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Physical Therapy Intervention in Organic Disease 

Organic disease can be described as a dysfunction that affects a specific organ or organ system. For example, endometriosis can affect the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, or bowel. Other examples of organic disease include ovarian cysts, interstitial cystitis, endometriosis, chronic urinary tract infections, and irritable bowel syndrome. These organic disease processes cause areas of swelling, inflammation, and /or infection, which can lead to scar tissue formation throughout the abdomen and pelvis. The scar tissue can lead to muscle and joint dysfunction, causing pain and restriction in daily activities. Physical therapy does not take away the underlying organic disease, but is instrumental in decreasing the body’s negative responses to the disease. 

In a disease process where scar tissue and adhesions form it is essential to create mobility so the scar tissue and adhesions don’t lead to motion loss. Physical therapists determine where the scar tissue is and perform specific release techniques to the adhesions. The treatment includes special massage techniques called myofascial release and visceral mobilization to the abdomen and pelvis. This can be done externally or internally, vaginally or rectally. 

Physical therapy intervention for organic disease processes may include some or all of the following:

  • Education about the anatomy and physiology of the organic disease and ways it may affect the rest of the body

  • Specialized massage techniques (myofacial release, visceral (organ) mobilization) to the abdomen and pelvis. Some techniques may need to be done through the vagina or anus.

  • Joint alignment techniques

  • Modalities such as biofeedback and electrical stimulation.

  • Instruction in proper posture and body mechanics for activities of daily living, voiding strategies, defecating, or sexual intercourse

  • Relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing, and imagery.

  • Specific home exercises and management program, which would incorporate some or all of the above listed interventions (self massage, stretching, strengthening, postural exercises, awareness exercises, etc.) With the goal of entering a community exercise program for long term health.

  • It is important to know that there is help for the pain associated with your organic disease.

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