Pelvic floor muscles get weak not because you are a female who has gotten pregnant or have given birth. Weak pelvic floor muscles happen not because you are obese, a smoker, have MS, or have had surgery. Weak pelvic floor muscles can happen in all genders, at all ages, and with no discrimination to a geographical position. There is no estimated number of weak pelvic floor cases because most cases are not even considered weak pelvic floor but something else. And most studies are on women as if men or children don’t get it.
In my practice, I see an almost equal number of cases of male and female patients that exhibit weak pelvic floor muscles since I treat pelvic floor dysfunction. I wished all medical providers would be on high alert to recognize the subtle signs and symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction early on and recommend the right providers to assist patients in resolving issues in their infancy. Unfortunately, not only is that not on the horizon but even most of the providers that treat pelvic floor dysfunction don’t provide comprehensive treatment to their patients.
If pelvic floor dysfunction was a book, weak pelvic floor muscles would be a chapter of this book and the rest of the ‘chapters’ will show up sooner or later most likely. To learn more about pelvic floor dysfunction, I refer you to my blog page.
What Are The Subtle Signs of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
As explained in my blog, ” Pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms’, the following are signs and symptoms that are commonly missed and not associated with pelvic floor dysfunction:
- “Lower back pain
- Pain in the back joints of the pelvis (SI Joints)
- Pain in the front pubic area
- Arched lower back
- Slouched lower back
- Slouched mid-back or hunchback
- Military posture with the chest pushed out
- A V-stance where the torso is positioned behind the hip joints on the side view
- Chronic forward neck
- Inability to bend down below the knees
- Habitually standing on one leg with the other leg bent
- Chronic one-sided pain in the lower extremity
- Hip pain on one or both sides”
How Do Pelvic Floor Muscles Get Weak?
In general, when it comes to all skeletal muscles, in the absence of a disease, either a muscle is overworked and gets weak, or is de-conditioned and gets weak. Let me explain:
With skeletal muscle there is a progression of muscle involvement and when, due to injuries and lifestyle, the natural progression is interrupted or altered, the dysfunctional patterns of movement begin. That means that at times, the new, yet dysfunctional ‘blueprint’ of movement, calls for a ‘path’ that may skip a muscle or hardly utilize that muscle. That is how that muscle becomes de-conditioned. If the ‘blueprint’ over-utilizes a muscle, that muscle is overworked and therefore tired and weak. The only way to change the ‘blueprint’ is by using postural neurology and developmental kinesiology to get to the root of the problem.
This is a big deal when it comes to strengthening and conditioning muscles and in the world of physical rehabilitation. Weak pelvic floor muscles fall into this category and unfortunately, it seems that there is hardly any attention given beyond manual internal therapy, to thoroughly address the problem.
What Happens When Pelvic Floor Muscles Get Weak?
While most people associate weak pelvic floor muscles with urinary incontinence, the list of symptoms can be much longer, and here are a few on that list. Make note that a comprehensive exam to make sure other factors are not causing the same signs and symptoms is necessary.
- Hip mobility issues
- Lower back pain
- Sacroiliac joint pain
- Deep pain at the junction of the lower back to the pelvis
- Knee pain
- Anterior pelvis
- Posterior pelvis
- Urinary incontinence
- Fecal incontinence
- Gas incontinence
- Painful intercourse (male and female)
- Pain in the vagina or penis
- Heavy feeling in the rectal area
- Frequent UTI
- Pain down the back of the leg similar to sciatica
- Standing on one leg vs both legs
- Occasional, shooting pain to the vagina/penis, perineum, and/or anus
How To Find A Good Pelvic Floor Therapist?
Recently, a happy patient confessed that when he was looking for treatment for his pelvic floor dysfunction, he noticed there were not too many patients on my website that had left a review but there were over 100 google reviews on my functional movement website. He asked why that was!
I reminded him that when he made an appointment, he did not feel comfortable discussing his symptoms with the person who took his call. When it comes to pelvic floor dysfunction treatment, google reviews are always helpful but lacking them does not mean the provider is not good. The best suggestion I have is to call the office, speak to the receptionist, ask if you can speak to the treating doctor or provider, and meet with them.
There is a lot of value in a thorough consultation and clarification of what treatment looks like. A good provider understands your potential for uneasiness, should answer your questions, and explain what treatment looks like. You know your issue is addressed when the focus is function and not just lack of pain. When it comes to pelvic floor dysfunction, it is important to not only get rid of the cause but what feeds the cause as well.
The sooner you understand the depth of the issue and are willing to adopt the principles of movement into your life, the better off you will be. Here is a video that explains the concept.
If you have pelvic floor dysfunction and the treatments you have received did not provide a complete resolution, contact me.