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Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

When most people think of physical therapy, they think of exercise balls or special stretches for a back problem or surgical recovery. Physical therapy actually covers a wide variety of issues, including problems with the male and female pelvic floor. The pelvic floor contains muscles that are vital to supporting pelvic organs and assisting in bowel and bladder control.

Pelvic floor problems can cause a variety of health issues, including incontinence, bowel or urinary difficulties, constipation, and pelvic pain. These issues can sometimes seem embarrassing or taboo to talk about, but the reality is that they can be extremely disrupting to everyday life. Though you may not have heard about pelvic floor physical therapy before, it can change the lives of those experiencing these issues.

What is the pelvic floor?

It is important to understand what the pelvic floor is and what is does in the male and female body. Both men and women have a pelvic floor consisting of ligaments, muscles, tendons, nerves, and connective tissue that form the base and support for the pelvic area. The female pelvic floor holds the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum. The male pelvic floor holds the bladder, bowel, urethra, and rectum. Pelvic floor muscles are attached to the pubic bone in the front and the tail bone in the back for both men and women.

What are the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction?

Symptoms may include, but are not limited to:

  • Pain in the hip, buttocks, tailbone, lower abdomen, or pelvis

  • Difficulty sitting

  • Bladder or bowel dysfunction, including urinary frequency, bladder or bowel incontinence, pain during bowel movements, constipation, or incomplete emptying of the bladder or bowel

  • Tenderness in the muscles of hip, buttocks, or abdomen

What causes pelvic pain?

There are many reasons why you may be experiencing pelvic pain, but some of the most common causes are:

  • Muscle tightness or weakness of the pelvic floor

  • Uncoordinated pelvic muscles

  • Pressure on nerves in the pelvis

  • Scar tissues from abdominal or pelvic surgery

  • Pregnancy or childbirth

  • Conditions affecting pelvic organs, such as pelvic organ prolapse, prostatitis, or endometriosis


What treatments are available for pelvic floor issues?

  • Internal exams

  • Biofeedback

  • Internal stimulation

  • Bladder retraining programs

  • Dilator training programs

  • Strengthening, stretching, or relaxation exercises

  • Education for self-management and prevention

Whaley Sandra headshot Final.jpg

Sandra Whaley, PT, DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy

7150 Halcyon Park Drive

Montgomery, AL 36117


Dr. Sandra Whaley is a specialist in physical therapy with over 23 years of experience. She earned her Master of Science in Physical Therapy from University of Alabama at Birmingham and her Doctor of Physical Therapy at Alabama State University. Dr. Whaley then received her certification for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Treatment from the Herman and Wallace Institute and for Integrative Dry Needling from Dr. Ma’s Dry Needling Institute. She provides interventions for incontinence, pelvic pain, and postpartum pain utilizing internal exams and treatments, biofeedback, internal stimulation, bladder retraining programs, and dilator training programs.

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