We all know stretching and exercise help lessen menstrual cramp discomfort, but did you know physical therapy can help with severe cases?
January is Cervical Health Awareness month, highlighting health maintenance through pap smears and screenings for the Human Papilloma virus (HPV).
Krista Rubini, DPT, of Performance Spine and Sports Medicine in Newtown, takes this month as an opportunity to teach women how physical therapy can actually ease the pain of menstrual cramps.
Rubini specializes in the field of women’s health and holds a certificate of academic proficiency achievement in female pelvic floor function, dysfunction, and treatment. The pelvic floor is made up of muscles and other tissues that form a sling from the pubic bone to the tailbone. They assist in supporting the abdominal and pelvic organs, and help to control bladder, bowel and sexual activity.
“The smooth muscle contractions of the uterus are always a main contributor of the menstrual cramps for a healthy cervix and for someone with a dysfunction of the cervix. But in the case that someone has adhesions or an inflamed cervix, this is the root of the cause as to why the menstrual cramps are more intense,” said Rubini.
“Many females are unaware that physical therapy offers pelvic floor rehabilitation for many conditions and dysfunctions,” she said. “In this case, pelvic floor physical therapists use manual techniques and myofascial release to mobilize the cervix and break up scar tissue. Manual therapy is also very helpful to release any muscle spasms or adhesions within the vaginal wall. Relaxation techniques through mediation and the use of dilators are taught in physical therapy to reduce and eliminate pain during sexual intercourse.”
Rubini cites pelvic floor physical therapy is an alternative to surgery and can reward patients with a significant decrease in menstrual pain and a return to a healthy sex life.