Gastrointestinal issues can be both uncomfortable to deal with and talk about, but they don’t have to be if you sync up with a physical therapist. You may be surprised to learn that physical therapy techniques can be very effective in helping to resolve a range of gastrointestinal issues, and we can also talk with patients about some of the improvements they can make to other areas of their life that should improve their GI health. In today’s blog, we take a look at some of the gastrointestinal issues that tend to respond well to different physical therapy techniques.
Which Bowel Issue Can Be Treated With Physical Therapy?
If you’ve been diagnosed with a gastrointestinal issue or a bowel condition, don’t be too surprised if your GI specialist or primary care physician refers you to physical therapy. Here’s a look at a number of gastrointestinal conditions that can improve or even be relieved by pursuing physical therapy as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome – While IBS will also involve dietary adjustments, physical therapy tends to be part of the treatment plan. A physical therapist can use different manual or massage techniques to relax your pelvic floor area, which can help manage IBS and make bowel movements more comfortable.
- Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease (GERD) – GERD, commonly referred to as acid reflux, can be managed with dietary adjustments, medications and sessions with a physical therapist. Manual manipulation or massage techniques can help to reposition your stomach and diaphragm if a hiatal hernia has shifted these areas into a position that is more conducive to acid reflux.
- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) – There is a delicate balance of bacteria in your gut that perform vital functions during the digestive process. However, if food lingers too long in the small intestine, too much bacteria can develop, leading to a range of uncomfortable digestive symptoms. A PT can help improve your pelvic floor in the event that constipation is slowing your digestive system, or we can help develop a movement routine that can reduce pelvic or abdominal adhesions that are blocking or slowing food movement in your intestines.
- Constipation – Physical therapy can also be helpful in relieving constipation. Manual therapy can help to release tense or restricted muscles of the pelvic area, while movement exercises can help different digestive systems perform their job. Our team can even teach breathing techniques and stretching exercises that target the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of the nervous system that regulates digestive function.
- Bladder Control – While not necessarily a digestive issue, your ability to properly dispose of food waste is something that a physical therapist can help with if you’re having issues. After pregnancy or surgery, it’s possible that your bladder control may not be what it used to be. We can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and teach you some simple home-based exercises to regain control of your bladder.
If you’re dealing with any digestive, bowel or bladder issues, make it a point to connect with a physical therapist to rid yourself of this discomfort. For more information, or to improve your GI health, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (612) 339-2041.
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