Pelvic floor dysfunction is much more prevalent now than ever before and the search for the best pelvic floor exercises continues. This increase also is met by a shortage of trained therapists, which btw do not have to be physical therapists, translating a decrease in time to teach patients how to do exercises on their own.
Pelvic floor muscles for men and women are the same and the need to strengthen pelvic floor muscles should be on top of the mind for everyone especially if a sedentary lifestyle is yours. If you think you work out frequently and are spared, you are mistaken. You see, how long you sit each day is the criteria you should be looking at.
Pelvic floor muscles are not just the muscles between your genitals and your anus (referred to as perineum). This area is only a part of your pelvic floor.
Where is the Pelvic Floor?
Imagine a bag with 4 sides, with a rounded top and the bottom. The bag has the inside and the outside surfaces. The pelvic floor is the rounded bottom of the bag both on the inside and the outside!
In humans, the bottom is your pelvis which looks like a bowl so the muscles lining the inside and outside of the bowl make up your pelvic floor. Of course, just like the metaphoric bag, the integrity of the bottom of the bag is highly dependent on the quality of the attachments; weak sides to the bag only cause a failed bag! Right? Well, when it comes to treating the pelvic floor, in most cases, hardly anything is done to assure the sides of the bag are of strong quality or the whole bag will fail!
Can Pelvic Floor Muscles Be Stretched?
Muscles of the pelvic floor, like all other skeletal muscles, can be stretched, however, since most of them are on the inside of the pelvis, stretching them is not easy like stretching your neck muscles for example. With certain poses and movements, they can be stretched but most pelvic floor dysfunction issues are a result of the tightness of the pelvic floor and the areas the floor is attached to just as you can see in the diagram above.
Can Pelvic Floor Muscles be Strengthened?
Absolutely yes. Unfortunately, most people think Kegel exercise is the only way you can make the muscles of the pelvic floor strong! Let’s be real, when you do Kegel exercises, you can pretty much squeeze your vagina or penis (assuming you know how to do Kegel exercise correctly), and then by the time you have done 10 or so, you call it quits! Kegel exercise is great if it is done right and impacts all the muscles that line the pelvis ( the bowl I referred to above). The only device I have come across that does that is the FDA-approved chair called BTL Emsella.
This chair provides 400 Kegels per minute and patients claim they can feel the muscles inside their pelvis move with our customized settings. At our clinic, we bring in years of experience working with patients with Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, utilizing Postural Neurology, Development Kinesiology and Biological Breathing (see the video below) to connect all the dots that are involved in pelvic floor dysfunction and pelvic floor muscle weakness which may or may not be presented with incontinence.
Pelvic Floor Exercises Step by Step
When it comes to exercises, our best recommendations come from babies!! We are all different and yet, every baby on this planet goes through the same developmental movements and stages regardless of where they are from. That is because we are programmed to move that way!! Just as your smartphone comes with certain apps you can’t delete, we are hard-wired to go through systematic stages of movement to strengthen the body in the order it was designed to follow.
The step-by-step pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor and to stretch the pelvic floor are all a part of these developmental movement patterns and that is exactly what sets Core Pelvic Floor Therapy apart from the other treatment facilities for pelvic floor dysfunction and makes us so unique.
The first step is to learn to do Biological Breathing as shown in the video above; next is to understand the role of our stabilizers (the torso, and pelvis) and the phasic muscles (the arms and legs). The biggest issue leading to weak pelvic floor muscles is the fact that the stabilizers and the extremities (arms and legs) switch roles all as a result of our habits, lifestyle, and injuries. Give the exercise shown in the video below a try to see if you are able to do it correctly or not. This is a great start to see where you stand on the spectrum of functional vs dysfunctional movements.
When it comes to pelvic floor dysfunction, isolating the muscles of the hip, lower back, and even pelvis to try to work them is where we fail! Your pelvic floor muscles are not in isolation and their lack of ‘performance’ is not in isolation; they don’t play their part in movement and THAT is the problem and should be the focus of the treatment.
The only exercises for pelvic floor dysfunction that are a solution in the right direction are the functional exercises such as DNS or Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization which require biological breathing (shown in the video above) with the focus on both the abdominal and pelvic diaphragm.
It is easy to get a lot of procedures done for pelvic floor dysfunction and almost all of them lead to improvement BUT when partial treatment is applied, a partial solution is gained! With the combination of DNS, ART (active release technique), postural correction, biological breathing, perhaps manual internal work (not necessarily the case for every case), and Emsella Chair (not necessarily in every case), we have managed to help most that had lost hope.
Contact us if you have any questions or want to make an appointment.