Biofeedback is a tool that allows the client and clinician to learn how certain processes of the body are working.(1) At CorePhysio we use surface electromyography (sEMG) biofeedback to help our clients learn to identify and control their pelvic floor muscles. Known to be a safe, painless, and affective treatment, biofeedback has been a successful method proven to help men, women, and children gain control of their natural body functions.
So how does Biofeedback work?
First of all, biofeedback does not send or deliver electrical stimulation to your body. sEMG biofeedback is comfortable and pain free because it listens to muscle activity through the skin. This activity is measured by special sensors and displayed on a computer screen. Many types of sensors are available: small vaginal or rectal sensors or external “stick-on” type of sensors that are placed just outside the anal opening. Your CorePhysio therapist will work with you to determine which sensor is appropriate for you.
How can biofeedback help me with my problem?
Disease, trauma, surgery, or age related changes may interrupt our normal bodily functions. Biofeedback is used to address the pelvic floor dysfunctions that are commonly associated with incontinence, constipation, and pelvic floor spams. Our pelvic floor muscles can be hard to identify. Fewer than 50% of clients use their pelvic floor muscles correctly.(2) The most common errors that some individuals make when trying to contract their pelvic floor muscles is using their abdominal or hip muscles instead. Take a minute to try to contract your pelvic floor muscles right now: if you hold your breath, change your breathing, clench your buttocks or move your spine, these are indications of incorrect muscle activation patterns. Biofeedback provides a visual representation of muscle activity, which helps you learn how to stop using the wrong muscles and start using the correct ones. By “feeding back” the information, the client knows immediately which muscles are being activated.
What can I expect during my biofeedback session?
Our CorePhysio pelvic health therapists are specially trained to use sEMG biofeedback when coaching you in the proper use of your pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation based on your condition. During your session, you will see the signals changing on the computer screen as your therapist instructs you in various pelvic floor actions. It might be contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles, simulated elimination, or counter bracing during a cough or sneeze. You will consequently become more aware of controlling your pelvic floor muscles and learn how to restore normal bodily function. Additionally, while biofeedback has long been used in physical therapy offices your therapist can also link you to a home unit to use on your own.
For clients who want to understand and optimize their pelvic floor function, sEMG biofeedback is an incredibly interesting and awarding experience. You can’t strengthen or relax a muscle if you can’t find it. sEMG biofeedback with a skilled physical therapist can help clients find this missing link. Improvement in symptoms may be seen in as little as three sessions and it is covered by insurance as part of a comprehensive pelvic health physical therapy rehab program.