Your posture plays a crucial role in the health and function of a lesser-known but essential part of your body: the pelvic floor. In this blog, you will learn about the relationship between posture and the pelvic floor, and how proper alignment matters more than you might think.
Understanding the Pelvic Floor
To comprehend the impact of posture on the pelvic floor, it’s important to first understand what the pelvic floor is. I have written an extensive blog on the anatomy of the pelvis reminding you that the pelvic floor is not by itself and its health is not independent of the rest of the pelvis and the body parts connected to the pelvis. Pelvis stability is a HUGE player in the health of the pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor refers to a group of muscles and connective tissues that stretch across the bottom of your pelvis, with the anus and vagina/penis and the tissue in between. This supports vital organs such as the bladder, uterus (or prostate in men), and intestine. These muscles play a big role in various bodily functions, including maintaining urinary and fecal continence, providing stability to pelvic organs, and even contributing to sexual function. But what most people don’t realize is that pelvic floor issues don’t stay within the pelvic floor region! So they can show up as chronic lower back pain, chronic sacroiliac joint pain, hip pain, mobility issues, pelvic instability, poor posture, and constipation to name a few.
How Does Posture Affect the Pelvic Floor?
It might seem surprising, but the way you hold your body – your posture – has a direct impact on the health and functionality of your pelvic floor, and here is how:
Your body is an interconnected structure, and the alignment of one part can influence another. Poor posture, such as slouching or hunching, can lead to a misalignment of the pelvis. This misalignment, in turn, can cause strain or weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. Conversely, maintaining proper alignment through good posture ensures that the pelvic floor is adequately supported and able to function optimally.
Posture affects how weight is distributed throughout your body. When you have poor posture, specific areas, including the pelvic floor, may experience unnecessary pressure. Over time, this sustained pressure can contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction, potentially leading to issues such as urinary incontinence and discomfort.
Good posture encourages the engagement of your core muscles – and your core is NOT just your abdomen. Your core is your trunk. The high area goes almost all the way up to the armpit and is certainly involved in the stability of your trunk which plays a huge role in pelvic stability. A strong trunk provides essential stability to the pelvic organs, helping prevent the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles and reducing the risk of related problems.
Surprisingly, the way you breathe can impact your posture and pelvic floor health. Shallow chest breathing, often associated with poor posture, can create tension in the pelvic floor muscles. Learning to breathe deeply and diaphragmatically can help release this tension, contributing to improved pelvic floor function.
How Do I Have a Better Posture for a Stronger Pelvic Floor?
Now that you understand the profound connection between posture and the pelvic floor, let’s explore practical tips to help you maintain a healthy posture and support the well-being of your pelvic floor:
Proper breathing apparatus requires your abdominal diaphragm and pelvic diaphragm to be parallel to each other and stacked on top of each other. Is yours?
This is the key! That is the difference between functional vs. dysfunctional patterns of movement. It is not about going from point A to B but how we get there that is the key. All pelvic floor dysfunction patients we have treated at our clinic move dysfunctionally and as expected, end up with failed posture with the pelvis being involved. This video explains it in detail and is worth watching.
Lifestyle Habits and Choices
The daily choices we make play a role in what our bodies have to do to allow us to move on. Your work environment plays a huge role in your posture and pelvic floor stability. To customize your work environment, check out what I recommend to my patients.
Regular Stretching and Strengthening
It is not about the number of reps and sets that you should concern yourself with but the quality of the form that you are holding. The only right exercises that I can think of and recommend to my patients are those of Developmental Kinesiology called Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization or DNS. You see, if all of us started as helpless infants and became running toddlers after a couple of years without any weights, bands, straps, or any training or coaching, then we must be programmed to do it that way. All babies move the same way as you know so why don’t we catch where the problem is and then proceed to fix it the way we strengthened it to begin with?
Explore mind-body positioning awareness which focuses on body awareness, alignment, and body positioning. These practices can help you develop better proprioception and improve posture and pelvic floor function. There are many ways to up this game one of which is hand-eye coordination.
There is more to posture than looks and it is a reflection of how well your movement, and stability are. If you have had pelvic floor dysfunction treatment but hardly any attention was given to your movement and posture, contact me. You can’t stabilize the floor when the ‘house’ is unstable and the house, your pelvis, needs to be stabilized in order for your pelvic floor to have a chance.