Chiropractic care is something that many people hear about. But all too often, the idea gets pushed to the side for more conventional forms of medicine that don’t always work and leave us feeling defeated. Here today to discuss how chiropractic care can help with your pelvic floor is our friend and Chiropractor, Dr. Brent Wells. With more than 20 years of experience and raving reviews from thousands of patients, he founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab. He offers his clients long-lasting relief through chiropractic care, physical rehab therapy, and massage therapy. Take it away, Doc!
For women, the pelvic floor can go through serious trauma during childbirth. After delivering babies, some women suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction and turn to a variety of health care providers for relief.
While pelvic floor problems are usually connected to postnatal women, the problem is not unique to them. Young women, like athletes, can also have problems with their pelvic floor.
Problems relating to pelvic floor dysfunction include pain, stress incontinence, sexual discomfort, and organ prolapse. These problems can be debilitating. Having issues with the pelvic floor is a reason to see a chiropractor to find relief.
What Is The Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor is the area of the body at the bottom of the pelvis. It is like a hammock or a large sheet of muscle, but made of muscles that support the organs in the pelvis. Ideally, the pelvic floor is a part of the body that women and men do not think about, because it does its job without problems. But, like other muscles, the muscles can become damaged from excessive stretching.
When women give birth, their pelvic floor stretches and contracts. Ideally, it returns to its original shape, but like other parts of the body that are rehabilitated, they become weak and can fail when needed the most. Since the pelvic floor is muscular, it can be rehabilitated and chiropractors can help.
Types Of Pelvic Dysfunction
The pelvic floor has more than muscles. It includes ligaments, fascia, neurons, and veins within the pelvic rim. There are two categories of pelvic floor problems: High-Tone and Low-Tone.
The low-tone problems usually result in problems with the urinary and excretory systems. Incontinence becomes the result, which is where Lily Bird comes in to save the day. Low-tone problems are not painful; instead, they can be embarrassing and time-consuming. With a high-tone problem, the issue is pain from spasms in the pelvic floor. Many women have a combination of both high and low-tone problems.
According to research, approximately 80% of women have something wrong with their pelvic floor.
What Can Chiropractors Do To Help?
Chiropractors have several techniques to help women improve the quality of their pelvic floor muscles. First, chiropractors have to diagnose the problem, then they need to design a plan to treat the area so women can regain proper function. Their treatment programs include adjustments, releases, muscle strengthening, and postural remedies.
A common treatment for pelvic floor dysfunction is hands-on adjustment. Rather than focusing on the spine, chiropractors turn to the pubic symphysis and sacroiliac joints. Adjusting this area takes a few complicated movements by the chiropractor and the patient. The adjustment includes:
- Flexing the knee and bending it toward the chest
- Positioning the bottom shoulder forward to stretch the low back
- Applying pressure on the sacroiliac joint while tractioning the upper shoulder
- Using the pressure in the lumbar spine to make a quick, thrusting adjustment
Note: Patients might hear a crack when the adjustment occurs which is completely normal.
Some chiropractors might use a technique that includes gravity traction blocks. For this type of treatment, the patient lies prone (on their stomach) with the blocks under the body. Then, the chiropractor moves the sacroiliac joint using gravity rather than force.
Chiropractors also use a chiropractic table that can drop quickly to provide an adjustment. The chiropractor arranges the body so the sacroiliac joint and the public symphysis are moved through gravity. The quick drop from the table, along with the weight of the body help this adjustment happen.
Chiropractors also use a leg-traction technique. This type of adjustment involves the patient taking deep breaths while the chiropractor pulls on the affected leg. The angle of the leg is what affects the adjustment.
Evaluating While Treating With Chiropractic Care
Chiropractors evaluate their patients during their treatment programs. They look at how the hip and core keep the pelvic floor from failing. They also look at how the nerves behave as they move through the lumbar and sacral areas.
Chiropractors use motion sensors to activate the nerves that control the pelvic muscles. The goal is to get the entire area to behave normally, so women no longer have to worry about incontinence, organ prolapse, or pain.
Maintaining Effective Muscles With Chiropractic Care
To get the pelvic floor muscles to continue functioning properly, they have to take control of their own health care. While at home, they have to do stretching and strengthening exercises. Some they can do on their own; others require the help of a partner.
Women also need to pay attention to how they sleep and sit. They often need to use a special pillow for support while sleeping and a supportive pillow or orthotic while sitting and driving. To keep the muscles from overstretching, women also have to ice their pelvic floor on a schedule set by their health care provider.
One of the most commonly prescribed exercises for women is called “stopping the flow.” This is an exercise that women can do at any time. To do the exercise, women engage their pelvic muscles as if they are stopping the flow of urine. This exercise is also called a Kegel, named for Dr. Arnold Kegel who developed the exercise. Ideally, women should engage their pelvic floor muscle for five seconds, then release for five seconds. Repeating several times. If recommended, they can follow a series of exercises with ice.
Other commonly prescribed exercises include stretches like bridge pose and strengthening exercises like squats. These basic exercises engage the core as well as the pelvic floor for added support.
While you’re doing your exercises, be sure to tell your bladder who’s boss with Lily Bird pads and underwear for bladder leaks, delivered discreetly to your door.
By Dr. Brent Wells