When it comes to training the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy and after birth, I’m here to tell you, things in the ‘downstairs’ department in recent years have most definitely changed.
I use a full-body approach to rehabilitating pelvic floor dysfunction and it all starts with the foot.
You can find out more about what techniques I use here.
When I see a new client with front or back bottom issues, the first thing I ask them to do as they enter my treatment room is take off their shoes.
The next thing I invariably say is:
“No, no, DON’T sit on the chair – I’ll explain why in a moment. For now, let’s pop you down here instead…”
…and I proffer her a Yoga bolster or big pile of firm cushions to sit on on the floor instead.
She’s generally confused. But compliant.
I then let her lead the next 5-10 minutes of conversation, where I gather information and note down any relevant history of her pelvic floor symptoms.
I listen. I write. I observe.
By the time the verbal health screening segment is over…
…I’ve already done a pretty thorough physical client assessment (with just my eyes).
And, remember, all she’s done is:
a) take off her shoes, and
b) sat on the floor.
Unbeknownst to my client…
….I’ve been busy observing my clients’ foot, leg, pelvic, breathing, upper body and neck mechanics.
She’s starting to become relaxed in my company now.
I’ve cracked a few jokes (winner winner chicken dinner).
I’ve built some rapport. I’ve instilled some trust.
She’s almost enjoying herself. (Ok, that might be stretching the truth a little.)
Depending on how long her symptoms have been evident, I’m realising I may be the first person who’s taken her seriously about her lady bits for a while.
Like the client who had her second baby 10 months ago, but had been suffering since her first baby was born…
…six years ago…(!).
You know that emoji with the bulgy horrified surprised eyes and elevated eyebrows?
I withheld that expression, and instead went for poker face instead.
So, it’s around about this point where you’re asking:
“Claire, why do you ask your clients to remove their shoes and sit on the floor?”
“Claire, seriously now – how can you honestly have made such an assessment in so little time?”
I’m like a ninja (but without the ninja shoes, although Vibrams fivefingers are pretty close, eh?).
I’ve already covertly glanced at her shoes (and written down ‘footwear education’ in my notes).
Well, I check to see if said shoes have a heel; how narrow fitting they are; and/or if they’re a shoe like a flip flop or ugg boot that makes the foot do far too much work to:
a) keep the damn contraption on the foot in the first place, and
b) doesn’t allow the foot to move through its natural range of motion.
Tension and tightness in the foot (through incorrect footwear) shows up as tightness and tension in the pelvic floor.
So, if her foot is immobile and the nerves that feed each teeny tiny little wiggly toe have been shut off for decades, well, that will affect how her feet, fibula, femur and fanny operate too .
And…all of the muscles that attach to dem bones, dem bones, dem, dry bones too (hear the word of the lord!).
Any heel, and I mean any heel on any shoe pitches your bodyweight forwards over the forefront of the foot.
So, now, the centre of mass (your pelvis) is NOT in the ankle where it should be, but it’s applying unnecessary load to – you guessed it – your already immobile forefoot and toes.
So, how’s your approach to pelvic floor rehab?
Do you assess foot mechanics at all when a client presents with incontinence, pelvic pain or prolapse?
If you’re doing NOT doing any of these things I listed relating to the foot when you’re assessing clients – they’re the ones missing out, eh?
This is the full-body approach.
I haven’t quite had time to talk about breathing, pelvic, upper body and neck mechanics, but stay tuned next week, because I’ll have more where that came from.https://training.clairemockridge.com/your-pelvic-matters/
I think you get the idea that it’s all connected!
It’s the body as a whole, functioning and/or dys-functioning unit we need to be looking at.
This is what my Your Pelvic Matters online Teacher Training program is all about.
It’s a very different approach, for a very different result.
It’s non-traditional sure, but I’ve had clients lessen the symptoms of their pelvic floor by simply by releasing tight muscles in their feet.
If you’ve been prescribing ‘squeeze and release’ and ‘draw up and hold’ exercises to clients and seeing very slow progress…
…maybe it’s time you changed your approach too?
The Your Pelvic Matters online exercise program is for exercise, fitness, movement, Yoga, Pilates, Personal Trainers, Physiotherapists, Chiropractors and Osteopaths already serving pregnant and postnatal women.
Not only will it address dysfunction in your clientshttps://training.clairemockridge.com/your-pelvic-matters/ – you’ll learn a tonne about your own body as you work through the materials.
Your Pelvic Matters is very much a program of discovery which will in turn improve your bedside manner dealing with clients with problems ‘down there’ because…
…you’ve been there and done all of the exercises yourself in the lead up to certification.
I look forward to taking you along this amazing journey so you too can have clients lessen their symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction in as little as 4 days!