Interview with Sharon Wolfman, Physical Therapist and Pelvic Floor Specialist

Sharon Wolfman is a licensed physical therapist practicing for over 30 years. She has worked with kuppot cholim including Clalit and Leumit as well as organizations such as Keren Or and The Center for Child Development. Specializing in pelvic floor rehabilitation for over 10 years she primarily treats women and children for pelvic floor dysfunction. In addition, Sharon is certified in orthopedic and pelvic floor therapies, hydrotherapy, cranio-sacral therapy, osteopathy of the pelvic floor as well as a variety of treatments for children. Additionally, she keeps current with the latest research by regularly participating in ongoing post-graduate courses. Her goal is to allow patients to achieve personal comfort and physical relief of pelvic floor discomfort.

What is the pelvic floor and what are symptoms of its dysfunction?
Millions of people worldwide suffer from complications due to a pelvic floor dysfunction. The pelvic floor is made up of muscles and other tissues that form a sling from the pubic bone to the tailbone. It assists in supporting the abdominal and pelvic organs, and helps to control bladder, bowel and sexual activity. The weakening of, or damage to, the pelvic muscles and connective tissues surrounding the pelvis is called “pelvic floor dysfunction.” This can be caused by a variety of factors including childbirth, menopause, obesity, surgery, chronic coughing, poor posture and radiation treatments.
Symptoms may include difficulty urinating, painful physical intimacy, constipation or pain in the hips or lower abdomen. Post-surgical scarring from abdominal surgeries such as a C-section or a hysterectomy can also contribute to discomfort in the pelvic floor.

How can you help alleviate these problems?

Pelvic floor physical therapy (PFPT) works on relaxing and releasing connective tissue in order to treat pain.

Why did you choose this specialty?

I am passionate about practicing pelvic floor physical therapy because it consistently improves the lives of my clients in lasting and tangible ways. Pelvic floor dysfunction can be quite bothersome and there is a lot of satisfaction in helping people experience such positive changes.

Who are your typical patients?

Many of my patients are middle-aged women who are experiencing a variety of discomforts with their pelvic floor. I also see many younger clients who have heard about PFPT and find that it helps them. I also work with children to help with urine incontinence.

Do all postpartum women need to rehabilitate their pelvic floor?
Interestingly, most postpartum women could benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy. Unfortunately, many kuppot do not cover this therapy after childbirth. I join with other health professionals in raising awareness and further educating our community on the profound need for Pelvic Floor Therapy.

Are the physical therapy exercises generally painful?
No. The exercises can be challenging, but are generally not painful. Patients build endurance and stamina as they strengthen their pelvic floor.

How do children benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy?
The children I work with often suffer from incontinence for unknown reasons after they have been successfully toilet trained. Parents most often discover this through an onset of bed wetting and other accidents. Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction in children can include difficulty urinating or controlling bladder function, frequent bladder infections, constipation, not urinating enough during the day, or difficulty in sensing bladder fullness. There are exercises which kids can be taught that really help.

How many sessions does the therapy usually continue for?
Patients often experience an improvement after their first few sessions. Most patients need between six and nine treatments, with one treatment every few weeks.

Where do you see patients?
I make a lot of home visits within Jerusalem and its surrounding areas, which allows for the privacy that many patients prefer. I also see people in my office which is conveniently located in Rechavia and provide therapy to assisted living and retirement residences. Please feel free to contact me for a consultation. I look forward to hearing from you!

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