Pelvic Floor PT
The pelvic floor is part of the deep trunk stabilizers that create a canister of stability, working to support internal organs, optimize respiratory function, stabilize the pelvis and spine, and assist in bowel/bladder and sexual function. The pelvic floor needs a balance of strength and flexibility, as with any other muscle group in the body to perform these functions.
One of the most commonly known dysfunctions is urinary incontinence. While it is common, it is not normal even after multiple pregnancies or with aging (coughing and/or laughing) to leak urine. It can be successfully treated with PT.
Other common dx/symptoms include:
- pelvic floor prolapse
- postpartum/prenatal related issues
- pain/pressure/heaviness in pelvis
- pain in hips, low back, groin/pubic symphysis
Sometimes the pelvic floor can be the missing link in chronic LBP and SI.
More often these conditions are chronic, misdiagnosed, traumatizing, and obviously personal. As with anything, the treatment style is patient-guided and is as hands-on or hands-off as you feel comfortable. A lot of pelvic floor treatment is education. Education on correct performance of Kegels, bladder diaries, habituation, posture, and breathing and doesn’t have to be incredibly intimidating.
- Assess for signs of pelvic organ prolapse, and in most cases, PT can help to improve related symptoms
- Perform soft tissue techniques (internal and external) to reduce feelings of heaviness, pain or discomfort in the pelvis
- Advise in stretching techniques to reduce tightness through the pelvic floor
- Assess for pelvic floor strength and areas of tightness, and dose exercises specifically to strengthen this muscle group
- Soft tissue mobilization and stretching can reduce pain associated with endometriosis
Atlantic’s Pelvic Floor PT, Theresa, has a private treatment room in Freehold for pelvic floor patients. The evaluations and treatments are patient-led based on their level of comfort.
“I am beyond excited to be able to treat the pelvic floor population. If you have any questions about anything or want more information, please reach out to me. I really love this topic and feel like there is such a need for it in the physical therapy field. “
What is that? Am I doing them right?
What is a Kegel?
A Kegel is a contraction of the pelvic floor musculature. These muscles span that bottom of the “bowl” that is your pelvis, created by tailbone/sacrum posterior and at each side by the ilium (hips bones to pubic bones). It is typically cued by “contracting the muscles that stop the flow of urine or gas,” “pulling up and in,” “zipping up the lower part of tight jeans”
Kegels are not for everyone. As with any muscle group, the pelvic floor needs to be able to both contract and relax. If your pain or dysfunction is coming from tightness in this muscle group, Kegels may not be appropriate for you. In this case, the muscles of the pelvic floor need to be lengthened and stretched first. Then strengthening can be addressed if it is appropriate.
Functions of the Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor is part of the deep trunk stabilizers that create a canister of stability, working to: support internal organs, optimize respiratory function, stabilize to the pelvis and spine, and assist in bowel/bladder and sexual function. The pelvic floor needs a balance of strength and flexibility, as with any other muscle group in the body to perform these functions. When the muscles are unable to perform all these actions, they can cause pain, bowel, bladder, or sexual dysfunction.
Pelvic Floor Contractions
A large percentage of these muscle fibers’ action is for endurance. Your pelvic floor should be able to strongly contract and maintain that contraction for up to 10 seconds. When the muscles cannot perform in this way, you can experience urinary incontinence, pain in sacrum/tailbone/pubic bone, or pain in hips or down the legs.
Quick Flick Contractions
Your pelvic floor should be able to perform quick contractions, with the ability to fully relax between contractions. Training these muscle fibers helps them to react in situations where there is sudden forceful intraabdominal pressure (sneeze, laugh or cough).
The pelvic floor muscles work together to create a bulge, or the bearing down that occurs during a bowel movement or with childbirth. People who have chronic constipation or difficulties during labor can have dysfunction of the pelvic floor muscles creating weakness or areas of spasm.
Your pelvic floor also needs to relax to allow for the flow of urine and opening of the vaginal canal. Muscles that are tight or in spasms are unable to relax causing pain during urination, gynecologial exams, tampon use, or vaginal penetrationan. It can also cause pain in the tailbone, sit bones, hips or abdominal area at rest.
Pelvic Floor Video
Gut health is super important and commonly overlooked. Your body works hard to eliminate toxins through the bowels. When these bowels sit inside the body instead of being eliminated, your body begins to reabsorb the toxins back into your system, creating a more toxic environment. Your body then needs to work harder, to eliminate old toxins again, as well as work to eliminate the new ones from the body. During constipation, the backflow of bowels can lead to bloating, gas and create extra pressure on the pelvic floor and lower spine. Straining to push out bowels, also creates excess stress to the pelvic floor. Staying regular is so important for the overall health of your body. Drinking plenty of water, having a healthy diet with natural fiber, and getting good exercise will help keep your digestive system on track!
The body works to eliminate toxins through the bowels. When these are not efficiently eliminated, the toxins are reabsorbed into the body, resulting in the body overworking to eliminate these and then additional ones. During constipation, the backflow of bowels can lead to bloating, gas and create extra pressure on the pelvic floor and lower spine. Straining to push out bowels, also creates excess stress to the pelvic floor. This yoga video is created to learn massage techniques for the digestive tract, as well as gentle twists and belly breathing to help stimulate the digestive system aiding in gut health.