Bladder Pain: Interstitial Cystitis and Physical Therapy
Updated: Jan 13, 2021
Interstitial cystitis or IC is a chronic condition characterized by a combination of uncomfortable
bladder pressure with feeling of urgency to urinate or increased frequency
of need to urinate. Persons may or may not also have pelvic pain. This condition affects
approximately one million Americans. It can affect men and children but is primarily
(90% of cases) seen in women. It is usually diagnosed in people around the age of
Physical Therapy can help relieve the symptoms of urinary frequency and
significant pelvic pain associated with IC. We treat dysfunction of the pelvic floor muscles
and work with you to improve relaxation and muscle tightness so that symptoms are
less likely to reoccur.
Symptoms of interstitial cystitis can include:
• Pelvic and bladder pain
• Increased urinary frequency and urgency
• Pelvic pain
• Bladder lining changes
Conservative Physical Therapy Management of bladder pain due to interstitial cystitis may include:
Modalities: such as heat and ice
Manual Therapy: “hands on” treatment to improve pain and restore function and movement.
Mobilization and Manipulation: movement of a joint to improve pain and restore functional movement.
Therapeutic exercise: specific exercise to improve pain and restore functional movement.
Functional Movement Training: exercises to improve posture and movement
Kegel exercises or pelvic floor retraining: exercise to correct pelvic floor muscle. dysfunction. It is important to get proper training in doing this exercise correctly to avoid problems.
Biofeedback: a way of using a computer or other device to “see” and improve body functions such as muscle activity or indicators of stress. Also used to “see” the function of the pelvic floor muscle to improve therapeutic exercise.
Electrical Stimulation or TENS: used to help improve pain, inflammation, muscle spasm, muscle function, and circulation.
To schedule an appointment with Clemens Physical Therapy call 304-842-6008
Not all physical therapists work with the pelvic floor. There are women's health physical therapists who specialize in pelvic floor rehabilitation. They work with conditions that may include incontinence, pelvic pain, pregnancy, and osteoporosis. You can get more information on this specialty area of physical therapy or locate a PT who works with these conditions at the website for the Section on Women's Health of the American Physical Therapy Association here.