Expert answers your pelvic floor Google searches
Resist the temptation of Dr Google with the help of our expert, Continence and Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Annabelle Citroen.
Why does my pelvic floor hurt after running?
The pelvic floor works in conjunction with many other muscles around the pelvic girdle and torso. Some of the pelvic floor muscles double up as muscles of the hip. As you run, they help absorb the impact transferring from the legs to the pelvis.
In the way you may feel discomfort or tightness in your hamstring muscles following a run, your pelvic floor muscles can respond similarly.
If the pelvic floor muscles are weak, the impact created by running can put further strain on the pelvic floor muscles and connective tissue supports. Such discomfort may indicate underlying dysfunction, such as pelvic organ prolapse.
Is the pelvic floor part of the core?
The group of muscles commonly referred to as the ‘core’ are arranged in a cylinder shape, with your abdominals at the front and sides, diaphragm at the top and spinal muscles at the back. The pelvic floor is at the base of this cylinder.
These muscles work together to control the pressure within the abdomen and support your spine during daily activities. Due to its position at the base of the core, the pelvic floor plays a crucial role in supporting the bladder, bowel and uterus from below, particularly when pressure within the abdomen rises, for example with coughing, sneezing, high impact exercise and abdominal bracing.
Watch the 3D animation below for a visual look at the pelvic floor:
Can pelvic floor dysfunction cause back pain?
Lower back pain often involves a combination of ergonomic and lifestyle factors such as weight and muscle dysfunction, to name a few. Given the pelvic floor forms part of the core and plays a role in supporting the lower back, it is not surprising that some patients with pelvic floor dysfunction complain of back pain. Some patients suffering from pelvic organ prolapse complain of pain or a dragging sensation in their lower back. One potential theory for the cause of such pain is the tension on the ligaments that help suspend the uterus, which happen to attach inside of the sacrum (the lowest part of the spine).
If you think you may be experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction, please consult your GP, call the free and confidential National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66, or see a pelvic floor physiotherapist.