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What Is Women's Health Physiotherapy with Renee Knowles

Compiled by our Senior and Women's Health Physiotherapist Renee Knowles. To book an appointment with Renee, or read her Meet the Team profile CLICK HERE


An athlete or sports enthusiast will likely know what a physiotherapist can do to help them with their niggles or injuries. If you've ever had surgery you'll be aware of what a physiotherapist does to help with your post-op recovery. You may however not be aware of how a Women's Health focused physiotherapist can help with a broad range of specialty issues.

All too often these issues are ones you may find embarassing or too private to wish to discuss openly - however at Auckland Physiotherapy you will be supported by a team of friendly, professional and experienced people who can help!

What sets Women's Healthy physiotherapy apart?

Firstly Women's Health physiotherapists have undergone additional post graduate training to enable them to effectively assess and treat the unique issues women encounter in respect to pain, function, and the pelvic floor. This treatment includes education, pelvic floor muscle training, core, and diastasis recti rehabilitation, manual therapy and individually tailored exercise programs. Women's Health physiotherapists understand the physical differences (and unique needs) of the female population and are uniquely qualified to assist women in improving pelvic health, return to full function, return to sport and to  live a pain-free, healthy life.

Why might you need a Women's Healthy physiotherapist?

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, one of our team could provide assistance.
- Bladder leakage: This includes leaking with exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing or on the way to the toilet. While this is a common issue, with 1 in 3 women experiencing bladder leakage in their lifetime, it is not normal and can be treated effectively. There is a huge success rate in regaining continence (up to 80%) with specific, individualised pelvic floor muscle training.
- Urgency or increased frequency of bladder voiding. This includes high urges to go to the toilet and/or going to the toilet more than eight times per day.
- Pelvic organ prolapse symptoms such as heaviness or bulging vaginally, lower abdominal and back discomfort. Pelvic floor muscle training has been shown to effectively decrease the signs and symptoms of prolapse.
- Other issues we can help with include bowel or wind leakage, constipation, painful intercourse, perineal recovery after delivery, pelvic or back pain (or any pain issues), diastasis recti or tummy muscle separation, and guidance on safe exercise either ante or postnatally.

Why seek help with one of our team?

The experienced and professional team at Auckland Physiotherapy don't want you to suffer in silence. We are passionate about helping women improve their awareness of their health and educating them on the help that is available.
The sessions are completely confidential and involve initial questioning to ensure a thorough understanding of the patient's story, history, and goals. We then perform an assessment of movement and function depending on what the patient's main issues are. This may also involve an assessment of the patient's tummy and internal assessment of pelvic floor muscles (if required). The patient is in control of the assessment at all times and has the right to refuse any aspect of their care if they so wish. We believe in educating the patient through every step of the rehabilitation process, thereby ensuring they are at ease and are an active participant in their road to achieving their personal goals. We are also available at any time via email/phone if there are any questions or clarifications that they need.

Wanting to keep fit during pregnancy and post birth?

There are many forms of exercise you can do before and during pregnancy to maintain fitness and wellbeing and also to help prevent and treat musculoskeletal pain and pelvic floor dysfunction.
Our team is trained in utilising Clinical Pilates (the mat, machines and small equipment), and have the knowledge with regards to exercise modifications to apply during and post pregnancy. Pilates-based exercise, continuing cardiovascular activity, and specific strength exercise that your body is used to is recommended.
Pregnancy can feel like a marathon at times so the more fit you are before pregnancy, the better you may generally feel during pregnancy and afterward. We reassure our patients that there are sound guidelines that support exercise during pregnancy (e.g. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Sports Medicine Australia). Women must ensure they have been cleared to exercise, and a physiotherapist with specific qualifications in exercise during pregnancy can help guide you. Looking after your pelvic floor muscles is essential to help prevent leakage from the bladder and bowel ante and post-natal, to help safeguard from prolapse and may improve your sexual function. It is quite important to know that you are doing these correctly and that they are actually appropriate for you.

Is Women's Health physiotherapy only for athletic/active women?

Not at all. We see women of varying ages, and from all levels of activity and sporting backgrounds, from sedentary to elite. It is our goal and passion to provide the highest level of care and attention to each of our patients, and to individualise the treatment we provide based on our thorough subjective and objective examination findings.

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