March’s guest author, Sue Leftwich will be running a 6 week course for pelvic floor health from 24th April to 29th May. Sue is a trained health and exercise professional and all pelvic floor health issues could benefit. This will be held at Banchory Chiropractic Clinic on Mondays 1.30pm-2.30pm. Call 07580390211 to book or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PELVIC FLOOR FITNESS
PART 2 : OUR HIDDEN GEM – THE DIAMOND!
How many of you have been to a class, where the Instructor has said “pull up on your pelvic floor” and you haven’t a clue what he/she is talking about!
Problem is, the majority of us don’t know WHAT the pelvic floor is, WHERE it is located and HOW to activate it and due to embarrassment we keep quiet, put our heads down or smile at the Instructor as if acknowledging their command! (but quietly dying inside!)
How many of you have attended a class where it is imperative that you go to the toilet immediately before the high- impact section, because you know that you are going to “leak” and you also need to change your incontinence pad “just incase”……..Oh, and just to make matters worse, you run to the toilet half way through because you HAVE wet yourself!
So, how do you go about fixing these problems?
Firstly, I’m going to start with some functional exercises you should NOT be doing;
1. Holding your breath! This is an automatic response which we all do from time to time, but if this continues on a long term basis, perhaps during a stressful period of your life (yes, stress CAN affect your pelvic floor fitness), holding your breath exerts intra-abdominal pressure, which can lead to a greater pressure being exerted on your lower abdominal muscles (your core) including your pelvic floor.
Within this section I am going to mention the “valsalve manoeuvre”. This is not only holding your breath but shutting off the glottis (back of the throat) which is used when weight-lifters brace themselves before & during heavy lifting. Not only does it increase our blood pressure & reduces venous return (not good if you suffer from CHD) but increases the intra-thoracic/abdominal pressure down below. People who suffer from constipation are at risk of this – straining to empty your bowels. Many of you perform this manoeuvre while onboard an aircraft, trying to “pop” your ears after altered cabin pressure!
- Lifting and carrying heavy objects incorrectly. Learn how to brace yourself before attempting to lift. (this will be covered in the 6-week course)
- Being inactive or having a seated occupation. Get out of your chair every 30 minutes to aid circulation, posture and pelvic floor fitness. If this is not possible, do seated exercises from the toes up to the head!
- Be aware of your posture. Poor posture = poor breathing = muscle/fascial imbalances = musculo-skeletal pain and/ or injuries. The kinetic chain really does apply here!
- This last one gives some tips for exercises we should avoid;
- a) Double leg lifts (Teaser, Double-leg stretches, Hundred etc..)
- b) Head & Shoulders raised off the floor such as abdominal crunches/curls. Excessive crunches, performed incorrectly can lead to abdominal doming and hernias, especially in young males (Males account for 90% of hernia repairs)
- c) Weight bearing through hands & feet only (Full plank, Full press up, Leg pull front/back etc…)
All the above recruits and engages the strong outer abdominal muscles that are responsible for increasing the load on the pelvic floor. Of course, if you don’t have a pelvic floor problem, these exercises are OK, within reason. However, I personally never advocate the double leg lifts, as the lower back is recruited, often incorrectly, which is not good news if you have a weak lumbar spine.
Sadly, we only seek advice from health care specialists if something goes wrong with our pelvic floor. Leave well alone if all is good down below!
This is where I can be of help, giving practical and functional exercises which are safe and effective.
I am offering 6 week sessions for the following groups:
- Post-natal, including diastasis recti* (DR)
- Prolapses (Grades 1/2) – bladder, bowel, rectum
- Men only
- Stress or urge bladder incontinence.
- Anyone with an interest in strengthening their pelvic floor- they do say it makes for better sex!
- * I am not a replacement for any physiotherapy sessions which you should be given if you have diastasis (DR).
- * Please ask your Physio first if you can attend on completion of DR intervention or any other pelvic dysfunctions.All classes will contain:
1. Pelvic floor physiology, in brief!
2. Locating and isolating the pelvic floor
3. Practical, functional exercises with lots of “hands on” – your own hands on your own body!
- Correct breathing
- Lifting & carrying
- Hypertonic (high tone)* versus Hypotonic (low tone)
- The Kinetic chain/fascial lines which run through thepelvic area.
- Good versus Bad exercises
- Exercises at the end of the 6 weeks to take home andpractice in the comfort of your own home.
*If you have been told you have high tone pelvic floor, these sessions are NOT suitable for you as you will need specialist training on how to relax these muscles.
My first 6 sessions will be aimed at the Post-natal mums. Apparently, in France it is mandatory for women to undertake 10 physiotherapy sessions after childbirth, in order to recondition the pelvic floor! I can’t guarantee 10 sessions, but I can give you a helping hand!
So, if you have a baby between 6 weeks and 6 months, baby is welcome to come along too! (sorry no older siblings).
Cost of 6 sessions is £60. Small classes guaranteed. Places will be guaranteed on receipt of payment.
Sounds a lot of money to spend on that forgotten gem?
Incontinence pants cost £1-1.50/pant.
If you used 4-6/day this equals a minimum of £42/week, £168/month, £2,016/year!!!!!!
Pads cost approx. 25p/pad.
If you used 4-6/day this equals a minimum of £10.50/week, £42/month, £504/year!!!!!!
Think I know which option I would take!
I will complete this article with an Ode, written by Jenni Russell, Author of “Pelvic Floor Secrets”:
My Pelvic Floor, something I cannot see,
Can either reward or debilitate me,
I can choose to ignore it and not value it’s role,
Then under the knife I may just have to go,
Extra protection I need when I laugh,
And “the feeling” in intimacy…a memory that’s past
Or I can choose to acknowledge, condition and enjoy,
“Gripping” and “Lifting” and jumping for joy
A little attention, a few minutes a day and
I can confidently…”continently” be on my way.
If you have any issues you want to discuss and you think you fit into ANY of the above inclusions, please contact me on:
Sorry, website is under renovation during the Easter holidays!
This month’s guest author, Sue Leftwich will be running a 6 week course for pelvic floor health from 24th April to 29th May. Sue is a trained health and exercise professional and all pelvic floor health issues could benefit. This will be held at Banchory Chiropractic Clinic on Mondays 1.30pm-2.30pm. Call 07580390211 to book or email email@example.com.