Pelvic Floor Muscles– The pelvic floor is formed by the piriformis muscle at the back of the pelvis, obturator internus muscle on the sides, and levator ani muscle at the base of the pelvis. The pelvic floor supports the visceral and pelvic organs. Along with the core muscles, they help in stabilizing the spine. The relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles is essential for the bladder and bowel to perform their functions and sexual functions.
What is Hypertonic Pelvic Floor?
When the pelvic floor muscles become tense or tight due to increased tone and are non-relaxing, it is known as the hypertonic pelvic floor. As a result, pelvic floor muscles become tired and go into spasms. It has an insidious onset. Hypertonic pelvic floor further leads to following-
- Pelvic pain,
- Urinary urgency,
- Urinary frequency,
- Painful sex,
- Levator ani syndrome,
- Outlet dysfunction,
- Straining with bowel movements, and
The pain is also felt in the lower back, coccyx, or hips. The hypertonic pelvic floor is also known as the Overactive Pelvic Floor.
Causes Of Hypertonic Pelvic Floor–
- Pelvic floor injury from trauma or surgery.
- Pelvic infection or inflammation.
- Post Pelvic Surgery
- Habitual patterns of holding urine.
- Chronic Urinary Tract Infection(UTI), Endometriosis, Fibroids, Pudendal neuralgia, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
- High levels of stress and anxiety.
Exercises For Hypertonic Pelvic Floor
- Diaphragmatic Breathing- lt helps in activating abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. It is also known as belly breathing. Lie down on your back with your knees bent. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Place hands on your abdomen, one on top of the other, just below your rib cage. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose and feel your belly rise into your hands. Then slowly breathe out through pursed lips and feel your belly falling back to the starting position. Repeat 5-10 times, thrice a day. You can do this breathing exercise in a sitting too.
- Hip Adductor Stretching– Lie down on your back with a pillow under your lower back. Bend your knees and let them roll outward so that the soles of the feet are touching each other. This position opens up the hips. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds, repeat three times.
- Child Pose of Yoga-Get down on your hands and knees on the floor, with knees just under the hips. From this position, sit on your heels, and then outstretch your arms with hands and forearms touching the ground. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat three times.
- Happy Baby Pose-Lie down on the floor with your knees bent. Now lift your feet and grab the big toes. Open up your knees a little and gently rock from side to side.
- Cat and Cow Stretch-Go on to your hands and knees, keeping your shoulders over your hands and your knees spaced hip-width apart. Tighten your abdominal muscles and arch your spine upward toward the ceiling, hold for 10 seconds, relax and then hollow your back, hold for 10 seconds and repeat five times.
- Piriformis Stretch- Lie on your back. Bend your one leg at the knee so that your foot is flat on the floor. Cross your other leg with the ankle resting on the bent knee. Use your hands to grab hold of your bent knee and pull it gently toward the opposite shoulder. You should feel the stretch in your buttocks and hips. Hold this stretch for ten seconds, repeat five times.
Creating awareness about the hypertonic pelvic floor is essential. Patients need to understand the structure and functions of the pelvic floor. Pelvic floor therapist specializes in dealing with dysfunctions of the pelvic floor. In addition to exercises, manual therapy techniques like myofascial release and soft tissue massage are crucial for pelvic floor dysfunction. Biofeedback is also helpful to treat the Hypertonic pelvic floor.
STAY INFORMED! STAY HEALTHY!