The Connection Between Breathing and the Pelvic Floor
The diaphragm is a muscle that plays an important role in breathing. With every breath in, the diaphragm flexes and descends, and with every breath out, it relaxes and ascends.
Image by www.TheRespiratorySystem.com
The following may sound like an odd analogy, but stay with me!
You can think of it like a piston engine: the entire piston moves up and down as a harmonious unit in a push-pull manner, the same way the pelvic floor and diaphragm move together when we breath.
On the top of our body's "piston", we have the diaphragm, on the bottom is the pelvic floor, and the walls are your deep core muscles/multifidus. The pelvic floor ascends and descends in harmony with the diaphragm. This harmony is important for optimal pelvic floor and core health, and the ability to enjoy certain physical activities without pain or incontinence.
The diaphragm and pelvic floor balance can be disrupted by pregnancy, post partum, or if someone is in the habit of taking shallow breaths. During pregnancy, the baby grows, taking up more space in the abdomen. The reduced space can make it difficult for the diaphragm to ascend/descend, creating additional downward pressure towards the pelvic floor. The additional abdominal pressure can create problems like stress, urinary incontinence (leakage of urine during physical activity, sneezing, coughing, laughing, exercise etc.), pelvic organ prolapse (when one or more of the organs in the pelvis slip down from their normal position), and a weak core, which could lead to low back pain and difficulty during many different everyday movements (bending, twisting, lifting, balance, etc.).
If you're experiencing incontinence or prolapse, we can help.
Your pelvic health physiotherapist can teach you how to re-establish the dynamic, harmonious quality of this system, allowing you to protect your core and pelvic floor during pregnancy, post partum and beyond.
Please reach out with any questions, or click here to book with Subha Velusamy, Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist at Energize Health!
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