A fair amount of people hear ‘Occupational Therapy’ and wonder, what is that? Like PT? Especially when in regards to pelvic floor therapy. However, according to the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework (OTPF): Domain and Process, 3rd ed., (Framework-III], AOTA, 2014) “Occupational Therapists (OTs) can be involved in numerous aspects of pelvic floor rehabilitation that impact our activities of daily living (ADLs) such as toileting, rest, sleep, and sexual activity.” The OT’s here at Motivate work with individuals to develop an individualized therapeutic plan of care in order to participate in their ADLs pain-free and full of confidence. It begins with mindfulness and body awareness to promote successful, healthy lifestyle changes. Are you ready for your selfcare journey?
To begin a successful selfcare journey, one must first be aware of their habits and behaviors. The therapists at Motivate assist in identifying those habits and behaviors. A major area of focus tends to be identifying areas of tension or “gripping.” Most people are aware of carrying tension in their jaw or neck, but other common areas where “gripping” can occur are in the abdominals or glutes. A good way for our clients to bring awareness to these areas themselves is through a progressive muscle relaxation meditation.
Once awareness of postures, behaviors and habits has been achieved. Occupational therapists can release, or educate clients to release areas of tension and restrictions in order to promote normalization of posture and movement. The goal to increase tissue pliability or release areas of restrictions will help to reduce muscle tightness and fascial restrictions; by promoting fluid flow for tissue health. With the release of these restricted areas, clients should be able to move into the more beneficial postures with increased ease.
Once our clients retrain their bodies in relaxing tense muscles and improve their awareness in postures and body mechanics it’s time to begin an individualized strengthening program. Strengthening surrounding musculature to our pelvic floor assists in promoting maximum functioning of these muscles. Addressing core strength helps to promote a strong foundation to support our pelvic floor. Here’s a taste of one of our swiss ball core exercises:
So you’ve mastered awareness in behaviors, muscle tension and strength. OT’s can now take these skills you’ve learned and help you apply it functionally to your daily tasks and activities. The main goal of an occupational therapist is to help patients strive for maximum functional capacity in meaningful occupations. To achieve this goal, we incorporate techniques to improve functional mobility and ADL’s/IADL’s such as sexual activity, toileting, childcare, home management tasks, and more. Education on proper body mechanics and positioning is key to obtaining quality movement to execute occupational tasks.