Many people with pelvic or low back pain have pelvic floor dysfunction. The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that attach to the front, back, and sides of the pelvic bone and sacrum. They are like a hammock, and support the crucial internal structures, such as the bladder, urethra, and vagina.
What are the symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
In general, pelvic floor dysfunction can be subdivided into two types:
- Hypertonic Pelvic Floor: This is the most common type of dysfunction, occuring when the muscles are too tight. This can contribute to:
- Urinary frequency, urgency, hesitancy, stopping and starting the flow of urine, and incomplete emptying
- Constipation or pain during bowel movements
- Unexplained pain in your low back, pelvic region, hips, or genital area
- Uncoordinated muscle contractions causing the pelvic floor muscles to spasm
- Hypotonic Pelvic Floor: Weak pelvic floor muscles can also contribute to a variety of conditions. These muscles must undergo a structured strengthening program to regain proper functioning. The most common symptoms of hypotonicity include urinary and fecal incontinence and organ prolapse.
What does treatment include?
Pelvic floor dysfunction is diagnosed by a specially trained physiotherapist by using external and internal manual techniques to evaluate the function of the pelvic floor muscles. Treatment may include trigger point release, muscle relaxation techniques, stretches, and retraining the pelvic floor to increase strength.