The beautiful combination of Osteopathy and Pilates to support women with leaking and pelvic floor issues
Pelvic floor health is essential for women, particularly during and after pregnancy. It affects women’s overall health and well-being, from daily functions to sexual pleasure. However, many women face pelvic pain, prolapse, incontinence, and other issues that make it challenging to recover postpartum. Thankfully, Pilates and Osteopathy are powerful tools that can help women recover, regain control and balance.
The whole women’s health movement is becoming more important every day, and it’s wonderful to see more conversations around the subject. We need to continue to talk about it because women are amazing, and if their body is out of balance, it affects their health and overall functioning. Moreover, an increasing number of women are not getting any post-natal check-ups, but this is a crucial step towards healing postpartum.
Jo Day, the Founder and Principal Osteopath at Herts Osteopathy, St. Albans, and Grace Lillywhite, a Pilates instructor and Founder of Centred Mums, are both advocates of women’s health. Jo specialises in helping women who have issues with their pelvis, such as prolapse, perimenopause symptoms, birth trauma, episiotomy and perineal scars, postnatal healing, diastasis recti, hormone problems, and more. Grace’s classes at Centred Mums revolve around Pilates, but incorporate many other elements such as nutrition, relaxation, and more, creating a supportive, non-competitive environment for women to develop their practice. Together, Jo and Grace have helped many women get back to themselves and heal during and after pregnancy.
It’s never too late to start working on pelvic floor health. Jo sees patients even ten years postnatally who feel like they can’t do anything about their issues anymore. Still, with Osteopathy and Pilates, women can make a significant difference no matter what stage they are at postnatally. There are also several factors which can cause an increase in symptoms when women start heading into peri to post-menopause, so you may not realise the build-up of underlying issues until they become more problematic in your 40s. It’s still never too late to help find the underlying cause and address this.
As a women’s health osteopath, Jo’s job is to get everything outside and inside beautifully balanced. The body wants to be in balance, and when muscles and organs are in balance, they function correctly. During appointments, Jo performs a whole-body external check of everything, from head to toe, to see where things are not quite happy. Then, she holistically evaluates the body, ensuring that everything is doing what it should be doing.
Prolapse is a common issue that women face, but with Osteopathy, it is possible to find out the root cause and balance everything. Often, prolapse happens when things are pulled off to one side or the other, and a single little bit of injury or bruise can cause stiffening and a dragging sensation.
Pelvic health is also related to movement, as even the position of a foot can affect the pelvis’s response. This is something that Pilates can help to rebalance. So as osteopaths, we look at the whole body and its impact on your pelvis. Pilates will also help to address the whole body too.
Gut inflammation also has a massive impact on the pelvis, and releasing the abdomen and the bowels where things might be getting inflamed can have a huge impact.
Diastasis recti is another issue related to pelvic floor health, and Pilates is an excellent tool to help women recover from it. Pilates emphasises breathwork, managing pressure throughout the body, and a lot of exercises that can help release tension.
Pelvic floor health is essential for women during and after pregnancy. With Osteopathy and Pilates, women can recover and regain control over their bodies, improving their overall health and well-being. Regardless of the stage you are at postnatally, it’s never too late to start working on pelvic floor health.
Here are some tips and advice for women to maintain good pelvic floor health:
• Build your strength slowly, but avoid heavy lifting until you have seen a women’s health Osteopath to ensure that you are using the correct muscles and technique throughout your entire body: Heavy lifting without using the correct breath (particularly with breath holding) can put additional pressure on the pelvic floor muscles and organs. But to improve full body strength which includes your pelvic floor working dynamically and brilliantly with the rest of your body, Incorporate strength-training into your exercise routine to gradually build your strength and focus on your core.
• Practice good posture: Poor posture can put additional strain on the pelvic floor muscles, so practice good posture throughout the day. This also includes sitting for too long. There are subtle Pilates moves that you can build into your daily routine, such as whilst standing in a queue or sitting at your desk.
• Be mindful of high-impact activities: High-impact activities such as running and jumping can put a strain on the pelvic floor, so be mindful of these activities and consider low-impact alternatives to start with until you have built up the plyometric and dynamic power and balance in your pelvic floor.
• Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight and eating more inflammatory foods and smoking can affect incontinence and pelvic floor health.
• Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help keep your bladder and bowel health, which can reduce the risk of pelvic floor problems.
• Avoid constipation: Straining during bowel movements can put pressure on the pelvic floor, so it’s important to avoid constipation. Eat a high-fibre diet, drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly to help prevent constipation. Using a stool to put your feet on for opening your bowels is a game changer as it allows the pelvic floor muscles to open well for a good bowel movement.
• Seek treatment for pelvic floor issues: If you are experiencing pelvic floor issues such as urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse, seek treatment from a women’s health Osteopath who can look at the whole picture. A holistic approach to this is needed, and this will include internal scar and myofascial release and pelvic floor release as well as abdominal and full body Osteopathic techniques. There are many treatments available that can help improve pelvic floor function and quality of life. Pilates will be the best long-term addition to your pelvic floor treatment for a longer sustained positive impact on your whole body.
Remember, taking care of your pelvic floor health is an important part of overall health and wellness. By practising good habits and seeking treatment when needed, you can maintain a healthy pelvic floor and enjoy a full, active life. You don’t have to live with urinary incontinence, painful sex, vaginal discomfort and prolapse symptoms. So please get help with this.
Thanks for reading.