Why more runners would benefit from pelvic floor therapy

Pelvic floor therapy is a type of physical therapy that focuses on, well, the pelvic floor. Not only is this therapy extremely effective in treating conditions like urinary incontinence and pain during intercourse, it is part of total-body strength. That’s means it can target and treat problem spots notorious for runners, including the hips and glutes.

To understand pelvic floor therapy, it’s important to understand what the pelvic floor actually is. Essentially the pelvic floor is a group of interlacing muscles that span the distance between the tailbone and the pubic bone. These muscles support the bowel and bladder in men and women, and the uterus and vagina in women.

A pelvic floor therapist will spend 75 percent of an initial appointment just talking to a patient to learn about sleep habits, nutrition and hydration, exercise, symptoms, goals of treatment, and stress.

Patients—men and women—should be prepared for an internal examination, intervaginal for women and interrectal for men. The purpose of this exam is to assess the muscles’ abilities to contract and fully relax, Garges explains, and to determine the strength and tone of these muscles. Muscles that are too strong or tight, for example, can cause pain.

Runners who’ve had children, especially, can benefit from pelvic floor therapy after delivery, vaginal or C-section; the high-impact nature of running adds further stress to the already weakened pelvic floor. Therapy can help build back strength and tone before you start logging miles again.
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