Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

If you have a challenge with:

  • Incontinence, frequency or urgency?
  • IBS?
  • Painful, heavy or irregular periods?
  • Painful sex?
  • Hip or back pain that keeps returning  no matter what else you do?
  • Difficulty sitting for longer than 15 or 20 minutes

If you have a history of :

  • Difficult pregnancy or delivery?
  • Difficulty conceiving?
  • Abdominal surgery?
  • Endometriosis?
  • Injury to the  tailbone or low back?

If you answered “yes!” to any of these questions, you may have pelvic floor dysfunction. The pelvic floor contains several pairs of muscles that run from the pubic bone to the tail bone and act as a hammock  to keep everything  inside us ….. well …. Inside us.  When these muscles become stressed or overstretched due to injury, surgery or even life events, that “hammock” is no longer in its proper position and that can result in pain through out the area, difficulty with bowel or bladder function, problems with fertility.

Myofascial Release, can help releasing restrictions in the pelvic floor, allowing these muscles to ease back into their correct position and take the pressure off the neighboring structures .

The pelvic floor is a very important part of our body’s core of support that does not always get recognized. The pelvis (hip bones and sacrum, the base of the spine) is the cornerstone of all stability, movement, balance and flexibility. The pelvic floor at the bottom of the pelvis, provides the central source of support. If the cornerstone is out of place, the rest of the body’s stability is in jeopardy.

The pelvic floor acts as a sling providing support and holding in our inner core. This sling is composed of a group of muscles and ligaments woven together to form a bowl shape with the pelvic and urogenital diaphragms at its base. It is comprised of several pairs of muscles which run from the pubic bone or the tail bone to other parts of the pelvis (see diagram on back). There is a thin layer of fascia or connective tissue which envelopes the entire pelvic floor that connects, protects and further supports all the muscles, organs and other structures of the pelvic floor

In its optimum condition, the well toned pelvic floor provides support for many functions: pregnancy and delivery, passage of stool and urine and plays a role in optimizing women’s sexual pleasure. The strength of the pelvic floor is dependent on these interwoven muscles and related structures staying in alignment. For a variety of reasons some muscles can become overstretched and weaken over time while other muscles over compensate and spasm in an effort to return stability to the pelvic floor.

As many as seven out of ten women have pelvic floor instabilities. They may be caused by a variety of issues including child birth, surgeries, large uterine fibroids, misalignment of the pelvic bones due to poor posture, menopause, even frequent straining during stool elimination.

Symptoms of pelvic floor instability include: bowel or bladder incontinence, incomplete emptying of the bowel or bladder, menstrual pain and irregularities, pelvic/vulvar pain, painful sexual intercourse or diminished sexual satisfaction.

The good news is, there are non-surgical ways to treat pelvic floor issues. One method involves myofascial release or MFR. This involves treating the fascia or connective tissue mentioned earlier. To better understand how this technique works, it helps to understand a little more about what the fascial system is.

Fascia is a connective tissue made of elastin (a springy, stretchy substance) and collagen (a more fibrous, sticky substance that gives structures in the body strength and form). Fascia covers every muscle, tendon, nerve, bone, blood vessel and organ, It permeates every fiber, every cell in the body in a continuous system that runs from head to toe in a three-dimensional web. In this way, every part of the body is connected to every other part of the body and can influence every other part of the body through fascia.

In its normal, relaxed state, fascia allows different body structures to move and glide easily over each other as a person goes about his or her daily activities. It also provides form and structure to some of the body’s organs similar to a net bag that holds onions together in the grocery store.

When the body undergoes trauma, through falls, injuries, surgeries or even repeated poor posture, fascia can become tight and form restrictions. Fascial restrictions can apply tremendous pressure on the body’s structures, up to 2000 pounds of pressure per square inch creating pain, headaches, limited motion and loss of function.

MFR works on these restrictions by providing sustained pressure into the elastic and collagenous barriers, easing them into letting go and urging them back into place. As structures return to their proper alignment, it becomes possible to strengthen the weakened muscles and stretch the over compensating muscle, toning the pelvic floor.

An MFR therapist trained in the area of Women’s Health can use both external and internal (through the vagina and or rectum) techniques to reduce fascial restrictions allowing the

pelvic floor to return to it’s natural state and then instruct women in a strengthening programs including MFR self treatment techniques. Further progress can be made by augmenting MFR and self treatment techniques with core strengthening activities such as Pilates.

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