What is the Pelvic Floor?

The pelvic floor muscles hang like a hammock from the end of the tailbone to the pubic bone. This muscle group serves many roles in the body, from supporting the function of organs such as the bowels, bladder, and uterus to supporting sexual function. All genders have a pelvic floor and just like any other muscle group in the body, these muscles are subject to tension, strain, disuse, and injury, which can lead to symptoms like pain, discomfort, and dysfunction. Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction can range from incontinence to constipation to pain with orgasm and everything in between. 



Symptoms of bowel, bladder or sexual dysfunction may be caused by or have contributions from your pelvic floor muscles. Pain that occurs in your hip, back or pelvis that may or may not radiate into your lower abdomen, down your legs, into your buttocks, hips, lower back, tailbone, vagina, clitoris, labia, anus, testicles, or penis may be originating in the pelvic floor muscles or nerves in your pelvis. This pain may be hard to describe, seem to move and change or be affected with certain movements or activities and may or may not be accompanied by urinary, bowel or sexual symptoms, numbness, tingling, burning, a sense of heaviness, or itching. 

Symptoms of bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction vary widely in type as well as severity and you may have only symptoms in one area or symptoms in all three which may or may not be accompanied by pain. 

These symptoms may occur out of nowhere or accompanied by changes in your lifestyle, shifts in hormones (menopause or pregnancy), or associated with other injuries. 

If you aren’t sure if your symptoms are coming from your pelvic floor, we welcome you to schedule a phone consultation or an initial evaluation to help determine if pelvic floor physical therapy can help you or if we can help direct you to a provider who can.

Please see Conditions We Treat.


If you have had your symptoms for a long time and have seen many different providers without answers, you are not alone. Most people with symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction have seen multiple medical providers and spent years with their symptoms before they find help. Amazing as it sounds, this area of the body doesn’t get a lot of attention.  

For example, in the medical education and residency programs for obstetrician-gynecologists (Ob-Gyns), there is no education about the pelvic floor muscles or nerves. Anyone who specializes in treatment for pelvic floor dysfunction has dedicated time to continuing education courses and training sessions.

We hope that this changes, and we support organizations such as Tight-lipped who are trying hard to make that happen. You can help by talking with your friends, family, and your own doctors about your experience. You will be surprised by how common your symptoms actually are and how many people are suffering from symptoms they have just accepted as “normal” or are too ashamed to talk about!

During your first visit your physical therapist (PT) will perform an evaluation, which will include a detailed medical history and a full musculoskeletal evaluation, which may include assessing your posture, strength, flexibility, balance, and functional mobility. In most cases, your PT will perform an internal vaginal and/or rectal exam to assess the structures of the pelvic floor. This is to evaluate the strength, flexibility, range of motion, and coordination of your pelvic floor muscles just as they would for any other muscle in the body. Then you and your PT will sit down and discuss the results and create a treatment plan. 

In New York state, a patient can be evaluated by a physical therapist and then treated for 30 days or 10 visits, whichever comes first, without a prescription. Any visits beyond this will require a prescription from a licensed physician, osteopath, podiatrist, or nurse practitioner. This rule applies for all types of physical therapy.

To provide the quality of care that is necessary for the health and rehabilitation of our patients, Foundations Physical Therapy does not accept any health insurance other than Medicare. (For information on why we don’t accept insurance, read our blog post about it.) 

We are considered an out-of-network provider across all insurance carriers and submit claims on your behalf. If you are interested in using your out-of-network benefits and would like us to submit on your behalf, please fill out your insurance information on your intake form on the patient portal. We will be able to verify your out-of-network coverage for physical therapy and give you an estimate on your payment responsibilities per visit. We require that you provide your insurance information before your first visit so we can verify your out-of-network coverage for physical therapy. 

If you have out-of-network coverage or Medicare, you will be responsible for the copay/co-insurance at the time of your appointment. If you do not have out-of-network benefits, full payment is expected at the time of your appointment. And if you have Medicare coverage, you will be responsible for the copay at the time of the appointment. 

Please wear (or bring to change into) clothing that you would exercise in. 

Yes – men have pelvic floors too! We treat men for conditions that cause pain or dysfunction (urinary, bowel, or sexual). See conditions we treat for further information. 

Yes, we treat patients of all ages and genders and have a specially trained pelvic floor physical therapist who treats pediatric patients with a wide range of bowel and bladder dysfunction. This treatment looks different than that of adults but is no less effective. In fact, treating children who have pelvic floor dysfunction can reduce a lifetime of difficulty as we often see pelvic floor dysfunction in adults that began in childhood. Children as young as 4, or in certain circumstances 3, can begin pelvic floor physical therapy. These treatments do not involve any internal components unlike in adult treatments.