Pelvic Physical Therapy

Serving Portland OR | Vancouver WA

Pelvic Physical Therapy

Your pelvic floor consists of muscles, ligaments, and tissues that support the pelvic organs like the bladder, parts of the intestines, and reproductive organs. These muscles can become weak from obesity, childbirth, surgery, and more. This is where pelvic physical therapy is helpful. Pelvic physical therapy involves pelvic floor exercises to help strengthen your pelvic floor.

How Can Physical Therapy Help?

Whether you have an overactive bladder or recently had a baby, pelvic physical therapy can help a weakened pelvic floor. These noninvasive treatment options have proven to be highly effective for many people and best of all, you can do some of these pelvic floor exercises in the comfort of your own home.

Signs You Need Physical Therapy for Pelvic Health

Common symptoms of pelvic floor disorders include:

  • Urinary and fecal incontinence
  • Pain with urination
  • Frequency of urination or defecation
  • Low back pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Constipation
  • Hemorrhoids


Pelvic Floor Muscle (PFM) Coordination

  • Voluntary relaxation = PFM is at rest; normal resting tone
  • Voluntary contraction = PFM contraction (Kegel’s)
  • Involuntary contraction = PFM contraction that precedes intra-abdominal pressure to avoid loss of urine/feces during cough, sneeze, jump, etc.
  • Involuntary relaxation = PFM relaxation during a bowel movement to increase vaginal/anal opening. PFM are lengthening

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diagram of inhaling. New Heights talks about diaphragmatic breathing for pelvic floor physical therapy.


  • Through your nose slowly
  • Fill your lower belly with air and expand up into your lower ribs
  • Fill down into your pelvic floor and relax into pelvic floor


Diagram of exhaling. New Heights talks about diaphragmatic breathing for pelvic floor physical therapy.


  • Through pursed lips slowly
  • Pull gently up on pelvic floor and pull belly button down gently towards spine
  • Allow ribs to relax

Diagram of bowel massage. New Heights talks about pelvic physical therapy.Bowel Massage

Bowel massage, also called external colon massage, is a self-treatment circular massage technique that can reduce and eliminate gas and ease constipation. The bowel naturally contracts in waves in a clockwise direction starting from inside the right hip, moving up toward the ribs, across the belly, and down inside the left hip. When you perform circular bowel massage you help stimulate your bowel’s normal wave pattern of movement called peristalsis. It is most beneficial when done after eating.

  • Massage in small circles, with light pressure. It should not be painful.
  • Start your massage at the #1 in the lower left abdominal region. Massage in circles to your pubic bone 3-5 times.
  • Move up to #2 in a counterclockwise motion and massage in circles back down to your pubic bone 3-5 times.
  • Continue around your abdominal region in this same pattern until you get to #8 and massage all the way back around to #1.
  • Complete this massage to assist with constipation, slow bowels, painful bowel movement, etc.
  • Continue to perform your abdominal massage in this pattern for 10 minutes each day.

You can apply as much pressure as is comfortable in your massage. Start gently and build pressure as you continue to practice. Notice any areas of pain as you massage; areas of slight pain may be relieved as you massage, but if you have areas of significant or intense pain, consult with your health care provider.

Other Considerations

General physical activity including bending and stretching can have a beneficial massage-like effect on the bowel. Deep breathing can also stimulate the colon because breathing deeply activates the same nervous system that supports the bowel.
Bowel massage should always be used in combination with a bowel-conscious diet that is high in the proper types of fiber, fluids (primarily water) and a regular exercise program. 

Pelvic Physical Therapy with New Heights

Whether you just had a baby or are experiencing urinary incontinence, New Heights is here for you! We want want you to know, you can get your body properly functioning again with the right physical therapy. And our help doesn’t end with pelvic physical therapy. We also help our patients recover from injuries, medical conditions, and surgeries of all types, improving their mobility and function. So contact us today. We’d love to help you heal!

Pelvic Physical Therapy in Portland OR and Vancouver WA

Seeing Patients in the following Portland and Vancouver areas:

SE Portland | NE Portland | Gresham | Happy Valley | Clackamas | Milwaukie | Mt Tabor | Belmont | Lloyd Center | Laurelhurst | Hollywood District | Downtown Portland | Beaverton | Tigard | Hillsboro | Cedar Mill | Cornell | Sylvan | Cedar Hills

Downtown Vancouver | Fruit Valley | Hazel Dell | Felida | Cascade Park | Camas Washington

East PDX:
(503) 236-3108
(360) 737-3346