As some of you will know. I’m deeply passionate about the pelvic floor muscles and how we use them. If you have attended our yoga and Pilates day then you will have heard this. But those who have not then read on…..
Do you know what and where the pelvic floor is?
It includes our Vagina (women) Anus and Urethra (men and women). It’s the group of muscles that support our internal organs, think of it like a trampoline that holds everything in place. If the pelvic floor muscles are week and you cant engage them, then this can lead to numerous and complex problems.
Lower back Pain
Did you know? That if you have suffered any type of back pain, then your deep core muscles of your pelvic floor switch off!! This is to do with the way the nervous system connects to the muscles. This then results in a cycle of problems – back pain, pelvic floor problems, increased back pain (you get the picture).
1/4 of all women suffer from pelvic floor issues, rising to 1/3 in the over 65 age group. Over the next 20 years this is expected to rise to 50%.
This is not just a female issue, 40% of males over 40 will suffer from erectile dysfunction due to poor pelvic floor muscles.
So how do we engage our pelvic floor. Ladies we have 3 holes (sorry to be so crude). Urethra, vagina and anus, gentlemen you have 2, urethra and anus. If you have a strong pelvic floor you should be able to tighten and squeeze each hole individually or all together. However, in pilates it is the muscle that stops the urine, mid flow. Next time you are going to the toilet. Remember to try!!!.
It’s harder than you think.
Then lie on your back with bent knees. Place the palm of your hand on your hip bone and the fingers towards the pubic bone and see if you can feel your pelvic floor muscle tighten and relax. The action of engagement is 30% of maximum and you are squeezing the pelvic floor muscles in and up. Eventually you should be able to feel a connection all the way to the rib cage.
When working the pelvic floor its important to breath deeply. As we breath the air fills the lungs and the diaphragm moves down, along with our pelvic floor. As we breath out the diaphragm moves up and brings the pelvic floor with it. This only occurs during deep breathing.
Causes of pelvic floor dysfunction
Straining when emptying the bowels
Lifting heavy objects
Lower back issues.
Lower back problems cost the NHS £500 million a year (Nice) and in industry with sick days due to lower back problems £3500 million a year.
20 % of women who are waiting for gynaecology surgery is due to pelvic floor dysfunction. Don’t leave it till you have a problem!!! At minimum 10 x 3 squeezes a day.
And lastly a healthy pelvic floor, which can be achieved easily, is a major component to a happy and healthy you 💕