A Manual Physical Therapy Approach to Infertility

The discussion of infertility often brings up thoughts of drugs, needles and painful IUI and/or IVF treatments. Many couples don’t realize the impact manual physical therapy can have on the treatment of infertility. Research is continuing to show the positive impact we have on helping couples who are struggling to get pregnant. We are the experts on mobility and while most conjured thoughts of PT are addressing musculoskeletal dysfunctions, the organs must have mobility to function properly, thus we can have an effect on reproductive difficulties.

Our organs are not floating in the space of our bodies; they are held in place by bands of connective tissue known as ligaments. They are different from the ligaments most people think of in the joints that connect bone to bone. These bands hold up the organs by attaching to the peritoneal cavity (or plural cavity in the case of the heart and lungs) and to other organs within the cavity. If there are restrictions in the mobility of these ligaments, then motion of the organs is inhibited. How does this affect fertility? As an example, if you have a dysfunctional ligament by the fallopian tube then it could pull on it with such tension that the tube is almost completely closed. The egg that has been released by the ovary would not be able to drop down to be fertilized and causing problems with fertility. Another example is if the uterus is being pulled either to one side or either forwards or backwards, the egg may not be able to implant properly onto the lining of the uterus. There are many ways restrictions in the ligaments can cause problems with fertility.

If these areas of restrictions are bad enough, then some women are advised to undergo surgery to have them released. Surgery can unfortunately create scar tissue that attaches onto the organs and decreases their mobility. What can you do then? It seems like a vicious cycle of needing to improve the opening of the fallopian tubes but the surgical treatment for it just leaves you with more scar tissue.

This is where manual physical therapy comes in! A skilled practitioner can use the sensitivity of their hands and advanced knowledge of the anatomy to find the areas of restrictions within the peritoneal cavity to improve the positioning and mobility of the reproductive organs, all without causing more adhesions. At Superior Performance Physical Therapy, we evaluate and treat the positioning of the ovaries to ensure proper releasing of the egg into the fallopian tube, evaluate and treat the fallopian tube to improve the opening and assess and treat the positioning of the uterus. The vast majority of these areas of restriction can be treated externally. There are some cases that require internal mobilizations to improve the position of the uterus and cervix but very rarely.

Before going down the expensive road of infertility treatments. try a manual physical therapist educated in the anatomy and physiology of the reproductive system. Dr. Heather Demirci has successfully helped numerous women get pregnant through treatment of the mobility of the tissues. Please contact us if you have any questions on how physical therapy can affect infertility.

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