In the first few sessions with a pelvic PT, many people who learn that their urinary urgency and frequency, their pelvic organ prolapse, or their pelvic pain, is due to pelvic floor dysfunction, also learn that the pattern of breathing that they spend most of their time in is not making the job any easier for the pelvic floor. Your diaphragm may be giving your pelvic floor the wrong message, and healthy patterns need to be trained in all parts of the core together. Yes, you heard that correctly – your diaphragm is part of your core too, along with your pelvic floor. Together, the respiratory diaphragm, pelvic floor (a.k.a. pelvic diaphragm!), the deep lower abdominals, deep lower back muscles, and deep hip rotators, not only work to stabilize the center of your body to allow for movement, they manage pressure inside your abdominal cavity. You never want this pressure to be too great for too long – or something will have to give – and you don’t want it released in a direction that you didn’t intend when you didn’t mean to release it! And you thought your core was all about “abs”!
You are starting to realize, that the type of exercises that you will be learning through your course of PT with a pelvic specialist, will be different from what you may have done in PT for your shoulder or knee. They are subtle, and will challenge your body awareness more than anything. Realize that you are engaging in a new PRACTICE more than a set of repetitions of a movement that you can just toss off or check off as “completed”. This is why I emphasize quality over quantity, and mostly tell you to practice for a few minutes rather than counting repetitions, so that you can focus on what you’re feeling. Learning to be aware of what is happening in your body at this level may take some time to grasp, but remember that you are benefitting even before you’re doing them perfectly.
Did this resonate with you? Have you no idea what I’m talking about? Leave a question or comment below, or contact me directly and I’ll be glad to discuss.
By the way, your body thanks you for what you are doing!
Helping health-oriented people overcome pelvic health problems, and live the life you love!
Deborah S. Cohen
Specialist Pelvic Health Physical Therapist