Our pelvic floor muscles are prone to dysfunction, particularly as we age. These muscles, which stretch from the pubic bone to the tailbone, work hard to support the bowel, bladder, and uterus. However, there are lots of factors that can work against them, such as lifting too much weight, forcing too much while on the toilet, chronic coughing, performing high-impact exercise, gaining weight, giving birth, or simply getting older.
If you are experiencing any type of pelvic floor disorder, pelvic floor therapy can help you restore normal function. Much like traditional physical therapy, this involves working with a therapist to perform movements aimed at speeding recovery. However, you will also be instructed to perform certain movements and exercises at home.
Exercises For Pelvic Floor Therapy At Home
Before you begin any pelvic floor exercise routine, it is best to check with your doctor or physical therapist to make sure you are performing the right movements. With that in mind, here is a rundown of the types of exercises you may be advised to perform by your pelvic floor therapist.
The first exercise you can try involves lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. From this position, you need to lift your knees toward your chest. To do this, you should place your hands behind both of your knees and draw them to your chest while separating them. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat two more times.
The next move also begins with you lying on your back with your knees bent. Cross the ankle of the leg you are going to stretch over the opposite knee and then put your arm around your thigh. Bring the thigh toward your stomach until you can feel stretching in your buttocks. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat twice before moving on to perform the entire stretch on the other side.
For the next exercise, get into a crawling position and push your bottom toward your feet with your head resting against the floor and your arms extended forward. Keep your hands on the floor and inhale, allowing your pelvic floor muscles to stretch. This stretch should be held for two to three minutes.
The next movement begins in a seated position. Sit with one leg bent toward your chest and crossed across the opposite leg. Then, using your arm, pull the bent knee toward the opposite shoulder. Be sure to keep your back straight throughout the movement; you should feel stretching behind your thigh as well as in your buttocks. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat it three times. Then, repeat all of the steps with the other side of your body. This stretch should be done three to four times per day.
For the next move, you need to lie face down. Push yourself up with both of your hands positioned at shoulder height, straightening your elbows, and lifting your upper trunk until you notice a stretching feeling in your abdomen. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds, making sure your legs and pelvis remain relaxed throughout the movement, and then repeat three times.
The next move should be performed lying down on a firm bed or a table. Lie on your back with your legs dangling over the side and place your hands behind one knee and draw it toward your chest. While you are pulling the knee inward, stretch your opposite leg toward the floor. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat two more times. Then, perform the same movements on the other side.
For the next move, stand up with your legs astride and straight. Then, bend one of your legs and put your hands on the knee of the bent leg. Continue to bend, placing weight on the leg until you feel stretching inside your thigh and on the straight leg. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat two times before moving on to stretch the other leg.
Another important exercise your physical therapist may recommend for pelvic floor therapy at home is diaphragm breathing. To do this, lie down on your back on a firm bed or table with your knees bent and both of your hands resting on the upper part of your stomach.
Breathe in slowly through your nose and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Every time you inhale, the hands on your stomach should rise; each time you exhale, your hands should go down. Practice this three times per day for five minutes at a time.
Get In Touch With Raleigh Gynecology & Wellness
Pelvic floor dysfunction can be a frustrating problem, but pelvic floor therapy is highly effective for many women. To find out more about pelvic floor therapy at home and the right treatment options to help you restore normal function, make an appointment today with the women’s healthcare team at Raleigh Gynecology & Wellness.