The pelvic floor is a group of muscles located at the lower part of the pelvis. Together they form a floor-like structure and provide support for internal organs. Some pelvic muscles also aid in elimination of waste from the bladder and colon. A large majority of Americans enter adulthood with weak pelvic floors. However, many don’t notice the symptoms until later in life. An even bigger problem is that they are not aware of what is causing them and often go undiagnosed or seek unrelated treatments to address the symptoms rather than the cause.
Pregnancy can increase pelvic floor stress with the increasing weight of a growing fetus. Add to that an increased blood volume, highly active digestive tract which in most cases processes more food to nourish both mother and baby. Unfortunately, women are not taught to strengthen their pelvic muscles. As a result, the increased pressure of childbirth on the pelvic floor can result in problems such as bladder control issues and low back problems. Many women experience challenges in holding their urine even when they have only small quantities. Kegels are a good start, But building a strong pelvic floor can be like putting a second lock on the door. Who doesn't want to maintain control of their bladder?
Pelvic floor weakness occurs in males as well. They also can experience the bladder control issues associated with a weak pelvic floor. Another common occurrence is the back injury that occurs when picking up objects -regardless of its weight. A study by Bush et al found that low back pain affects up to 70-80% of the population at least once during their lifetime.
The "big belly" appearance of a distended abdomen can also add to the strain of a weak pelvic floor. Increased stress from the weight of the belly puts additional strain on the lower back. A strong pelvic floor can help to relieve the added pressure. Although the pelvic floor is not visible like the ever so popular rectus abdomens commonly known as the "six pack" muscle, it holds far more importance than it gets credit for.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction may include:
Lifting heavy weight increases the pressure on the pelvic floor. However, a strong pelvic floor can provide proper support for lifting heavy weights. An exercise program that includes strengthening the pelvic floor may help to significantly decrease low back pain. It may also help to improve bladder control thereby minimizing leakage. At Specialty Fitness we help our clients to strengthen their pelvic floor which also leads to improved balance and posture. Contact us at (914) 665-2084 to learn more.
1. Bush HM, Kuperstein J, Guo J, Ballert KN, Crofford LJ. The association of Chronic Back Pain and Stress Urinary Incontinnence: A Cross-Sectional Study. J Womens Health Phys Therap. 2013;37 (1):11-18.
2. https://my.clevelandclinic.org › health › diseases › 14459-pelvic-floor-dysfunction
Using over 20 years of experience in healthcare, research and fitness, Sonya teaches her clients to use movements that aid them in improving their health. She is best known for helping them get results they can see and feel in less time.