Is Your Pelvis still birthing?

October 8, 2015 in Childbirth, Pelvic Floor, Pelvis, Post Partum, Women's Sex Issues

Is Your Pelvis Still trying to Birth Your Baby?

Labor can be such an arduous task. Whether it’s really quick or lasts for days, the impact on the body is huge, especially for the pelvis. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get the baby out, the pelvis can still be left in its open birthing position. It can remain this way for months to many years.

 

I first identified this issue in my aunt who had a very traumatic birth with her first son who was 47 years old at the time I found this. Her pelvis was still open from birthing. When I realized what was going on I started looking for it other women who came to see me and was surprised how often I found it.

 

How do I know if a pelvis is still birthing?

 

I’m able to feel what the energy of the bones and tissues want to do. I listen to the body and see what wants to happen. No matter what part of the body, an ankle sprain, I can tell you how you twisted your ankle, an injury to your shoulder, leg or pelvis, your body holds onto the energy of the injury. It’s in the tissues and remains there and your body has to work around it. It’s usually not a big deal except most of the time we keep reinjuring it, in the same way. That could because the energy of the injury remains in the tissues until we release it. It could also be why some injuries just never seem to fully heal.

 

Birthing Pattern in the Pelvis

Birthing Pelvis

Pelvic Motions during pushing phase of birth

It’s the same thing with birth and the pelvis. When the pelvis births a baby, the sacrum pivots and in the pushing phase the tailbone moves backwards and the sit bones, or ischiums splay out to the side to get wider.   Usually this is the position that most women get stuck in because they tend to have a trauma response in their body from the intensity of the labor.   Pushing too long or the baby coming through too quickly can create a shock effect in the tissues and they get stuck in this open birthing position.

 

I’ve been asking these women whose pelvis’ are still birthing what they are experiencing and the effects have been from severe to subtle.   The most common complaint was a sense of feeling ungrounded.   Some complained of not being able to sit comfortably or evenly on their buttock.   Others had more subtle complaints of feeling spacey, just not the same, or feeling weird when walking. One of the bigger issues women can have from this is painful intercourse and an inability to contract their pelvic floor muscles.

 

Since all of the pelvic floor muscles attach to the bones of the pelvis, having the bones widened puts a stretch on these muscles. A stretched out muscle doesn’t have the same contraction ability and will appear weak.   These lengthened muscles also don’t have the give or flexibility they need in order to allow penetration to happen with intercourse.   My aunt I mentioned earlier has very little to almost no contraction of her pelvic floor muscles. Another client I saw was still in a birthing pattern and she was having pain with penetration. After one session of bringing her ischiums back together, her pelvic floor muscles relaxed and she had no more pain!

 So what do I do?

It’s a shame that the main treatment for weakened pelvic floor muscles is to see a   women’s health physical therapists, yet most of them don’t know how to assess or treat a pelvis stuck in the birthing position. No amount of kegels or biofeedback is going to help you get a strained, traumatized muscle stronger until it gets some help. It’s amazing how instantaneously a muscle can respond and contract when it’s not being lengthened or in a state of shock from the birth.

 

Most chiropractors don’t know about this stuck birthing pelvis and your doctor will most likely look at you weird if you bring this to their attention.   They all are just dealing with the physical tissues that when you look at the tissues everything appears just fine.   They aren’t aware of and don’t know how to address the energetics, emotions or trauma that get so tied up into the tissues keeping them held in this birthing pattern. You have to address them all in order for the tissues to release and the pelvis to return to it’s normal pre-birth state.

 

I have found in working with women that we need to address ALL of the trauma or issues that occurred during the birth so the pelvis can return to it’s birthing position after a treatment.   The sooner after the birth one comes in the better.   It’s easier to release the birth pattern because it hasn’t been stuck in the body for a length of time for it to think it’s the new normal position to stay in. However no matter how long it’s been you can still release the bones and tissues so they can find their natural place. It’s just takes a bit longer.

 

 

 

 

 

Pain with Sex

January 16, 2014 in Childbirth, Pelvic Floor, Women's Sex Issues

Sex Doesn’t have to be Painful!

When you think of having sex, what’s your initial reaction?  Is it one of fun, pleasure, and enjoyment?  For many women it’s not.  In fact it’s down right painful.  Their response is one of fear, pain and simple avoidance.  It’s sad that some women are not interested in ever having sex again.    It doesn’t need to be this way.

I”ve seen so many women in my practice who have gone to multiple doctors who all look at their vagina’s and say, “well, it looks normal in here.  There’s nothing wrong, must be all in your head, try a little bit more wine beforehand!”  And for most women suffering from pain with sex, all the wine in the world won’t help their situation.

What most doctor’s aren’t trained in looking at is the mobility of the tissues.  How can the vaginal, or pelvic floor muscles move and stretch?  They aren’t pressing around in there to find out.  So when they look at the tissues, it all looks normal and healthy.  Yet if they were to just press on the sides of your vaginal opening they would most likely find brick walls or tissues that don’t have the ability to expand or stretch.  We need our vaginal tissues to be able to move up and down and expand out in a circle in order to enjoy intercourse without pain.

There are two types of pain with intercourse, insertional pain and deep thrusting pain.  Insertional pain is a problem with the pelvic floor muscles being able to expand and stretch open to allow the penis to enter.  Deep thrusting pain is an inability of the vaginal tissues to move up and down.  The uterus or bladder may be inhibited from moving upwards so every deep thrust is like hitting a brick wall, creating pain.  Both of these issues can be healed by seeing a women’s health physical therapist.

Some common issues that can create painful intercourse for insertional pain are falls on your tailbone and buttocks, childbirth, and trauma from abuse whether physical or emotional.  Impact injuries to the tailbone area cause the muscles to tighten up to protect the area not allowing them to relax and stretch.  Any tearing to the pelvic floor area during childbirth creates scar tissue making the area less mobile.  Also I find many women’s pelvis are still in a childbirth position with their sit bones still splaying out to the side putting stretch on the pelvic floor tissues.  Helping them to come back together again relieves the strain on the tissues.  Emotional or physical abuse creates a subconscious tightening of the pelvic floor  area.   Helping women reconnect and reclaim this area and feel safe again can help  the muscles release this held tension.

C-section or any lower abdominal surgical scars or car accidents usually cause deep thrusting pains.  Scar tissue prevents the organs from moving up and down and creates a wall between the tissues.  Every time there is deep thrusting that hits this block, pain is created.  Massaging your lower abdomen and making sure your tissues can move freely upwards and side to side should help alleviate this pain.  I have a video on my website, How to Massage Your C-Section Scar that you can view for free.  It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since your surgery you can always get more mobility in the tissues with massage.

Please help spread the word to women so they know there is help for them in this area.  It really saddens me that women are not able to enjoy themselves fully.  A women’s health physical therapist can help you with this issue.  For the most part, I just need to see someone one time and they are back to enjoying intercourse again freely without pain.  Reach out, get help and enjoy sex again!  Good luck!

Is Sex Painful?

February 26, 2013 in Pelvic Floor, Post Partum, Women's Sex Issues

Do you have pain with sex?

You may be shocked to be asked this question but this problem is more common than you think, especially after having a baby.  Women usually just don’t talk about it because when they ask their OB/GYN they are told everything looks ok in there.

What women need to understand is that most doctors don’t understand the muscles and connective tissue problems of the pelvic floor area.  Their expertise is in the organs functioning.  While everything may look “normal” most doctors do not check the ability of the tissues to move and expand and this may be where your problem lies.

Do you realize there are three distinct specialty areas in the small, little vagina?  You have to see an urologist for any bladder issues, a gynecologist for your uterus and if you have issues with your bowel you need to see a proctologist.  Unfortunately vary few of these specialists fully understand how the connective tissue or fascia, and the pelvic floor muscles contribute to pain and problems in this area.  This is where a woman’s health physical therapist can help you.  They are trained to work specifically with the muscles and connective tissues of your pelvic floor.

Pain with Intercourse

Typically there are two types of pain with intercourse, pain with insertion and/or pain with deep thrusting.

Insertion Pain

Pain with insertion may be caused from tightness in the pelvic floor tissues.  Just like our shoulders can get a “knot” in them, the pelvic floor muscles can also develop increased tension that can cause low back pain along with painful intercourse.  Any tearing during childbirth creates scar tissue which can also inhibit the movement and stretching of the pelvic floor tissues to allow for penetration.   A couple of sessions of physical therapy can help to free up or relax the pelvic floor tissues to allow for more enjoyment during intercourse.

Deep Thrusting Pain

Deep thrusting pain may be contributed to the lack of motion of the cervix and uterus.  If the uterus isn’t able to move from adhesions or scarring from a c-section every time the penis hits the organ it will create pain.  All the organs in our pelvis need to have free mobility or deep thrusting may be painful.  A physical therapist trained in visceral manipulation and scar tissue release work should be able to help you free up your pelvic organs so deep penetration pain is no longer a concern.

 

Lynn Schulte-Leech is a physical therapist with more than 20 years of experience.  She specializes in Women’s health and Visceral Manipulation.  If you’d like to talk to her about your issue or set up an appointment please call her at 303-845-0604 or email her at intuitivehandspt@comcast.net.

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