Pelvic floor problems are more and more common these days and often too embarrassing to discuss! However at ProSport Physiotherapy Halifax we see these issues daily causing ankle, knee, shoulder and even achilles problems!!
Pelvic floor exercises are part and parcel of giving birth nowadays with the instruction of ‘squeeze and hold’ every hour. Unfortunately due to amount of sitting we do everyday, the pelvic floor can sometimes be OVER-ACTIVE and actually TOO TIGHT. Therefore doing pelvic floor exercises will actually tighten the pelvic floor muscles further. This causes a massive imbalance in the core muscles and hence all sorts of problems.
Indeed some of the most tricky and complex cases that we have had in the clinic in the past month had been due to over-active pelvic floors. Complex cases such as persistent knee, ankle and sciatic pain that have failed many other forms of therapies and rehab programs and would only resolve completely once we reset and corrected the pelvic floor muscles relationship with the other core muscles. Once this was corrected, the peripheral joints were then able to do their own jobs and not have to JAM down and compress for stability every step!
While this exercise is not suitable for post natal patients in the first few weeks it is a very basic a simple test to check your own pelvic floor! Perform a plank exercise while inhaling for 2 seconds, exhaling all the way out for 6 seconds, on the exhalation hold muscles around the pelvic floor in as if to stop yourself from going to the toilet. If this makes the exercise even easier or just the same take note.
Now on the exhalation do the opposite and let the muscles relax or ‘wee out’ gently but not literally! If this action now makes your abdominal muscles work even harder and it is a lot harder for you to do your plank exercise while exhaling then this may indicate that your pelvic floor muscles are indeed over-active for your core muscles!
If the opposite happened and holding your ‘wee in’ then the pelvic floor may actually be inhibited and doing pelvic floor exercises straight after releasing a specific tight muscle might be warranted! Post natal mothers can do this exercise by simply lying on their back with the knees in the air like the picture below while performing the exhalations as described above!