Pelvic floor dysfunction is perhaps one of the least understood conditions among people and physicians. It is most often understood as having a weak pelvic floor and then the treatment is looked at as internal manual work on the inside of the pelvis through the vagina and/or anus. This lack of understanding only complicates the version of pelvic floor dysfunction that you may be having and extends the length of time it takes to solve the problem.
Pelvic floor dysfunction is the name of the ‘book’ while urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, constipation, hemorrhoid, pelvic pain, pain during sexual intercourse, pain at the onset of intercourse, tailbone pain, erectile dysfunction, frequent urination, feeling of fullness in the rectum, weak pelvic floor, spastic pelvic floor, lower back pain, sacroiliac pain, hip pain, and poor posture are examples of the ‘chapter’ this ‘book’ has.
What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
In my blog on the subject I point out, “The dysfunction happens in response to adaptation to our injuries and lifestyles. This modification involves the map of movement and how the muscles, ligaments, joints, and bones move based on the command being received from the brain.” As common sense as it seems, when it comes to treating pelvic floor dysfunction, most pelvic floor therapists get too preoccupied with the treatment of the floor than to assess the issue comprehensively and make sure they don’t put the myopic lens on to just look at the floor.
Can Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Cause Leg Pain?
Absolutely yes, however, what is important to note is that not every leg pain is caused by pelvic floor dysfunction! It is important to assess the problem deeply and see what other subtle and not-so-subtle signs and symptoms exist in addition to the leg pain you may be experiencing. To see this list, read my blog on pelvic floor and cycling.
When it comes to leg pain, the cause can be neurological and related to the nerves exiting the spine referred to as stenosis of the lower back vertebra. It can also be due to the connective tissues of the actual pelvis (see the diagram), perhaps the muscles of the leg and glute’s, trigger points in the soft tissue of the lower back, pelvis, and gluteals, and the positioning of the pelvis itself to name a few. All of these lead to the mal-positioning of the pelvis, the house of the pelvic floor, and the weakness or spasticity of the pelvic floor.
Working on the ‘floor’, when the actual house (pelvis) is unstable is simply a waste of time. It is like you dusting a house that was hit by a hurricane!! There is value in dusting but that is not the first thing to do when trying to put the whole house together.
What is The Treatment for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
In my blog, “ What is missing in Pelvic floor Dysfunction”, the following facts are important to note:
- “Pelvic floor muscles are part of the musculoskeletal system and as such react to therapy just as all the other muscles of similar type. That means no matter what the story is behind the weakness and the overall tightness is, it should never be treated by itself but the surrounding areas and the attachments to the pelvic inlet have to be addressed as well.
- That means while medications may help alleviate some of the symptoms, no medications ever address the root cause of the problem.
- That means while behavior modification plays a huge role in some of the symptoms and while behavior modification is always part of the solution list to all issues (your behavior about life changes how you do everything in life), it is not going to correct any dysfunction.
- All dysfunctions start as functional and if we reverse engineer all musculoskeletal conditions, we go back to the brain and the blueprint of movement. Pelvic floor dysfunction is no exception.
- Even if there is a neurological component to the pelvic floor dysfunction, that does not take away the fact that the pelvic floor muscles need to learn how to work with the rest of the body regardless of the nerve issue that might have contributed heavily to its existence.
- Movement is like a concert and the body parts are like the musicians. 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.
- 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.
- There are machines like 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.
- Do know that no matter what you learn on the internet and social media, authentic 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!”
If you have leg pain and are wondering if it is related to your pelvic floor dysfunction or you have ongoing pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms despite the many treatments you have received, do not give up, contact me and I will tell you exactly where you stand with the treatment that will get you back on track.