Women through their life stages often undertake the role of childbearer, homemaker, mother and working woman. In many cases they perform several of these roles at the same time. For this reason Chartered Physiotherapists in women's health believe that the woman may need help to get through the many and varied, emotionally and physically demanding stages of life.
Physiotherapy may be appropriate at every stage of a woman's life. This could be a treatment of a specific condition but it is more likely to mean advice on fitness, exercise, keeping fit in pregnancy and so on. There are four well-defined periods in female development, which may require the involvement of a physiotherapist.
Teenage years: Physiotherapy can assist in teaching body awareness, giving postural advice, treating back pain and treating giggle incontinence.
Childbearing Years: Chartered Physiotherapists play an important role in providing childbirth education both during and after pregnancy. A physiotherapist will give advice on prevention of pregnancy-related musculo-skeletal disorders and provide treatment of symphysis pubis dysfunction, pelvic pain and other musculo-skeletal problems that can occur during pregnancy. Following childbirth post-natal exercise classes and strengthening programmes may be necessary. Advice on posture when feeding and lifting baby as well as a return to activity is also given. A physiotherapist will advise on prevention of bladder problems and provide treatment if necessary.
Middle Years: At this stage, you may attend a chartered physiotherapist for treatment of incontinence and musculo-skeletal problems, advice on exercise and fitness pre- and postsurgery (e.g. hysterectomy) and advice and support on the physical and emotional changes which may occur around the menopause.
A physiotherapist will encourage women to understand the value of particular forms of exercise in the prevention of osteoporosis, teaching relaxation and how to cope with stress.
Later Years: Advice on safe and appropriate exercise for general fitness and to help avoid osteoporosis is given. A physiotherapist will assist in restoring optimal function to women who have undergone surgery or who have had a stroke, fall or fracture.
Specific services offered in the management of above include:
- Antenatal education classes.
- Postnatal exercise and advice classes.
- General exercise classes for mobility.
- Relaxation classes.
- Manual therapy for musculo-skeletal disorders.
- Electrotherapy where appropriate.
- Postural education with use of Pilates and Alexander techniques.
- Bladder and pelvic floor re-education programmes.
- Biofeedback for pelvic floor re-education.
- Electrical muscle stimulation for pelvic floor re-education.
A Chartered Physiotherapist is a university graduate with hospital-based training who has comprehensive knowledge of how the body works and specialist training in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries.