Exercises and Self Help for a Tight Pelvic Floor
So you have been diagnosed with having a tight or hypertonic pelvic floor and are looking for exercises and self help advice.
We are here to support you.
If you suspect overactive pelvic floor, we encourage you to seek an appointment with a health care practitioner to formalise a diagnosis.
This can confirm your suspicions and rule out any other possible medical conditions that may be contributing to your complaint.
A great place to start with calming your pelvic floor muscles down and allowing them to relax and find ease is to start with some abdominal breathing exercises.
Abdominal / Diaphragmatic Breathing
Lay down in a comfortable position with your knees bent and your back flat on the floor.
Gently place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
Slowly inhale and feel your abdomen expand under your hand, as if your tummy was filling with air like a balloon.
Your lower hand should rise while your hand on your chest should remain relatively still.
With each breath cycle, gently continue to expand the belly and move the breath down towards the pelvis, allowing it to relax, open and release tension.
Keep your breath smooth and avoiding breath holding, as this may reflexively re-tighten the tissue.
Exhale and allow the air to move out of the lungs, while relaxing the abdomen, ribs and pelvis without straining or contracting.
Count the number of seconds in and out, to ensure you maintain a long slow flow, we recommend approximately 4 seconds in and 4 seconds out.
Maintain your attention without stress or strain, keeping your mind clear from thoughts or worries.
Perform for 5 – 10 minutes per day.
Pelvic Floor stretch and release
Start in an all 4’s position on hands and knees.
From here gently move your hips backwards to sit on your feet and gently lower the forearms so they are resting on the floor.
In yoga this position may be referred to as a modified child’s pose.
Rest your head down onto your forearms.
Focus your attention onto your pelvic floor region.
Inhale into the lung, expand the abdomen and visualise stretching the back of your T-shirt with your ribs and relaxing the muscles around your tailbone.
Exhale and let go of any tension without effort.
Each breath 3 seconds in and 3 out, without pausing or breath holding between each cycle.
Repeat 8-10 cycles of breathing in this position.
Gentle abdominal stretch
Lay on your tummy down on the floor while placing your hands under your shoulders.
Gently push up onto the hands, if this is uncomfortable in the wrist, hands or lower back, just gently come up onto your forearms.
Inhale and move the breath down thru the lungs, the abdomen and back of the ribs while expanding and letting go in the pelvic floor region.
Exhale and gently press the floor away to slightly increase the arch in the lower back.
If comfortable, you may come up onto your hands.
Keep your pelvis facing the floor.
Gently move up and down in conjunction with your breath cycle while staying comfortable in all regions of your body.
Continuously breathe slowly in and out without any breath holding for 30 seconds, gently lower towards the floor, and repeat 3 times.
Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Place your foot on your opposite knee.
Place one hand between your legs, clasp under the leg which has the foot resting on it.
The other hand cradles and supports the outside of the same leg.
Gently bring your leg towards your chest while keeping your foot placed on the knee.
You should start to feel a light stretching sensation around the outside of the hip on the opposite leg.
Breathe into the stretch and maintain a sense of openness of the pelvis and relaxation.
You should not strain or hold your breath at any time.
Visualise relaxation and moving of the pelvic floor up and down in conjunction with your breathing cycle.
Hold for 30 seconds, perform each side twice.
Osteopaths with a special interest in men’s and women’s reproductive or urinary health issues can assist you with a whole body approach to relaxing the body and pelvic floor girdle.
Feel free to share your thoughts below.