Each month we’ll bring you a note from one of our therapists. It might be something they’re reading, learning or just something they want to share.
This month’s note is from Kerri Hardy, PT, DPT:
The pelvic floor is part of your core!
Everyone seems to know that they need to work on their core strength and there are many reasons we need a strong core. Some people want to slim their tummy, or have good posture, or help their back, or help with balance, or do sports or other activities. But what do we mean by core muscles? Most people think of their abdominals when they think core. But it’s more extensive than that.
Our core refers to most of the muscles in our trunk. With four layers of abdominals, these muscles are indeed very important support structures. Equally important are your back muscles which help keep the spine straight and stable.
Now, think of your core like a canister. The abdominals and back muscles form the sides. Unfortunately working those muscles alone only strengthens part of the canister. To truly work your core properly, we need to also train your diaphragm (the top of the canister) and the pelvic floor (the bottom of the canister). You may wonder why your therapist is spending time teaching you to breathe while in your session, but coordinating your diaphragm with the core helps to stabilize the pressures in the core.
And, speaking of pressures…If we ignore the floor of our canister and only work or squeeze the muscles from above we have a pressure imbalance and can have trouble with our pelvic floors. Visualize a tube of toothpaste. If we only squeeze from the middle or top and don’t have any help from the bottom (if we’ve removed the cap from the tube)… that pressure can push everything out! That’s when we can get leaking or prolapse, things we definitely want to avoid. Think about this while doing any kind of lifting around the house or with exercises…and especially with any kinds of abdominal exercises.
If you need help with putting that cap on the tube of toothpaste… I mean balancing pressures in your abdomen to prevent leaks or prolapse, give us a call at Core! We can help.