The commonly neglected “core” muscle you’re probably not working.
I attended a Pelvic Health in Sport and Exercise seminar presented by Pelvic Health Physiotherapist Celia Wahnig of “Elevate” Physio Nelson (previously “Restore”). I thought I’d share some of my main takeaways and some common misconceptions I thought it was important to draw attention to.
Part One: Pelvic Health Physiotherapists
What are they, what do they do and why are they important?
Your pelvic floor is made up of muscle and connective tissue that work together to 1). Support your organs i.e. bowels, uterus and bladder like a hammock, 2). Assists in the stabilisation of your pelvis and hips and manages abdominal pressure (making it an important part of your “core”). It also 3). Plays an important role in bowel, bladder and sexual function.
Pelvic health physio’s help you to identify and manage symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction including but not limited to:
- Pelvic pain,
- Pain or reduced sensation during sex,
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP).
While a few of these symptoms are considered “common”, they aren’t actually normal. Some are still unfortunately taboo topics and are not discussed openly.
The lack of awareness and understanding surrounding these issues means women (and men) are rarely aware of the treatments available to them. You could be unknowingly experiencing symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction that could be better managed or even eliminated. These are not issues you have to continue tolerating or dealing with alone.
You don’t have to have had a vaginal birth or have even been pregnant to benefit from seeing a pelvic health physio. Pelvic floor dysfunction can occur due to loading/changing of the pelvic structures during pregnancy or as a result of other factors i.e. certain sports or sexual trauma.
Pelvic health physio’s can also identify issues that may not be presenting obvious symptoms or causing issues for you currently, but could become exacerbated unknowingly later on down the line if left un-addressed. Meaning, if you’re not experiencing any pelvic related issues “yet” it may be helpful to adopt a prevention versus treatment mindset.
It’s also important to understand that just “keeping up with your kegels” might not actually be addressing (or even further aggravating) the mechanisms behind your symptoms.
You might be experiencing symptoms that are a result of an overactive pelvic floor (and potentially weak pelvic floor musculature/connective tissue). It’s just as important to be able to knowingly RELAX your pelvic floor as it is to be able to contract/strengthen it whether naturally or consciously when performing certain movements to manage the load/”bearing down” on the pelvic floor.
So it’s important to receive a proper assessment by a PHP before introducing any pelvic floors exercises to ensure they’re being performed correctly and that they’re having the desired effect.
If you found this helpful “follow” and keep an eye out for Part 2: Prenatal exercise, and Part 3: Postpartum considerations.
You can find also find me on Instagram @kayla_made_fitness.