Terms you might hear your physical therapist use
Refers to the dysfunctional activation of the muscles surrounding the anus.
Abnormalities in movement patterns, balance, coordination, and gait (walking / running pattern).
Defined as thinning and inflammation of vaginal tissues; symptoms can include abnormal sensations through the vaginal area including itching or burning. This commonly will lead to poor extensibility of the vaginal tissues, causing dyspareunia, or pain with intercourse.
Issues with urinating or passing stool, including but not limited to daytime / nighttime urinary incontinence, daytime / nighttime fecal incontinence, constipation, and overactive or underactive bladder.
Disorder that affects muscle tone and movement quality, caused by brain damage that happens before or during birth.
A disorder that mimics bacterial prostatitis, where a person may experience pain with voiding or bowel movements, pain with ejaculation, or pain in genitals, abdomen or low back, but no infection is found and antibiotics are not an effective treatment.
Defined as coccyx or tailbone pain that can occur with sitting, transitions from sitting to standing, bowel movements, or intercourse. Coccydynia can be caused by a malalignment of the coccyx (tailbone) or by dysfunction of muscle and / or connective tissue surrounding the coccyx.
Defined as infrequent bowel movements, difficulty of passage of stool, or incomplete bowel movements. Constipation can sometimes be caused by tight, weak, or uncoordinated abdominal and pelvic floor musculature. Constipation that results from muscle dysfunction can be conservatively and successfully treated through physical therapy.
A genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or a portion of a third copy of the 21st chromosome. Down syndrome is typically associated with low muscle tone (floppy muscles), growth delays, characteristic facial features, and mild to moderate intellectual disability.
Pain with vaginal penetration, such as with tampon use, gynecologic exam, or intercourse.
Fecal incontinence, repeatedly having bowel movements in places other than the toilet after the age when bowel control can normally be expected (3-5 years of age).
A medical condition where uterine tissue is found outside the uterus in the abdominal and / or pelvic cavity, causing adhesions of the tissues in the area and leading to pain and myofascial dysfunction. It is believed that poor balance of estrogen can exacerbate endometriosis.
Involuntary loss of urine that occurs while sleeping.
An episiotomy is the surgical incision of the lower aspect of the vaginal opening and perineum, performed for various reasons, during delivery. From the natural process of healing, scar tissue can develop. Oftentimes this scar tissue becomes restrictive, leading to pain with touch, sitting, or attempts at tampon use or intercourse.
Defined as the unexpected leakage of stool from the rectum, it is most commonly due to weakness of the pelvic floor and can be successfully treated through conservative physical therapy.
Defined as a medical condition that causes chronic widespread pain and tenderness to touch, and thought to be the result of overactive nerves. In addition to pain, those suffering from fibromyalgia can also experience fatigue, cognitive and memory problems, IBS, morning stiffness, painful menstruation, numbness or tingling in the extremities, or sensory sensitivity.
Involuntary loss of urine associated with laughing (full void occurs during or just after laughing). Bladder function is normal otherwise. This occurs almost exclusively in girls.
Increased tension in muscles contributing to abnormal movement patterns and potential delay in achieving motor milestones.
Below-normal tension in muscles, often resulting in weakness and potential for delay in motor skills or joint injuries.
Low back and / or hip pain caused by excess tension or laxity in the iliopsoas muscle (muscle which bends the hip).
Can also be referred to as Painful Bladder Syndrome. It is a condition noted by inflammation of the lining of the bladder, where one can experience increased urinary urgency, pain before / during / after urination, and increased abdominal pain or pressure. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.
A common disorder of the gastrointestinal system where signs and symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and changes in bowel pattern such as increased frequency, constipation, or diarrhea. IBS may result from, or may result in, tightening, weakening, or incoordination of the pelvic and abdominal musculature.
Typically refers to pain that is experienced due to dysfunction of the levator ani muscles of the pelvic floor; is often used synonymously with the term Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. Symptoms of levator ani syndrome can include pain, bowel or bladder dysfunction, or sexual dysfunction.
Inflammatory condition that causes pruritic skin lesions; scarring and adhesions from these lesions can lead to narrowing of the vaginal canal.
Uncommon condition that causes chronic patchy white skin lesions that can often be associated with itching, burning, and painful intercourse.
Urine loss due to a combination of urge and stress incontinence.
A genetic disorder marked by progressive weakening / muscle wasting.
Any inherited medical condition caused by an abnormality in one’s genetic code / DNA.
An injury or disorder that affects the ability of an individual to move.
A neuromuscular disorder is characterized by impairment of the central or the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system includes muscles, the nerve-muscle (neuromuscular) junction, peripheral nerves in the limbs, and the motor-nerve cells in the spinal cord.
Refers to the dysfunctional response of the pelvic floor muscles to attempts at releasing. This can significantly affect the ability to have proper bowel movements and it can cause pain or lead to further complications.
Noted when the veins of the pelvis are susceptible to chronic dilation, which can result in the inability of the blood in the veins to return to the heart as efficiently. Signs and symptoms of pelvic congestion include pelvic pain, dyspareunia, bowel or bladder dysfunction, leg pain, back pain, possible infertility, and, in men, erectile dysfunction.
Wide range of issues that occur when muscles of the pelvic floor are tight, or there is an impairment of the sacroiliac joint, lower back, coccyx, or hip joints. Symptoms include pelvic pain, pressure, dyspareunia (pain with vaginal penetration), incontinence, incomplete emptying, and gross organ protrusion. Tissues surrounding the pelvic organs may have increased or decreased sensitivity or irritation resulting in pelvic pain.
The abnormal descent of pelvic organs from the pelvic cavity, most commonly into the vaginal canal.
Types of pelvic organ prolapse: Cystocele (prolapse of the bladder), Enterocele (prolapse of the small bowel), Rectocele (rectal prolapse), Sigmoidocele (prolapse of the sigmoid colon), Urethrocele (prolapse of the urethra), Uterine prolapse, and Vaginal Vault prolapse.
Pain perceived in the area of the pelvis, the lower part of the abdomen located between the hip bones.
Also referred to as positional plagiocephaly or “flat head syndrome.” A condition characterized by an asymmetrical distortion (flattening of one side) of the skull. This is frequently associated with torticollis, and may improve with treatment of torticollis or may require additional treatment.
A large percentage of men can experience urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction after prostatectomy, the surgical removal of the prostate, most commonly performed due to cancer. Research shows that physical therapy can assist in reducing the incidence of this occurring if patients are seen before surgery, but can also be effective in decreasing or eliminating these symptoms if utilized after surgery.
Most commonly noted in women, PGAD is a condition that refers to spontaneous, persistent, and uncontrollable genital arousal, with or without orgasm or genital engorgement, unrelated to any feelings of sexual desire. In men, this is sometimes referred to as Priapism, and if it is of neuromuscular or musculoskeletal origin it can be treated with proper physical therapy techniques.
Defined as intermittent, severe anorectal pain that has no other known cause. The sporadic and short bursts of pain experienced with proctalgia fugax make it difficult to determine the underlying cause, but spasm of the anal sphincter and / or pudendal nerve compression have been two of the suggested causes.
Irritation of the pudendal nerve, the nerve that supplies the sensation and muscle control of the pelvic floor and perineum. Symptoms can range from discomfort when wearing tighter clothing to pain with sitting to bowel / bladder dysfunction.
A congenital defect of the spine in which part of the spinal cord and its meninges are exposed through a gap in the backbone. It often causes paralysis or significant weakness in the legs.
Involuntary urine loss associated with coughing, laughing, sneezing, exercising, or other movements that increase intra-abdominal pressure and thus increase pressure on the bladder.
Toe walking is when a child walks on the toes or ball of the foot without the heel or other parts of the foot coming in contact with the floor. Sometimes there is an underlying condition that can cause a child to walk on the toes (such as abnormal muscle tone or tight muscles).
Tightness in the sternocleidomastoid muscle, which connects the sternum (breastbone) to the skull. Tightness in this muscle causes the head to tilt toward one side and rotate toward the opposite side, and can result in abnormal head shape and changes in posture and movement patterns.
Involuntary urine loss associated with a strong, sudden need to urinate / overactive bladder. It can often occur en route to the restroom or with other triggers such as running water. This is the most common form of functional incontinence in children.
The accidental loss of urine. This can be due to muscle spasm or muscle weakness.
Involuntary spasms of the muscles of the pelvic floor. This can lead to dyspareunia (see above).
Noted as pain with touch of the vestibule (area surrounding the vaginal opening) or the vaginal opening. Erythema (redness), itching, or burning in the area can also be noted.
Defined as pain in the external or visible region of the genitalia. Can sometimes be characterized by burning, itching, rawness, and dyspareunia.