Frequently asked questions
“Do not follow where the path may lead.
Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Muscles, connective tissue (fascia), and nerves in the abdomen, pelvis, and surrounding regions may all contribute to pelvic pain. Physical therapists are specifically trained to evaluate and treat muscle spasm and trigger points that can result from muscle imbalance, scar tissue tension, prolonged nerve compression or stretch injuries, and trauma.
How can my pelvic pain be related to my hips or abdomen?
Some muscles and structures in the pelvic region refer pain to the abdomen, hips, buttock or tailbone areas. In other cases, muscle spasm and trigger points in the hips or abdomen can refer pain deep into the pelvis. Research now indicates that scar tissue in the abdomen can cause pelvic pain. Even prolonged postural changes from back pain/surgery or pregnancy can cause muscle tension and spasm that may contribute to your pelvic pain. Our goal is to provide comprehensive evaluation that will allow us to treat the source of the problem.
Arizona is a “direct access” state for physical therapy services. You do not need a referral from a physician for physical therapy services.
However, bowel, bladder, and other pelvic health problems may also occur in conjunction with other serious medical problems, and should be evaluated by your medical doctor.
If you come to physical therapy without a medical referral, we may request you visit your healthcare provider if the therapist feels it is in your best interest. Or, we may require a referral from your medical provider prior to your first session to ensure adequate medical screening and testing.
Our goal is to collaborate and communicate with your health care providers to ensure comprehensive treatment.
Additionally, your insurance guidelines and policy may require a doctor’s prescription for you to be reimbursed.
Most insurance companies cover physical therapy services. Some require a doctor’s referral. Check with your insurance company to see if they cover physical therapy as an “out-of-network” rate.
Please download the Insurance Benefit Worksheet for directions and questions to ask your insurance provider about reimbursement for physical therapy services.
Payment is due in full at time of service. Please speak with our billing expert if you have questions about payment.
If your symptoms involve pain or weakness of the pelvic floor muscles, you will need a pelvic muscle examination for the most comprehensive assessment of your problem. This provides an important piece of information regarding your individualized physical therapy treatment plan. Physical therapists’ pelvic examinations are different that physician examinations in that we are providing education about your muscle function during the exam to help you understand your problem. If pelvic exams are painful for you, we may modify your examination or defer parts of the exam as appropriate. You always have the option to defer or decline any part of your examination and treatment.
Yes, unless you are feeling unable to attend. Your period will not usually disrupt exercise or manual treatment, although if you prefer, we may defer some interventions until your cycle ends. Contact us prior to changing your appointment if you have any questions.
Research indicates, and we see clinically, that 45-70% of both men and women perform “Kegel exercises”, or pelvic muscle contractions, incorrectly. While “kegels” may be helpful for some patients with urinary leakage, other patients have pelvic muscle spasms that can contribute to leakage, so doing “kegels” can make the problem worse. Even without pelvic muscle spasms, when “kegels” are done incorrectly, leakage may remain unchanged or worsen. Postural impairments and muscle imbalances in the hips and pelvis can also prevent proper pelvic muscle contractions.
Yes, the pelvic floor muscles provide support and control for both urinary and bowel control.
Yes. You are welcome to bring a spouse, partner or friend with you to any or all visits. It can be educational for people close to you to understand more about your condition and treatment program. We are also able to provide clinical education for patients and their partners on pain management techniques.
Absolutely! However, it is preferable for you to come to your initial and follow up treatments without your children if possible. This allows for open discussion of personal information, as well as comprehensive examination and treatment. However, we appreciate that many of our patients are busy parents, and that childcare issues may occasionally be a factor. Please keep your appointment if this occurs and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
Completed Patient Forms
The patient forms take time to fill out and should be done ideally at home before you come for your first visit.
If you do not bring them with you, you will need to fill them out prior to seeing your therapist.
You may bring a separate list of current medications, past surgeries, and any specific tests/ results with you if you prefer.
Referral from your physician; if required by your insurance company and you plan to submit for reimbursement.
If you are not sure whether you need a referral for insurance purposes, check with your insurance provider.
You should arrive 15 minutes early for your first visit. If you did not complete your paperwork you should allow an additional 15 minutes to fully complete this prior to your appointment. We suggest that you arrive a few minutes early to your follow up sessions to allow time to check in, use the restroom, and change clothing as needed prior to seeing your therapist.
Please wear or bring comfortable clothing that allows ease of movement for your first and follow up visits. We also have gowns for your convenience. Please consider wearing comfortable walking shoes or sneakers to allow us to better observe your mobility and walking patterns.
Patients are usually seen once a week. The number of total treatment sessions may vary according to your diagnosis, duration and intensity of your symptoms, medical and musculoskeletal contributors, and your consistency with attendance and home program. At your first appointment, your therapist will review your assessment and expected course of therapy and will continue to discuss your progress throughout the course of treatment.
Our philosophy is to work with patients to help them succeed and meet their goals. From day one, our goal is to work with you to resolve your symptoms and progress you towards independent status! Ideally, patients should attend regular sessions, especially in the early pat of treatment to effectively reduce symptoms and reinforce your home program. However, we understand that our patients have multiple time and financial commitments that may affect their ability to attend regular physical therapy sessions. We will do our best to balance your time in the clinic with hands-on therapy and patient education to allow you to best maintain your progress between clinic visits.
Yes. We often collaborate with other physical therapists and providers who suspect pelvic floor dysfunction in their patients. We will conduct a detailed evaluation, provide a written report, and discuss follow up recommendations with the patient and provider. A medical release form will need to be completed by the patient.