The Core Canister and the Pelvic Floor
Week 1 program
The Core CAnister
The core and pelvic floor, and the muscles that make it up, is often described using a canister as a visual. I really like this reference because it's pretty easy to picture.. but there's a handy photo to help you out also. The top is made up of the diaphragm - your breathing muscle; the front is the transversus abdominus - a deep inner core muscle that helps stabilize the pelvis, among other things; the back is made of the multifidus - spinal muscles; and at the bottom you've got the pelvic floor.
During regular breathing, as you inhale the diaphragm expands the TVA lengthens, and the pelvic floor relaxes. On exhale, the diaphragm contracts as well as the TVA and the pelvic floor. Similar to if you were to blow air into and out of a balloon.
THE CORE IS WORKING IN EVERYTHING WE DO, BUT SOMETIMES THE CANISTER GETS A BIT BENT OUT OF SHAPE
In pregnancy, things in the body are pushed all around and stretched out. As the belly expands, the top of the canister gets pushed up, the front gets stretched out, and the weight of the baby, fluid, and uterus put more pressure on the pelvic floor than usual. NONE of this is bad or abnormal! These are just a few reasons why we need to focus on retraining the muscles in the canister after such an event!
Understanding the Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor is a lot like a trampoline. It's bouncy and dynamic, and does a lot more than just hold things in. The pelvic floor plays a huge role in stabilization of the pelvis, and works together with the other muscles of the core canister to help you get from point A to point B, help you stay dry, and play an integral role in sexual function and pleasure. Just like muscles in the rest of the body, these muscles can be both tight and weak.
Sometimes "weak" pelvic floor muscles are blamed for symptoms that a hypertonic or "tight" pelvic floor can cause.
This is why the general recommendation of "kegeling" may not be appropriate for a lot of people. Continuing to strengthen an already tight muscle is like telling a toddler they can't do something, it just fuels the fire. In this program, I will teach you how to feel both contraction and relaxation of the pelvic floor and help you identify symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction and locate someone who can give you a diagnosis and proper guidance on what your individual body needs.
Core and Floor Connection breath
Relaxing vs bearing down
Types of Pelvic floor dysfunctions
Pelvic floor dysfunction includes more than just incontinence. PFD can also include:
-Pelvic Pain (SPD, SI Joint, Pelvic Girdle -Pain, and Painful Sex)
-Incontinence of any type, even the occasional sneeze-pee
-Pelvic Organ Prolapse
These are all things women often are told they have to "deal with" after becoming mothers. That is absolutely not the case. Lots of these things are common, but certainly not normal - and there is help out there.
Pelvic Floor physical therapy
EVERYONE SHOULD GO SEE A PELVIC FLOOR PHYSICAL THERAPIST POST-BIRTH, if they have access to one.
Even if you had an easy vaginal birth or a C-section, pelvic floors go through a number during pregnancy and birth. It is important to heal these muscles well, and having an assessment by a trained professional can speed along this healing process. They can help assess the function of your core and pelvic floor, properly assess and diagnose any possible prolapse, and if you had a C-section make sure your scar is healing well.
You can find a women’s health or pelvic floor physical therapist/physio near you HERE.