Pelvic Floors

Homage to our Pelvic Floors

It is crazy the lack of attention we give to our pelvic floor muscles. Many of my clients come into the clinic with no idea what they are or how to work them. My friends don’t worry about them thinking they will only need attention when they have children.

They are one of the most important muscles in the body; it keeps us continent, helps protect the spine, supports the pelvic organs and wait for it – most importantly helps us to have better orgasms.

It is a well-known fact that we need to strengthen them when we are pregnant and after childbirth. But that’s not the only time we need to give them attention. Running, stress, straining to go to the toilet and gym work-outs all puts pressure on this area which can then cause problems.

It’s not a nice muscle to have problems; it can cause urinary and faecal incontinence, constipation, pain, prolapse and sexual dysfunction.

So ladies, in light of the above, take a minute to read below and pay homage to your pelvic floors.

What are they?

It’s a group of muscles, ligaments and fascia that act like a supporting hammock which run from your pubic bone underneath your body to your coccyx at the bottom of your spine.

What do they do?

It supports your bladder, vagina, uterus and bowel. It should tighten and lift automatically when you squat, sneeze, run or lift. They work in synergy with your deep abdominal muscles to stabilise your spine.

Mumma’s

For all the Mumma’s reading this, follow the two exercises below. Fit them easily into your day, like when waiting at traffic lights or for the kettle to boil. I struggle to do them without raising my eyebrows, but let’s not be afraid of doing them, we can smile at each other at the lights knowing what we are both doing! If you are having problems with either urge or stress incontinence or feelings of heaviness, go and see a physiotherapist. A strengthening program will take about 6-12 weeks and are an impressive 80% successful. One out of three Mum’s in New Zealand have this so let’s not make it an embarrassing taboo subject, let’s just sort it out.

Haven’t had children?

Even though you haven’t had children, you may still be putting un-due stress on your pelvic floors.

Excessive abdominal work outs, constantly drawing in your waist, straining to go to the toilet and long distance running all can predispose you to problems. Have a read of this check list for some quick tips to protect your pelvic floor muscles;

  1. When completing sit-ups/ ab work make sure you are not i) bracing and pushing down on your pelvic floors ii) pushing your stomach out and arching your back.
  2. If you are after a flatter stomach, your pelvic floors with you deep abdominals are the key muscles to work so don’t just do obliques and sit ups.
  3. Remember when engaging your abdominals, draw your belly button ‘up and in’ not just in towards your spine
    Relax your stomach during the day, it will help you breath better.
  4. Lean forwards when you poo and eat lots of fibre to stop straining.
  5. Work on having good posture

How can you find your pelvic floor muscles?

  1. Imagine you are trying to stop the flow of urine, squeeze and lift up around the front passage
  2. Imagine you are trying to hold in wind, squeeze and lift up around the back
  3. While contracting these muscles breath. If you can’t feel anything happening, change position, and try sitting up or lying down.

Pelvic Floor Exercises are easy

  1. When lying down or sitting, check that your stomach and bottom muscles are relaxed. Make sure you are not holding your breath.
  2. Squeeze and lift your pelvic floor muscles as strongly as you can
  3. Try and hold the squeeze for 3-10 seconds.
  4. Rest for 5 seconds and repeat the ‘squeeze and lift’ 5-10 times.
  5. Have a rest for 10 seconds then complete 6-8 quick contractions.

So ladies, I hope this helps. If you see me at the traffic light doing something funny with my eyebrows, give me a smile and a thumbs up. This is just a general guide, if you are having any problems please seek professional help.

With thanks to Physiotherapy New Zealand and Mary O’Dwyer ‘s ‘Hold it Sister’

Testimonials

After my second baby was born, my body was a wreck, with constant back and pelvic pain that made it hard to cope with the physical demands of being a mother. Regular physio – and lots of care, support and encouragement – from Sarah has made a vast difference. I’m far stronger and very nearly pain-free – better than I was before I had children.

– Nicki Judkins

Nicki Judkins
I was 44 when I first went to Sarah with a background of sports injuries related to running. I have previously had several years of treatment from physiotherapists but continued to suffer from injuries as my running distances increased. Since being treated by Sarah I have been able to complete both a half marathon and my first full marathon – both in times I was delighted with. I am in no doubt that without her ongoing care I would not have been able to achieve my marathon goal.
-Carolyn Burnet
Carolyn Burnet
As a New Zealand age group representative duathlete, I was experiencing regular and ongoing muscular problems in both lower legs. Since attending Sarah’s one-on-one Pilates sessions, my leg problems have completely disappeared. Sarah’s innovative ideas and caring communication have made what started out as a trying ordeal into a weekly Pilates session that I now look forward to.
-Chris Fletcher
Chris Fletcher
I have been coming to Bodyreform for about 8 years after years of on / off treatment for a lower back problem which resulted in sciatic pain. Not only did they remove the pain, but they also taught me how to support and manage the problem through strengthening my inner core muscles and correcting my posture. Body Reform’s Physios worked hard on my rehabilitation and they maintain a strong relationship / friendship with me that ensures I can look forward to aging gracefully and in a pain free fashion.

-Jan Woodhouse

Jan Woodhouse, FNZILA
NZILA Registered Landscape Architect

Jan Woodhouse