My Back Hurts: Could it be my Pelvic Floor?

Many people spend thousands of dollars on physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment for low back pain that has been ineffective simply because the pelvic floor was not addressed. Research published in 2017 by McMaster University has shown that 96% of women who go to physiotherapy with low back pain report a pelvic floor problem, when asked. The problem is that most women don't report pelvic floor problems, and most therapists don't ask about pelvic floor health (incontinence, prolapse, pain during intercourse, chronic constipation, and painful periods). These problems are very common with women (1 in 3 women suffer from any one of these). The McMaster study went on to report that the majority of women who have pelvic floor problems have over activity of their pelvic floor muscles. This is contrary to what we have believed for many decades: Women with back pain have been told to strengthen their core muscles, and women with incontinence have routinely been told to do Kegels.
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Many people spend thousands of dollars on physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment for low back pain that has been ineffective simply because the pelvic floor was not addressed. Research published in 2017 by McMaster University has shown that 96% of women who go to physiotherapy with low back pain report a pelvic floor problem when asked.

The problem is that most women don’t report pelvic floor problems, and most therapists don’t ask about pelvic floor health (incontinence, prolapse, pain during intercourse, chronic constipation, and painful periods). These problems are very common with women (1 in 3 women suffer from any one of these). The McMaster study went on to report that the majority of women who have pelvic floor problems have overactivity of their pelvic floor muscles. This is contrary to what we have believed for many decades: Women with back pain have been told to strengthen their core muscles, and women with incontinence have routinely been told to do Kegels.

It is important that women and their clinicians recognize the role of the pelvic floor in low back pain. According to this study, the majority of women hold too much tension in their pelvic floor, which contributes to urge incontinence, pain with intercourse, painful periods, and constipation. There are stretches and movement programs that can be done to address pelvic floor tension as a contributor to low back pain, as well as pelvic floor rehabilitation before strengthening, should be done.

So, before you do another Kegel, or more exercises to strengthen your core muscles, ask yourself the following questions: Do I have low back pain AND constipation, painful sex, urinary urgency, painful periods or urinary frequency/urgency (you go more than 8x/day)? If so, consider telling your health care provider or your physiotherapist about your pelvic health concerns. The right solution starts with a conversation!

For more information on how physiotherapy can help your low back pain please contact us, we will be pleased to help!

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