Incontinence physio

Pelvic Floor introduction

Written by: Brittany Johnstone

Physiotherapists will often talk to you about your pelvic floor and its importance to your core. If we think about our core as a cylinder we have the deep abdominal muscles which wrap around the cylinder, our deep back muscles which support from behind, our diaphragm on top and then our pelvic floor muscles which yes are essentially the base.

The role of our pelvic floor muscles are:

  • Urinary and faecal continence: The muscle fibres control the actions which allow controlled passing of faeces and urine.
  • Resistance to increasing intrabdominal pressure during daily activities including coughing or lifting objects.
  • Supporting the pelvic organs ie. bladder and bowel.

The pelvic floor is a ‘sling’ of muscles, a bit like a small muscle hammock that runs between the pubic bone in the front, and the tailbone at the back

Thank you for the Continence Foundation of Australia for the use of this image

Throughout your life you pelvic floor can be faced with different stresses that may cause it to become weaker, unable to relax or too relaxed. Whilst the pelvic floor is significant in women especially pre and postnatal it is also a very important structure of the male anatomy and special attention is needed if there have been any prostate surgeries.

Common cues utilised for teaching control of the pelvic floor:

  • Thinking about stopping the flow of urine mid-stream (this helps to contract the pelvic floor and can be a means for strengthening)
  • Thinking of your pelvic floor as an elevator and you are slowly going down the levels until you reach ground and then basement (a cue for relaxing the muscles)

Your physiotherapist can help you determine if you need to increase your pelvic floor strength with targeted exercises, relaxing or contracting the muscles or if you have the sufficient control required for a healthy pelvic floor. 

If you or anyone you know of is experiencing symptoms of muscle, joint or possible nerve irritation please contact us. We can determine if it is a musculoskeletal issue before having to see a GP. We are open 5 days a week and a couple Saturdays a month. We have early and late appointments available. Please call us at 1300 842 850 or Click here to book an appointment.

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