When we think of things that cause pelvic floor issues, we mostly think of pregnancy & childbirth. However, there is a good chance that during your day, there is something that you are currently doing that is hindering your pelvic floor muscles’ ability to work the way that they should. These long term bad habits can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction.
These poor habits may include: improper posture & alignment while using your phone, the amount of sitting and inactivity during your day, improper shoewear causing impaired posture, and tight or form fitting clothes. We would like to provide a little knowledge to help you change these habits so they do not create a bigger issue down the road. Improving your awareness and understanding of these mistakes can play a big role in preventing pelvic floor dysfunction.
Poor Alignment During Phone Use
Think of the posture that most people use while texting or scrolling on their phone: their chin is down, shoulders are rounded forward, and the neck and mid back are slouched. This causes a posterior tilt of the pelvis, shortening of the anterior trunk muscles, and lengthening of the spinal muscles. This posturing does not allow the pelvic floor muscles to work properly, essentially turning them off. This slouched position puts direct pressure onto your tailbone and passively shortens the pelvic floor muscles. Prolonged shortening of these muscles can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction.
Ideally in standing, your weight should be mostly in your heels, your knees soft or slightly bent, your ribcage stacked over your pelvis, and your ears in line with your shoulders. Elevate your phone so that you don’t have to slouch down to see the screen.
Sitting: ensure that you keep your weight OFF your tailbone and ON your sit bones or ischial tuberosities.Your ribcage should be stacked on top of your pelvis and ears in line with your shoulders.
Large Amounts of Sitting & Inactivity
Fixing your posture is a great start to decreasing risk of pelvic floor dysfunction. Our bodies are constantly adapting to demands we place on it. To be strong, healthy and functional, our pelvic floor muscles (and our entire body) require frequent movement in a variety of ways throughout the day to appropriately load and train the muscles. When possible, take standing or movement breaks throughout your day, especially if you have a job that requires prolonged sitting. Utilize a standing desk intermittently throughout the day. Try exercising before work, walking to work, or walking or exercising during your lunch break.
Wearing Improper Shoes
Good pelvic health and posture starts at the feet. Most of us know that high heeled shoes negatively impact our posture. You body compensates elsewhere for the abnormal degree of plantarflexion that high heeled shoes cause. Most often this compensation results in bending at the knees and a rear end that is tucked under. This posterior pelvic tilt puts the pelvic floor muscles and glutes at a disadvantage; they cannot respond to the loads being placed on them, even from just standing and walking, and this can lead to unwanted symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. Swap out your higher heeled shoes for a lower heel, and gradually transition to a flat shoe with a wide toe box.
Wearing Tight Fitting Clothing
External pressure and compression from clothing, particularly around the abdomen and waist can have a big negative effect on the function of the pelvic floor muscles. In the same way that constantly clenching your stomach muscles can create pelvic floor dysfunction, so too will tight jeans, skirts, abdominal binders, belts, and corsets. This can create abnormal breathing patterns and pressure distribution in the core cannister, potentially leading to bladder and bowel problems, prolapse, and pain.
Choose to wear clothing that allows you to move and breathe easily!
Interested in Pelvic Floor Therapy? We see men and women in the Birmingham, AL, region. Our clinic is located in Hoover, AL, near the Galleria. Contact us to schedule!