Head, shoulders, knees, and pelvic floor?! Where is that? Believe it or not-- females, males; we all have a pelvic floor. The pelvic floor consists of the muscles that span across the base of the pelvic bowl, from the pubic bone on the front side of the pelvis to the coccyx (tailbone) on the back side of the pelvis, and between the two sit bones (ischial tuberosities). Like a trampoline, the pelvic floor can move up and down when the muscles contract or relax.
These pelvic floor muscles have many important functions including:
During movement and lifting, the pelvic floor muscles must be able to contract (lift) as well as relax in order to work optimally as part of the core with the deep abdominal muscles, deep back muscles and diaphragm (breathing muscle).
Signs and symptoms of a pelvic floor problem may include:
You may be at increased risk for pelvic floor dysfunction if you:
If you have signs and symptoms of a pelvic floor condition or are in one of the at-risk groups listed above, it is important to avoid extra strain on your pelvic floor when exercising and during daily activities. It is especially important to rebuild pelvic floor muscle control safely and incrementally prior to returning to higher level abdominal and impact exercises if you are pregnant, postpartum, or have had a recent gynecological surgery.
A pelvic floor physical therapist is trained in the rehabilitation of the musculoskeletal system including the pelvic floor muscles, as well as additional training in internal evaluation and treatment. Your pelvic floor PT at LiveWell CNY Physical Therapy can help design a specific exercise program for you while being mindful of protecting the pelvic floor.
Pelvic Floor Muscles. Continence Foundation of Australia. Retrieved from https://www.continence.org.au/pages/how-do-pelvic-floor-muscles-help.html
Dr. Julie Berube is a pelvic floor physical therapist who is on a mission to revolutionize the standard of healthcare for women in Central New York and the Syracuse area.