Many people can benefit from pelvic floor muscle strengthening. Physicians frequently recommend that a patient begin a home regimen of “Kegel” exercises to overcome urinary leakage or other pelvic dysfunction. But, is there a time when a home program for pelvic floor exercises is not appropriate?
Research supports the fact that not all of us can complete a pelvic muscle contraction properly. In one significant study (Bump et al.’s) of Kegel technique following simple verbal or written instruction, not only did a majority of the subjects not demonstrate an effective effort, a significant portion of them demonstrated an incontinence-promoting effort.
In a more recent study of healthy males who were assessed for pelvic muscle activation following standardized verbal instruction, Scott et al. found that many of the men could not perform a contraction while crook lying or standing, and some participants could not perform a contraction correctly in either position.
If a person has a painful or shortened pelvic floor, also referred to as “non-relaxing pelvic floor dysfunction” Kegel exercises may be contraindicated. People with non-relaxing pelvic floor muscles may benefit most from learning to lengthen the muscles rather than contract them. People who have “short” pelvic floor muscles should actually temporarily stop contracting to avoid worsening of the shortened and often painful state of the muscles.
How then might people who have pelvic muscle dysfunction manage their condition? Here at Lilly Physical Therapy in Edmonds WA, pelvic rehabilitation is offered so that our patients who are candidates for strengthening or muscle relaxation are appropriately identified. Patients can be instructed in appropriate muscle activation strategies and immediately assessed for proper technique. Understanding when to prescribe and when to avoid pelvic muscle strengthening can improve a patient’s quality of life. Call us today at (425) 224-2476 if you have any questions about pelvic floor exercises or would like an assessment. We would be happy to help!
Also, If you would like to see more about this topic, go to the following web address: http://www.medbridgeeducation.com/blog/kegels-pelvic-dysfunction-clinical-pearl-series-holly-tanner/#sthash.ve3qrTeI.dpuf