5 Things You May Be Doing That Aren’t Great for Your Pelvic Floor

Your pelvic floor is a set of muscles that make up the base of the pelvis. It functions to control bowel and bladder, add stability to the spine, and support the organs (among many other functions).  Both sexes have a pelvic floor, however they obviously look a little different between male and female. I focus only on Women’s Health, so for the purpose of this blog post – we will only focus on the female pelvic floor! It needs a lot of attention, however you could definitely be taking your self-care too far. So, lets delve into 5 things you may be doing that could be causing harm to your pelvic floor!

1. Using “Feminine Cleansing” Products

The vagina was designed to take care of itself without the assistance of perfumes, washes, or douches. The tissue can maintain it’s own pH levels, hydration, and bacterial levels – which is why some discharge from the vagina is totally normal! Large, copious amounts of discharge, colored discharge, or foul smelling discharge are signs of an issue going on – and are reasons to visit your doctor. And these symptoms can be brought on by using products that your vagina didn’t need. Water and mild soaps are fine, however strongly perfumed products can be irritating to the vaginal (internal and external tissues).

2. Using a Menstrual Pad for Urinary Incontinence

They’re MENSTRUAL pads for a reason, not incontinence pads! The vulva (or the external tissues of the vagina) can be irritated by pads, causing irritation, redness, and discomfort. If you’re experiencing incontinence, this is a reason to see a doctor – and definitely a pelvic floor physical therapist! Regardless of the number of children you’ve had, you should not leak with any motion. And strengthening/mobilizing the tissues of the pelvic floor and surrounding hips can definitely help to stop the leakage.

3. Tolerating Painful Sex

Pain during sex is not “normal.” One of the 5 functions of the pelvic floor is sexual appreciation, or the ability to participate in and enjoy sex. Studies have shown that the stronger the pelvic floor, the better the sex. Pain with sex can be caused by irritation of the vaginal tissues, dysfunction within the muscles, and hormonal changes. It’s a reason to talk to your doctor and seek out a pelvic floor physical therapist!

4. Not Drinking Enough Water

Water intake directly affects the function of the bladder and the bowels. Adequate hydration is required for normal bowel function, which helps eliminates wastes – but has also been implicated with pelvic pain. The Mayo Clinic recommends that women drink 11.5 cups of water/day. This recommendation changes with levels/intensity of exercise, health, pregnancy, and breast feeding. For more information on this, visit the Mayo Clinic website (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256).

5. “Hover Peeing” In a Public Restroom

I know…sometimes public restrooms are definitely gross; but squatting is not the answer! To allow the release of urine from the bladder, the pelvic floor has to be able to relax. In a 90 deg squatting position, the pelvic floor will be active (and attempting to hold urine). So, squatting and attempting to urinate will cause a confusing disconnect in the sphincter (or control) muscles of the pelvic floor. So, rather than squatting – use the toilet covers or make your own out of toilet paper. Save your squats for the gym!

One Final Note:

These suggestions are obviously not all encompassing. There are situations where one of these MAY be the right answer for you. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out; either to myself or to a pelvic floor physical therapist in your area. You should never feel embarrassed about any questions you have regarding your vagina or pelvic floor – we all have one!

Dr Tristan Faile, PT, DPT, OCS

Pelvic Floor

What combination of muscles is the most active during all activities of daily living, yet tends to be the most neglected or misunderstood? The CORE! Your core is made up of 4 major muscles/muscle groups: possibly the most forgotten of which is the group of muscles that make up the Pelvic Floor.

 

The pelvic floor serves 5 purposes. It stabilizes the lower portion of the core – assisting with stabilization of the LE and the spine. It supports the organs, keeping them from falling with gravity. It helps with drainage of blood/lymph from the legs. It provides control of bowels and bladder – allowing you to either hold or empty. And it is vitally important in sexual appreciation – either allowing or improving the sexual experience.

 

So, what happens if the pelvic floor isn’t functioning correctly? Keeping in the order used above – the pelvic floor functions to stabilize the body/spine. Without it, your body will have to depend on other structures to assist in stabilization. If you ask a muscle that typically would only fire with quick motions to begin firing for a majority of the day…it can lead to pain or dysfunction of that muscle group. This is similar to asking a sprinter to participate in a marathon – without the proper training, that sprinter may not be able to adequately adapt. The pelvic floor supports the organs – instead of the strong hammock that should be the pelvic floor muscles, there’s an inside out tent. This can lead to organ prolapse. The muscles making up the pelvic floor assist in helping move out fluid from the legs back to the heart. Without this function, there could be fluid build-up or swelling in the legs. The pelvic floor assists in maintaining bowel and bladder function. Without the proper control of the bladder, you may feel you need to urinate more frequently – or you may notice that you have a hard time making it to the restroom on time. You could feel that you’re not emptying your bladder all the way or you leak with sneezing, coughing, jumping, squatting, or running. Or it’s possible that you notice you’ve had some urine leakage you weren’t aware of. Very similar issues occur without proper bowel control – including constipation, difficulty with bowel movements, or having a bowel movement without realizing it. The final function of the pelvic floor is sexual appreciation. It is the ability to have sex or engage in any sexual activity. It is not normal for a woman to have pain with sex, nor is it something any female should have to endure. Also, has been proven in the research that individuals who have a strong pelvic floor have better sex overall.

 

So, what if any of these (not exhaustive examples) of dysfunction of the pelvic floor applies to you? Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy can help. It can assist in relaxing the pelvic floor, decreasing pelvic pain, reducing an organ prolapse by at least 1 grade, decrease or eliminate urine leakage, and improve overall quality of life. If you’re reading this blog thinking about yourself – reach out! I’m happy to answer any questions or assist in finding a Pelvic Floor therapist in your state!

 

-Dr. Tristan Faile

 

PBFR Monthly Membership

Vertex PT Specialists is proud to offer Personalized Blood Flow Restriction (PBFR) via the FDA approved Delfi Personalized Tourniquet System (PTS).

We currently have 5 spots available for PBFR monthly memberships at a rate of $50/month.

Your monthly membership includes:

  • Screening to ensure you are appropriate and have no contraindications to use the Delfi PTS
  • Training on operating the Delfi PTS for upper and lower extremity exercise protocols
  • Training on the evidenced based strength, endurance, and cell swelling PBFR protocols

Upon completion of initial training, your membership will allow you to come in and use the Delfi PTS 3 days per week during regular office hours at our Millwood location only.  Please note, PBFR is already included as part of the rehabilitation process, therefore you do not have to be an established patient to sign up for a membership.

In addition to being a powerful tool to improve and enhance the recovery of our patients, the Delfi PTS is also scientifically proven to increase strength and hypertrophy at very light loads (20% of 1 rep max).  This means that an athlete can make considerable gains without causing muscle damage, making the PTS perfect to use as a supplementary tool and/or on rest days.  More info on this topic can be found at vertexpt.com/pbfr.  For well-trained endurance athletes, PBFR has been shown to increase VO2 max by 11.6% in as little as 2 weeks!

If you’d like to sign up for a membership, or need more information on personalized blood flow restriction, please email us at info@vertexpt.com or call us at 803.851.3506.

 

 

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TMJ Dysfunction Case Study

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Case Study

14 year old male baseball player presented to Vertex with a chief complaint of left sided jaw pain that occurred after being hit on the chin by a ground ball at practice.  Additionally, he complains of his jaw “locking” and “clicking” with end range mouth opening, specifically while eating.

Clinical Exam:

Palpable Click with opening and 25mm left mandibular deviation (ipsilateral)

Apical breathing pattern

Decreased left upper cervical rotation (+ left cervical flexion rotation test)

Tenderness to palpation left masseter and left medial pterygoid with patient reported familiar pain

 

Treatment:

HVLAT directed to bilateral C1/C2 with + cavitations.

Upper and mid thoracic HVLAT

DN with electrical stimulation to left masseter, medial pterygoid, and joint capsule.

Manual TMJ distraction

Home Exercise Program:

Cervical SNAGs, cervical retraction with over-pressure applied to maxilla, postural resets, diaphragmatic breathing

Patient Education:

Postural considerations; specifically with school and smart phone use consisting of spending less time in forward head posture in order to minimize mandibular retraction.

Result:

Chief complaint of “click” and “locking” resolved within session. 25mm deviation reduced to <5mm.  Patient followed up 6 weeks later and maintained treatment effect.

Biering-Sorensen Test

 

The Biering-Sorensen test is used for evaluating the isometric endurance of the hip and back extensor muscles. It is a great tool for predicting if a patient/client is at risk for nonspecific lower back pain. This can also act as an important training tool before someone begins a program that involves deadlifting. The two things that you will need for this test are a timer and a GHD machine, which can be found in most gyms. Begin by having the person being tested get on the GHD machine in a horizontal prone position with their arms crossed over the chest, chin tucked, and the upper edge of the iliac crest on the pad. Make sure the person contracts their glutes and abdominal muscles to help maintain a neutral spine. Once they are in this full position, start the timer and see how long they can hold it. Stop the timer and end the test if the shoulders drop, they no longer can hold the position, or when 240s (4min) has been reached. Refer to the table below to see what category they fall in.

– Jeff Spraker

 

Males Females
Healthy 198s 197s
Prior Low Back Pain 176s 210s
Current Low Back Pain 163s 177s

 

Demoulin, C., Vanderthommen, M., Duysens, C., & Crielaard, J. M. (2006). Spinal muscle evaluation using the Sorensen test: a critical appraisal of the literature. Joint Bone Spine73(1), 43-50.

Join Vertex’s 2017 MuckFest Team!

 

Join Vertex and Run with a Purpose

What?       

MuckFest MS, a 5km Obstacle Course Race (OCR) with over 17 obstacles.

Visit www.MuckFestMS.com for more info.

Where?

Concord Speedway

7940 U.S. Hwy 601 South

Concord, NC 28025 (Less than 2 hours from Vertex)

When?

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Why?

The “MS” part of MuckFest MS stands for multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million worldwide. This is the reason we come together—to rally friends in support of people living with MS in our community.

How Can I Help?

Run, Volunteer, or Donate (or all three!) today.  100% of all donations go directly to the National MS Society, providing research towards treatment, prevention, and a cure for MS.

 

Contact: Dr. Reed Handlery at reed@VertexPT.com

 

You can join or donate by visiting:
main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/Vertex

 

2017 CrossFit Open

Good Luck to all of our friends and patients who are competing in the Open starting this week!