When we think of physiotherapy, the first thing that often comes to mind is that it assists with recovery from injury. Beyond physical injuries, however, there are a host of issues that physiotherapy can help with, from chronic back and neck pain that come hand-in-hand with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles to post-surgery rehabilitation.
However, one of the less widely discussed topics of physiotherapy is its role in women’s health. Read on to find out how physiotherapy can improve women’s health and the top physiotherapy clinics for women’s health issues in Singapore.
What is physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is a form of treatment that helps restore, maintain and maximise strength, as well as support function, movement and overall well-being. People of all ages and at any stage of life can benefit from physiotherapy.
Physiotherapists are allied health professionals who understand how our body works and are trained to assess, diagnose and treat physical ailments. Depending on your needs and mobility, there are various techniques that a therapist may use to treat and manage your condition, including manual therapy, dry needling, ultrasound, traction, movement, hydrotherapy, exercise, and more.
What are some women’s health issues that physiotherapy can help with?
In the past, women’s physiotherapy focused heavily on pregnancy-related conditions such as back pain and pelvic pain during pregnancy. However, physiotherapy has become increasingly common as a form of treatment for other women’s health issues, including sexual dysfunctions, menopause-related challenges, and conditions relating to the pelvic floor.
Examples of women’s health conditions and issues that physiotherapy can help with include:
- Urinary incontinence
- Antenatal (pregnancy) and postnatal care
- Pre- and post-menopause
- Prolapse of pelvic organs
- Pelvic, perineal, vulvar and abdominal pain
- Sexual dysfunction
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
How does physiotherapy help with women’s health issues?
Physiotherapy can help with the management and prevention of certain women’s health issues. Here’s how physiotherapy can help:
Hormonal changes during menopause can affect your bone density, putting post-menopausal women at a higher risk of osteoporosis. Physiotherapy can help by introducing targeted exercises that improve strength, assist with balance and increase flexibility, all of which help to reduce the risk of fractures and prevent further bone loss.
Urinary incontinence can be an embarrassing experience and has even been associated with an increased risk of depression. However, it is not uncommon. In fact, 1 in 3 women have experienced urinary incontinence at some point in their life.
Urinary incontinence in women often happens as a result of weak pelvic floor muscles or damage to the connective tissue supporting the bladder. Mums and mums-to-be commonly face incontinence as their body accommodates a growing baby, which places pressure on the bladder.
With the use of pelvic floor exercises, vaginal cones and/or electrical stimulation, physiotherapy can be a non-surgical solution to urinary incontinence.
Antenatal (pregnancy) and postnatal care
Physiotherapists play a crucial role in antenatal and postnatal care as they can prescribe a safe and personalised exercise plan to keep both the mum and baby healthy.
Pre- and post-menopause
Women undergo significant physical, emotional and physiological changes during menopause. Many physical symptoms of menopause can be managed by physiotherapy. Aerobic exercises, stretches, and massages can help with excessive weight gain, insomnia and hot flashes. Targeted exercises and treatment can also help to improve strength and flexibility, reducing muscle and joint pains.
Women facing sexual dysfunction require a holistic treatment approach, which may include physiotherapy. Pelvic floor muscle training can improve blood flow to vulvovaginal tissues, which helps the muscles relax, reducing pain, incontinence and dryness. Physiotherapists can also educate individuals to be more aware of the difference between tense and relaxed muscles.
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP)
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) occurs when the tissue and muscles of the pelvic floor are no longer able to support the pelvic organs in their normal positions. This condition is often asymptomatic and may go unnoticed until it reaches the severe stages. While POP can affect anyone, women face an increased risk, especially after childbirth. Using pelvic floor muscle training and pessary support, physiotherapy can be a non-surgical option for managing POP.
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Best physiotherapy clinics in Singapore for women’s health
1. City Osteopathy and Physiotherapy
City Osteopathy and Physiotherapy offers a range of services, including massage therapy and physiotherapy. They have a team of practitioners who specialise in women’s health, such as pelvic health issues, prenatal and postnatal physiotherapy, and can help you to manage menopause symptoms and urinary issues.
A combination of dry needling, ultrasound therapy, corrective exercises, clinical pilates, and other treatment methods will be included in your customised care plan. Additionally, they provide home-based physiotherapy services for even more convenience.
- Cost: From $190 for first regular therapy session and $225 for first women’s health consultation
- Address: 5 locations islandwide
- Website: www.cityosteophysio.com/womens-health-clinic-singapore
* Do note that their women’s health physiotherapy services are available at their Woodleigh, Novena, and Bukit Timah outlets only. Please check their website or give them a call before heading down to avoid disappointment.
2. Embrace Physiotherapy
Source: Embrace Physiotherapy
Embrace Physiotherapy is a specialist clinic that caters exclusively to women. The team is 100% led and run by passionate women with a resolve to make sure nobody with pain or pelvic floor dysfunction is suffering in silence. On top of the usual physiotherapy qualifications, the team at Embrace have also completed post-graduate training in pelvic health or is working towards it.
Besides physiotherapy, Embrace also offers pre- and post-natal exercise classes and pilates, telehealth services, and dry needling.
- Address: 410 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427636
- Tel: 9780 7274
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: www.embracephysio.sg
3. Health 2 U
With a multidisciplinary team of therapists with diverse specialisations, including yoga trainers and nutritionists, Health 2 U provides a wide range of services for various issues and conditions, including physiotherapy, sports massage, baby massage, pilates, personal training and nutritional therapy. Its central location and home therapy services are suitable for those who are looking for a convenient way to receive their physiotherapy.
Taking it one step further, Health 2 U also has a dedicated Health2Mama team to support mums through pregnancy and after birth, both at home and in their clinic.
- Cost: From $130 for a 30-min session
- Address: Telok Ayer, Singapore 068574 / Equip Gym, Bukit Timah Plaza, 02-01, 588996
- Tel: 8358 2144 (WhatsApp available)
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: www.health2u.sg
4. Physio Focus
Physio Focus has a small experienced team of physiotherapists and sports masseuses that provide personalised therapy. From sports injuries and chronic pain, to post-surgery recovery and development disorders in children, you may benefit from physiotherapy if you have these conditions.
In the field of women’s health, Physio Focus specialises in the treatment of pregnancy-related back pain, stress incontinence, and osteoporosis treatment and prevention.
- Address: Forum Office Tower, 583 Orchard Road #07-01, Singapore 238884
- Tel: 6734 8151 / 9168 5539 (WhatsApp)
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: www.physiofocus.com.sg
5. Physio Down Under
Physio Down Under is a clinic that solely specialises in women’s health physiotherapy. They provide a comprehensive list of services for common conditions that mothers and women face. This includes urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, bowel disorders, abdominal muscle separation (Diastasis Rectus Abdominis), pregnancy-related musculoskeletal issues, pelvic pain, blocked milk ducts (mastitis) and menopause symptoms.
Physio Down Under also offers a specialised 8-session Pink Ribbon Program that provides breast cancer rehabilitation for women with or recovering from breast cancer and any resulting surgeries.
- Cost: From $180 for a 45-min session
- Address: 318 Tanglin Road, Block B, Phoenix Park #01-30, Singapore 247979
- Tel: 6909 5580
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: www.physiodownunder.sg
6. Physio Asia Therapy Centre
With clinics located in the Central and East of Singapore as well as its home-based services, Physio Asia Therapy Centre makes physiotherapy sessions a fuss-free experience for everyone. Their highly-experienced therapists, some with over 30 years of clinical experience, are well-versed in a wide range of treatment techniques for different health conditions.
In the realm of women’s health, Physio Asia can support women in the following areas: pelvic floor health, musculoskeletal conditions, pregnancy-related breast issues, ergonomics, and pre- and post-natal exercises.
- Address: 360 Orchard Road, #05-02 International Building, Singapore 238869
- Tel: 6736 4142
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: www.physioasia.sg/womens-health
UrbanRehab aims to bring you the best of multi-disciplinary rehabilitation. With a diverse team, their full range of services include physiotherapy, hand therapy, podiatry, personal training, clinical pilates, massage therapy, chiropractor, and Chinese medicine. Operating from 6 clinic locations in Singapore, UrbanRehab is never too far from home.
UrbanRehab has a Women’s Health Physiotherapy Singapore Division that is dedicated to managing pregnancy-related musculoskeletal conditions, pains and discomfort. Besides mums, females of any age facing musculoskeletal problems, urinary incontinence, poor posture, pain, and other issues, can consult the physiotherapists in this division too.
- Address: 6 outlets islandwide.
- Tel: Call/SMS/WhatsApp 8816 1244 or 8816 1412
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: www.urbanrehabphysio.com/service/womens-health-physiotherapy
* Do note that not all outlets provide the full range of services, so be sure to check their website or give them a call before heading down to avoid disappointment.
8. Singapore Physio
Singapore Physio specialises in endurance sports, knee injuries, back and neck pain, post-operative care, and women’s health. Specific to women’s health, the physiotherapists at Singapore Physio can help with musculoskeletal issues associated with pregnancy, birth, postpartum care, and breastfeeding, as well as pelvic floor muscle issues and pelvic pain. Telehealth services are available as well.
- Address: 282B River Valley Rd, Singapore 238323
- Tel: 6887 4190 / 9738 3874 (WhatsApp)
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: www.singaporephysio.com/services/womens-health
With a team of over 100 coaches and clinicians, UFIT provides an integrated health and fitness community to help people achieve their personal goals through a holistic approach, from training and performance to nutrition and rehabilitation.
They have a pre-natal and post-natal team that specialises in the management of issues that new and soon-to-be mums commonly face, including back and neck pain, pelvic discomfort, carpal tunnel syndrome, pubic symphysis dysfunction, De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, and rectus abdominis diastasis. Pre- and post-natal personal training programmes are available as well.
- Address: 4 outlets (Club Street, Orchard, One-north & Fairmont)
- Tel: 6225 5059 (Club Street) / 6509 0057 (Orchard) / 6250 2944 (One-north)
- Email: [email protected] (Club Street) / [email protected] (Orchard) / [email protected] (One-north) / [email protected] (Fairmont)
- Website: www.ufit.com.sg/pre-post-natal
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Why you should visit a women’s health physiotherapist
Taking the first step and engaging a physiotherapist for women’s health issues can be daunting, and many people may be tempted to attempt to diagnose and treat themselves with “Dr. Google” instead.
While following online workout tutorials for your women’s health issues is an option, exercises like pelvic floor muscle training are most effective when done right, so it’s best to have a trained physiotherapist to guide you along and provide personalised advice. Misinformation is also rife online so it’s best to consult a professional.
Furthermore, physiotherapy goes beyond exercise and uses a range of tools and techniques such as ultrasound, manual therapy, dry needling and traction for treatment, all of which can help you in your recovery and healing process.
Things to note for your physiotherapy visit
Understanding the process can help to ease your nerves and make an informed decision on whether women’s physiotherapy is what you are looking for. Here are some things to expect and prepare for your physiotherapy visit.
Before the visit
Initial consultations tend to take longer than follow-up visits. They will usually take 45 minutes to an hour depending on the physiotherapist and your individual needs, so do be sure to adjust your schedule accordingly.
Physiotherapy sessions may be covered by MediSave or insurance. Visit your GP for a referral if you need one.
On the day of your physiotherapy session, dress in comfortable attire since you will often be asked to perform light, low-impact exercises.
For pregnant mums, note that certain treatment options such as traction, ultrasound and shockwave therapy may not be available to you. Certain drugs and painkillers are prohibited as well. When making an appointment with a clinic of your choice, do check with them to ensure they support therapy for pregnant women.
During the visit
During the initial consultation, your physiotherapist will begin by asking questions about your health, medical history, and your goals for treatment. Be open with your therapist so they know how to best help you.
Women’s health issues may not be the most glamorous topics to discuss, but there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Remember that your physiotherapist has seen many clients across their years of experience and the issues you are facing are not uncommon to them. Furthermore, they are required to keep your information confidential.
Understandably, many people get nervous or uncomfortable when it comes to pelvic examinations. To demystify this process, a pelvic examination may involve the insertion of a gloved finger into the vagina to apply light pressure, or simply an observation of the area. Always let your physiotherapist know how you are feeling so they can address your concerns and reassure you. If it helps, bring a loved one along with you to sit in during the session.
After the visit
You may also be prescribed a set of exercises to do at home, so be sure to follow the treatment plan accordingly for the best results.
Physiotherapy rarely ends after a single session, as it takes time to see results and achieve your goals. Depending on your condition and treatment goals, your physiotherapist may be able to advise you on the estimated number of sessions required after the initial consultation.
Many people don’t follow through with the full course of physiotherapy, which can render treatment ineffective. If you find it a hassle to make multiple trips to the clinic, Homage provides home physiotherapy sessions where certified physiotherapists make their way to your home instead.
Maintaining overall well-being is important for everyone, but especially so for those with women’s health issues and new and soon-to-be mums. A holistic approach beyond just physiotherapy is the best treatment for women’s health problems. Having a multi-disciplinary team of doctors, therapists and nutritionists often produces the most effective results.
If you are facing women’s health issues, reach out to us for a free care consult and find out how our diverse team of doctors, nurses, caregivers, and therapists can help.
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- Pelvic Health Physiotherapy. Retrieved 16 March 2022, from https://www.sgh.com.sg/patient-care/specialties-services/physiotherapy/pages/pelvic-health.aspx