Pelvic health is a growing topic of discussion and recent research has been discovering a strong correlation with chronic low back and hip pain. It is important to acknowledge the key role it has on our health.
Our pelvic muscles are known for 5 important functions:
Support: These muscles help support our organs against gravity, vaginal/rectal walls and intra-abdominal pressure.
Sphincter: Helps maintain urine and fecal continence.
Sexual: Pelvic Floor helps with blood flow and orgasm and provides the tone for vaginal and rectal canal.
Sump-Pump: Assists in venous and lymphatic pump from the pelvis.
Stability: Assist in movement and control at the SI joint, lumbo-pelvic and hip joints and helps unload the spine.
Due to the demands of our daily lives, our pelvic floor muscles can become weak or tight based on a few factors. Here are some of the signs and symptoms that may indicate pelvic health intervention is appropriate.
An overactive (tight) pelvic floor will be accompanied by the following:
- Urge incontinence (Sudden and strong need to urinate)
- Urgency /Frequency of urination
- Pelvic pain
- Dyspareunia (pain during intercourse)
A weak pelvic floor will be accompanied by:
- Stress Incontinence (inability to hold or control urine due to increased intra-abdominal pressure. Ex: Coughing, Sneezing)
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse
It is important to determine whether the pelvic floor is overactive (tight) or underactive (weak) to determine how to best manage your pain. A physiotherapist, osteopath or massage therapist can help in your recovery by performing fascial and soft tissue techniques to areas such as adductors, hips, low back and abdominal region to help restore mobility and reduce fascial restrictions within these areas.
Along with these techniques, exercises such as pelvic floor strengthening exercises (kegel’s), hip and pelvic floor stretches and mindful Healthy Body awareness and meditation can help with central sensitization within the brain to reduce tension within the pelvic floor.