gold standard of treatment for persistent pain and pelvic floor dysfunction.

What the heck does Biopsychosocial mean?

An approach that addresses the physiology (the body and the nervous system), the psychology (thoughts, memories, beliefs and emotions about symptoms) and the social aspects of symptoms (how they influence engagement in important relationships, environments, and activities). An Occupational Therapist can help to address all three of these systems, providing a whole person approach to recovery.
Why is a Biopsychosocial approach important in pelvic floor dysfunction & what are some interventions offered by Occupational Therapists within this framework?
Bio/Physiology – What is going on in your body is an important piece of the puzzle! Your muscles, your tissues, and your nervous system can all play a role in pelvic floor dysfunction. Your Physiotherapists are phenomenal at assessing and addressing barriers to recovery that lie in your physiology.

An Occupational Therapist could supplement your rehabilitation program in this domain by looking at ergonomics, alignment, breathing/pressure management strategies, & functional movement to eliminate symptoms during triggering activities. Occupational Therapists also offer sensory strategies to help calm your nervous system.

Psychology – Pelvic health and mental health are inextricably linked. For many individuals, symptoms of a pelvic health issue can cause distraction, preoccupation, hypervigilance and significant distress. Unfortunately, the deep muscles in our core and pelvic floor can be greatly impacted by distress. Our posture changes and we can hold a lot of tension in these deep muscles, making symptoms worse and thus creating even more distress. It can become a vicious cycle of worsening physical and emotional wellness.

An Occupational Therapist can provide psychotherapy to explore your thoughts, beliefs, and emotions around your symptoms (as well as distress stemming from other facets of your life) and how this may be impacting your recovery. It can also be helpful to explore how your mental health is being impacted by your rehabilitation. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or mindfulness can be applied within a traditional counseling model or as strategies integrated into your physical rehabilitation program to help you work towards whole wellness!

Social – While pelvic floor dysfunction is not usually life threatening, it is very often life diminishing. It can impact our most basic bodily functions, our day to day habits and routines, our sexual experiences, our body image, our relationships, and our ability to engage in many different activities and life roles that are important to us.

An Occupational Therapist can work with you to figure our how your pelvic floor dysfunction is disrupting your life and what we can do to both minimize this disruption and address your symptoms in order to help you find balance. An Occupational Therapist is also quite skilled at finding ways to integrate effective rehabilitation into the context of YOUR life. Is a rehabilitation program just not going to make it to the top of your to-do-list? How can we make achievable adjustments to pre-existing routines and movement to help you see meaningful results?

You would benefit from working with an OT for your pelvic health if:
You have a pelvic health issue and want to address it!
• You have felt stuck in your rehabilitation and are looking for a new perspective.
• The idea of a “Function First” approach to your rehabilitation is appealing to you.
• You have a complicated relationship with your pelvic health or are struggling with the social and functional impact, meaningful relationships, anxiety, depression, body image, or other forms of distress.
• If you have pain that has persisted beyond 3-6 months. Learn more about the OT approach to persistent pain here: https://pelvicresilience.ca/chronic-pain/

If you have questions for Lara, please email her at lara@pelvicresilience.ca.  If you would like to book an appointment with her, please call KW Pelvic Health Belmont at 519-743-4355.