Pelvic floor dysfunction is instability and lack of functional performance of the pelvis leading to different issues. While most people think of incontinence, sexual performance issues, and pelvic pain as pelvic floor dysfunction, there are many other ‘chapters’ to the ‘book’ pelvic floor dysfunction. I strongly recommend you read my blog which explains the many missed presentations of pelvic floor dysfunction.
Looking for the best exercise to address pelvic floor dysfunction must mean that you already know you have pelvic floor dysfunction and most likely are looking to handle the dysfunction by yourself. While I am a DIY-er myself, I strongly advise you to seek proper evaluation by a pelvic floor therapist (who may or may not be a physical therapist) to ensure the treatment is not internal manual therapy only. In fact, in my office, by the time our patients gain pelvic stability, there is no need to perform any internal manual work. With that said, let’s find out what treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction should include.
What is the Holistic Treatment of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
As I explained in my blog: “Are Yoga exercises good for pelvic floor dysfunction?”, when it comes to the holistic treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction, we should consider:
- “Behavior modification which is always part of the solution list to all issues (your behavior about life changes how you do everything in life), is not going to correct any dysfunction fully but addresses some of the feeders of the problem.
- Postural Neurology: Movement is like a concert and the body parts are like the musicians; in that the musicians not only need to know their part but to know when to chime in and phase out. That means the pelvis and pelvic floor need to know how to ‘play’ with the rest of the body if they are to sustain their strength and integrity. This is what Postural Neurology is all about.
- Functional Movement: Common sense says that the most authentic way to move is the way babies move. After all, all babies from all over the world go through the same developmental stages of movement (Developmental Kinesiology) which means that we are hard-wired to move that way. So if the issue is movement-related or supported, then we should see how we compare to the way we moved as babies. All discrepancies are then highlighted and can be corrected through Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) exercises which are baby movements.
- Kegels? There are machines like the Emsella Chair that do 400 Kegels per minute involving all of the muscles of your pelvic floor and not the ones that you hope to be engaging. Note that Kegel exercises are not for all types of incontinence and pelvic floor muscle issues.
- Breathing is what babies do automatically and that is what we need to do in order to sustain the bottom of the breathing apparatus, the pelvic floor!
- Internal manual work which ideally should be done to assess the muscles inside the pelvis BUT does not have to be done in all cases.
- Nutrition: Avoid Citrus, caffeine, soda, artificial sweeteners, spicy foods and take collagen, Vit. C, Vit. D, Omega 3, protein if no conflict with any other conditions that suggest their avoidance.
- Ergonomics: Sit on an exercise ball vs a chair, get a keyboard that is as wide as your shoulders, limit your sitting to no more than one hour and alternate with standing, make sure the middle of your monitor is at eye level to name a few.
- Postural Awareness: It is important to pay attention to the posture and catch yourself when not standing on both feet, slouching, or shifting the pelvis forward and in front of the ankles. Best to associate the increase in attention with activities done each day; for instance, when talking to someone pay attention to the feet and pelvis positioning.
- Sleeping habits: do not sleep on the stomach and if you are a stomach sleeper, get a body pillow to minimize that.”
What is the Best Exercise for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
The best exercise has to be the one that is the foundation to all other exercises and the one that practices both relaxation and conditioning of the muscles INSIDE the pelvis as well as one that allows the spine, pelvis and hips to work in harmony with each other. Why?
Because those areas directly control movement and stabilization of the ‘house’ that the pelvic floor is the ‘floor’ of. The one exercise that practices both relaxation and conditioning of the muscles inside the pelvis is biological breathing. When breathing in, we relax the muscles inside the pelvis and with breathing out, we contract them. The key is that not every breathing does that necessarily but the good old, breathing, the kind that we all did as babies, the basis of all breathing, does that.
This video shows you how:
As explained in the video below, there is not one exact exercise that addresses the outside muscles influencing pelvis stability and each individual may have limitations that do not necessarily allow them to do exercises the same as another person. The go to type of exercises that I see great results from are the Developmental Movement exercises such as DNS or Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization.
If all babies on this planet, you and I, generations before and after all go through the same movement patterns without any coaching, bands, weights, or gyms, then why do we need to reinvent the wheel?
Who Treats Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
This was a blog I wrote previously where I outlined the types of providers that typically treat pelvic floor dysfunction. Please note that while they are all trained in the field of pelvic floor dysfunction, and most have similar approaches, not treat their pelvic floor dysfunction patients the same way. For instance, as mentioned previously, I do not do any internal manual work and yet, with my stability approach, I see great results with my patients.
If you have pelvic floor dysfunction and do not know where to start or if you are not happy with the results of the treatment you are receiving, contact us. I can help.