Debunking the Myth.. Kegels Aren’t the Holy Grail for Pelvic Floor Wellness!

Monday, January 22, 2024

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Debunking the Myth.. Kegels Aren’t the Holy Grail for Pelvic Floor Wellness!

      In the pursuit of pelvic floor wellness, the myth that Kegels are the sole answer has persisted for too long. It's time to debunk this misconception and delve into the intricacies of pelvic floor therapy. This blog post aims to unravel the truth: pelvic floor health is not just about strength but about achieving total neuromuscular control. Let's explore why a holistic approach, addressing not only the pelvic floor but also its accessory muscles, is essential for optimal function and overall well-being.

The Kegel Myth:

Kegel exercises (contracting the pelvic floor musculature) absolutely have their time and place and play a crucial role in keeping our pelvic floor strong and healthy. However, the key to pelvic wellness is that it is a group effort. Picture your favorite band, each accessory muscle has a unique roll, not just the lead singer (aka Kegels), but also the supporting players. We can give Kegels their props, but also consider a more comprehensive approach for well-rounded pelvic harmony.

Addressing Accessory Muscles:

Now that we’ve set the record straight on the Kegel myth and discussed the group effort that is pelvic floor health, let’s dive into the dream team of accessory pelvic floor musculature. Alongside the pelvic floor are the unsung heroes like the transverse abdominis (deep core), diaphragm, adductors (inner thighs), and the glutes that all play a crucial role in supporting overall pelvic function. These muscles work together to ensure stability of the pelvis, hips, and lumbosacral spine, as well as promote coordination and strength.

Beyond Strength: Total Neuromuscular Control:

Next, we have to address the concert of total neuromuscular control within our pelvis. Neuromuscular control is an unconscious trained response of the pelvic floor regarding dynamic pelvic stability or coordination of bodily functions such as urination, defection, or sexual activity. Attaining total neuromuscular control means having a finely tuned machine – the right muscles engage and relax at the right times, ensuring everything functions optimally. This complexity demonstrates as to why pelvic floor rehabilitation exceeds the simplistic focus of contracting with Kegels.

The Pitfalls of Overactive Pelvic Floor:

Another perspective of ensuring comprehensive treatment of the pelvic floor is the consequences of performing Kegels overzealously. Like any other muscle group in the body, constant contraction without adequate relaxation can mimic symptoms of weakness. This overactivity may manifest as issues including incontinence, urinary urgency, pelvic pain, and sexual dysfunction. It’s imperative to strike a balance in pelvic floor training, ensuring not just strength but also the flexibility and relaxation required for a healthy pelvic floor.

Functional Fitness for the Pelvic Floor:

Embarking on the journey of functional fitness for the pelvic floor involves a holistic approach that goes beyond focusing on the pelvic floor in isolation. We start by integrating mindful breathing techniques as the diaphragm is a key player in proper pelvic floor activation and relaxation. We also have to address the importance of good posture to provide a solid foundation and accessory muscle activation for pelvic stability. This may involve being mindful of behavioral changes in your everyday life. Next, we’ll talk about intentional exercises – engaging the transverse abdominis (deep core) is needed to create a robust support system. We can also incorporate creative ways to recruit the adductors (inner thighs) and fire up those glutes for more comprehensive strengthening. These treatment programs must consist of a dynamic ensemble of movements and being mindful of the entire body, not only targeting the pelvic floor.

Tailoring Exercises to Individual Needs:

When it comes to these functional rehabilitation programs, one definitely does not fit all. Creating tailored pelvic floor therapy plans with a licensed profession is paramount because every individual is unique. Techniques and exercises that work for one may not work for another, and that’s where the magic happens - addressing each body’s specific needs and imbalances.

Educating on Symptoms and Signals:

Knowledge is power!! Especially when it comes to understanding the subtle signals our bodies send us about our pelvic health. Remember to always listen to what your body is telling you – whether it is hints of incontinence, constipation, recurring discomfort, or changes in sexual function. These signs are your body’s way of communication and acknowledging them early on is key! Don’t hesitate to seek progression guidance – pelvic health specialists are here to support you. Adopt a proactive stance by educating yourself on potential symptoms, and remember, taking charge of your pelvic health is a proactive and empowering journey. So, let's tune in, pay attention, and prioritize our pelvic well-being!

      In the pursuit of pelvic floor wellness, we've navigated through the myth of Kegels as the sole solution, uncovering the intricacies of pelvic floor therapy. It's evident that pelvic health is a collaborative effort, where each muscle group plays a unique role in achieving overall function. Our exploration into accessory muscles like the transverse abdominis, diaphragm, adductors, and glutes highlight their integral part in supporting overall pelvic health. Beyond mere strength, we've delved into the concert of total neuromuscular control, emphasizing the importance of a finely tuned pelvic machine including both activating and relaxing for optimal functionality. We've discussed the potential pitfalls of overactive pelvic floors and embraced a holistic approach to functional fitness, incorporating breathing, posture, and targeted exercises for a comprehensive pelvic workout. Tailoring exercises to individual needs recognize the uniqueness of each body, ensuring personalized pelvic therapy plans. Lastly, empowering readers with knowledge about symptoms and signals reinforces the proactive approach to pelvic health, urging everyone to tune in, pay attention, and prioritize their pelvic well-being. In embracing this holistic journey, we take charge of our pelvic health, turning it into a proactive and empowering adventure. 🌟💪

Post written by:
Taylor Thompson, PT, DPT
Founder of EmpowerHER Pelvic PT

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