Many patients are apprehensive about coming in for their first appointment with a pelvic physical therapist, wondering what they can expect from the pelvic PT evaluation. We wanted to take the mystery out of it for you!
Either before you come into the clinic or when you arrive, you'll be asked to fill out a comprehensive set of forms. Ideally, these will cover a lot of important information and give the therapist a snapshot of your current condition. You should be answering questions about:
Your current symptoms, their severity and how long they've been happening
Any orthopedic pain (low back, hip, SI joint, tailbone, or groin)
Your urinary function
Your bowel function
Your medical history, including surgeries and medications
Once your PT has reviewed your forms they'll spend time discussing your symptoms with you to get more information. At our clinic, this will take anywhere from 20-40 minutes of the initial evaluation, depending on the complexity of your case.
After we understand what is going on and your goals for physical therapy, the therapist will leave the room and allow you to change into a patient gown. They'll proceed with a full examination. Your PT should assess how you move, your external structures around the pelvic girdle, down into your legs and up into your back, and then do an internal exam to assess the pelvic floor.
The final portion of your initial evaluation should consist of treatment - we want to get you feeling better as soon as possible and see how your body begins to respond to treatment. We'll have you change back into your clothes and come back in to speak for a few minutes before you go home. Your PT will reiterate what we've found and give you some concrete things to be working on before your next appointment.
We hope this gives you a better idea of what to expect from your initial pelvic PT evaluation!
At PelvicSanity, we support patients beyond the walls of our own clinic in Southern California. We offer an Out-of-Town program, remote consultations, and a Facebook support group for patients called Finding Pelvic Sanity.
Dr. Nicole Cozean is the founder of PelvicSanity Physical Therapy in Orange County, CA. PelvicSanity treats patients from all over the world with remote consultations and the Immersive Out of Town Program. She also runs Pelvic PT Rising, training other pelvic PTs to better serve patients.
Named Physical Therapist of the Year, Dr. Nicole is author of the award-winning book The Interstitial Cystitis Solution and the first PT to serve on the ICA Board of Directors, Her passion is helping those with pelvic health issues - regardless of where they live - find lasting relief.