Throughout her lifetime, a woman’s body undergoes unique changes and faces unique challenges that can cause problems men don’t experience. Having a therapy team with the skills and knowledge to handle these issues locally is something Perham Health is happy to possess. From the challenges of back pain before and after pregnancy, to the challenges of urinary incontinence and osteoporosis in later years, Perham Health’s physical and occupational therapy departments professionals have advanced training to help you overcome these challenges.
Pregnancy and post-partum pain
A woman’s body goes through many anatomical and physiological changes during and after pregnancy that can often lead to pain and discomfort. Studies have shown that anywhere from 20-72% of women will experience low back and pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy. This does not have to be the normal. At Perham Health, we have therapists who can help with:
- Back and pelvic pain both during and after pregnancy
- Weakness of core musculature (diastasis recti)
- Offer recommendations on bracing and belts to provide support and alleviate pain during and after pregnancy
- Provide education on body mechanics both while pregnant and while caring for your new baby
- Provide advice on exercise and maintaining your health during and after your pregnancy
- Improve swelling in your legs through gentle massage and/or providing recommendations on compression
- Help with bladder control issues
Our therapists will provide an extensive evaluation to be able to tailor a program that is suited to your specific needs while using a gentle approach with hands-on treatment, education, and instruction.
Urinary incontinence affects approximately 20 million people in the United States, including somewhere between 26-46% of women. It is a serious medical condition which can lead to rashes, pressure ulcers, and urinary tract infections, and is a serious psychological stressor, as a source of embarrassment and self-imposed social and physical activity restriction, impaired sexual relationships, impaired emotional and psychological well-being and quality of life.
There are three main types of urinary incontinence: stress urinary incontinence, which is involuntary leakage during exertion or effort, sneezing or coughing; urge urinary incontinence, which is involuntary leakage which occurs during or immediately after a sense of urgency; and finally a mixed type which has features of both.
Our therapists at Perham Health have received advanced training in how to assist patients with managing these conditions, through addressing underlying weakness in the pelvic floor muscles and reduced awareness of bladder irritants. The American College of Physicians now strongly recommends pelvic floor muscle training with bladder training as the first-line treatment for women with stress urinary incontinence and mixed type, with a weaker recommendation for women with urgency urinary incontinence. The therapy is more than Kegel’s; if you suffer from urinary incontinence, ask your medical provider for a referral.
According to the National Center for Disease Statistics, 16% of adults aged 65 and older have osteoporosis of the lumbar spine or hip, with women nearly five times as likely to have it as men. Unfortunately, one in two women, and one in four men, will fracture a bone some time in their lifetimes because of osteoporosis. Up to one in five people who fracture their hip die within a year, and one in four will require a long-term stay in a nursing home. Only one third of those suffering a hip fracture get back to their prior level of functioning.
There are treatments for osteoporosis, and hopefully patients pair with their doctor to use medications and diet, smoking cessation and limiting alcohol consumption to address bone density. However, often missing pieces in the management program are learning proper posture and safe ways of moving and lifting, instruction in safe exercises to improve bone density as well as in what exercises and activities to avoid, balance and fall prevention strategies, including a home safety checklist. Perham Health’s physical therapists can fill these gaps, and arm patients with the knowledge and skills to minimize their risk of fractures.
If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, talk to your medical provider about a referral.