Kegels are the common term for contracting pelvic floor muscles and the first thing people think of when it comes to the pelvic floor, but pelvic floor muscles need to be able to do three things:
- Contract: Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles requires precision of muscle control, enabling the right intensity of contraction for the right task. The goal is a pain free contraction, in any posture with natural breathing patterns, without unnecessary hip or spinal movement. Spasming muscles are muscles that are stuck in a painful contraction pattern. Kegels focus on contracting alone, which increases pain in already short, spasmed pelvic floor muscles. Your CorePhysio PT will evaluate nerves, fascia and surrounding joints to understand why pelvic floor muscles may struggle to contract or relax.
- Relax: Your pelvic floor muscles need the ability to rapidly and fully relax after any intensity of contraction, with all surrounding joints in positions of comfort. If the hip, pelvis or spine joints are irritable, the pelvic floor muscles will react by splinting the region in a contraction. Clients may describe feeling like their muscles are ‘stuck’. Your CorePhysio PT will evaluate surrounding structures to understand why your pelvic floor muscles are unable to relax. It is not “in your head”.
- Lengthen: Pelvic floor muscles must lengthen and relax the right amount for the task. Muscles that are unable to lengthen and relax can result in straining during bowel movements, which can cause prolapse, hemorrhoids and pain.
Your CorePhysio PT is an expert on the ways the body is influenced by the colorectal, urologic, gynecologic, sexual, orthopedic, neurologic and biomechanical systems. After a detailed evaluation, your therapist will determine if you need to lengthen or strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Your customized treatment will include extensive education about the drivers of your condition and address all systems influencing your pelvic floor.