Women are always told to perform Kegel exercises to help with labor and delivery as well as urinary incontinence. This is true; it will help but this isn’t the whole story.
These are some of the reasons to protect our pelvic floors:
- Urinary incontinence and pain
- Labor and delivery
- Postpartum recovery, after both vaginal and Cesarean section births
- Postpartum fitness – most people don’t think to rehab properly
- Core tone and strength
- Low back pain
- Uterine prolapse
- Vaginal wall relaxation
- Hip stiffness
- Hip bursitis
- Pelvic pain
- Overloading of pelvic floor from chronic coughing or pulmonary disease
Problems with the pelvic floor can be caused by:
- Pelvic bones are misaligned which causes the muscles to be asymmetrical in length and tonicity
- Nerve information to the muscles never gets relayed or gets relayed improperly
- Blood and oxygen circulation to the muscles is not sufficient
- Overloading muscles due to chronic coughing or pulmonary disease
- Muscles are too tight, in spasm, shortened or weak
- Muscles are too loose, lengthened or weak
- Fluid retention or edema
- Changed breathing performance
- Flaccid or irritated intestines
- Intra-abdominal adhesions after pregnancy or surgery or any condition involving an inflammatory response
As you can see, the problems are merely the symptoms and the causes of the same problem can be opposite. So, how can you know what the cause is?
You’ll have to consult an expert.
To determine alignment of bones, help with circulation and nerve information, call Dr. Pritchett at (925) 829-7900 for an evaluation and NUCCA alignment if needed.
To determine whether the soft tissue (muscle) is too tight or too loose or a combination of both, seek a physical therapist like Giorgia Hoyer-Fisher, who specializes in women’s health and pelvic floor issues. Giorgia is unique in her specialty and in her training. Giorgia evaluates the extent of the pelvic floor and core muscle system malfunctioning and the different body systems contributing to it. She then applies manual therapy and exercise to improve the pelvic floor and core performance. She also evaluates and treats pelvic pain. Giorgia Hoyer-Fisher, Women’s Health Physical Therapist, can be reached at Dynamic Changes in Danville at (925) 899.2121.
If the pelvic floor is weak, Kegels will help, but the gluteus muscles tend to take over, so the effective exercise is very subtle. There are even subtleties in the part of the pelvic floor which is isolated. Other core exercises can also be done, including breathing through the abdomen. Repeating activities is helpful because of muscle memory. We need to learn the proper techniques and then re-program the motor pathways by repeating the activity many times over. If your nerves aren’t communicating properly, the muscles will not respond accurately and thus the activity cannot be completed accurately.
As you can see, to effectively rehabilitate a pelvic floor, it requires both physical therapy and chiropractic care.