CLINICAL PILATES

What is an over-active pelvic floor? Women's Health Wednesday

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This week charlotte, our women's health physio in sutherland, explains AN OVER-ACTIVE PELVIC FLOOR?

Like any muscle in the body it is important that the pelvic floor can both contract and relax.

If you think of your bicep muscle this needs to be able to contract to pick something up and relax to put something down. Imagine if the bicep was contracted all day long, it would be really hard to use your arm functionally and your bicep muscle would not work efficiently. Especially when strength is needed, the pelvic floor is the same.

Some women have pelvic floor muscles which have difficulty relaxing and remain constantly contracted. This however does NOT mean they are strong, imagine how tired they would be when you need them! 

OVER-ACTIVE ≠ STRONG

 

What are the symptoms of an over-active pelvic floor?

Symptoms will vary from person to person, but often include:

  • Pain with sex

  • Pain with using tampons

  • Pain with pap-smears

  • Pelvic or back pain

  • Difficulty emptying bladder or bowel (constipation)

  • Incontinence

  • Increased sensation of needing to urinate

 

Who is at risk of an over-active pelvic floor? 

People who tend to have a higher risk for an over-active pelvic floor include:

  • People with an overactive bladder, this is due to always needing to squeeze their pelvic floor to minimise leaking

  • Strong athletic women with strong outer core muscles

  • People with anxiety

  • Sedentary work/life style (poor posture can shorten the pelvic floor muscles)

  • Mouth/chest breathers

 

What is the treatment for an over-active pelvic floor?

Our initial treatment will always look at the way you breathe!

If you imagine your core and trunk muscles as a box, your pelvic floor is the base of your core with your transverse abdominus being the walls and your diaphragm muscle (breathing muscle) being the ceiling.

It is really important that all aspects of your core are working efficiently. If you are always breathing through your mouth, with a chest pattern of breathing the pelvic floor does not have a chance to relax.

Diaphragmatic breathing or “belly” breathing is essential as this allows the pelvic floor to descend and relax. 

 

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Can I still do pilates with an over-active pelvic floor?

Yes! However more focus should be on the strength of your muscles (not including your pelvic floor initially) therefore you should not actively contract your pelvic floor during initial pilates sessions. 

As symptoms decrease, we start to add in a graded strengthening program for you pelvic floor

Post Natal / Mums and Bubs Pilates Sutherland

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MUMS & BUBS PILATES | Monday & Thursday, 11:15am at Flow Physio Co Sutherland

Postnatal Pilates usually begins 6 weeks after the birth of your child.

Prior to commencing classes, we offer a 6 week postpartum check where we thoroughly examine the integrity of your pelvic floor and transverse abdominus (deep core muscle). We will also check for a Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation), wound check if you have had a Caesarean and a general assessment to ensure you are safe to return to exercise.

Following the 6 week check we recommend joining the Mums and Bubs Pilates class. This class has a maximum capacity of 2 people which allows room for you to bring your baby and allows the Physiotherapist to monitor you more closely. 

This session will be 50 minutes.



The Pelvic Floor - Women's Health Physio Sutherland

How much do you know about your pelvic floor?

Recent studies have shown that 20% of women asked to contract their pelvic floor are actually contracting the wrong muscles.

Your Pelvic floor is a group of muscles and fascia which run from the front to the back of your pelvis. These muscles provide support to the bladder, uterus and bowel. 

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These muscles need to be able to cope with the growing of your uterus (and baby) during pregnancy. They also need to be able to stretch significantly during labour to allow for the birth of your baby.

Postnatally, the pelvic floor muscles need to be strong enough to be able to return to normal function of supporting your organs in daily activities and with time, strong enough to return to more strenuous activities such has running.  

Need to talk to someone about your pelvic floor? 

 

CLINICAL PILATES - WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

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Pilates is a specific form of controlled exercise focusing on total body strength and movement.

Clinical Pilates differs from regular Pilates by having a trained Physiotherapist assess and prescribe specific exercises based on the individuals needs.

The exercises could be specifically to rehabilitate a certain injury or to work on a specific movement patterns and strength deficits.

Unlike a regular Pilates class Clinical Pilates is not a once size fits all approach, at Flow we have a boutique style equipment studio with 3-4 people per class allowing the Physiotherapist to monitor each persons individual program closely and progress as needed.