Pelvic Floor Muscle

Pelvic floor looking from top-down

 

Pelvic floor muscles

A strong pelvic floor muscle is important to improve the foundation of the pelvis to support the organs and to stabilize the pelvis to reduce pain.  The pelvic floor muscle is a group of muscles on the bottom of the pelvis.  Muscle contractions pull the bones they are attached to toward each other.  In the case of the pelvic floor, the muscles of the levator ani include the pubococcygeus attaching the pubic bone and the coccyx (tailbone), and the iliococcygeus attaching the ilia (large pelvic bone) with the coccyx. Another part of the pubococcygeus is the puborectalis which attaches the pubic bone to the fibers surrounding the rectum.  This group of muscles is referred to as the pelvic floor.

I removed the screws which normally stabilize a medical model of the pelvis and inserted elastic cording to simulate how the bones of a pelvis move.  In the photos, you will see these white strings which are not in the human body.  I also built a pelvic floor out of velcro and fabric.  The white velcro shows the tendon by which the muscle attaches to the bone.  The red fabric represents the muscles.  The photos below show the pelvis in poor alignment and the pelvic floor looking from the top-down, inside, and from the bottom up.

pubic bone of pelvis misaligned

The pelvic floor from the top down

 

 

Top-down close up of the pelvic floor

Pelvic floor from the bottom up

In the last photo, you can see how the muscle fibers attach to the big bones of the pelvis, or the ilia and the coccyx looking from the bottom up.

Benefits of a strong pelvic floor

The pelvic floor muscles support the organs above them such as the bladder.  When you fire these muscles they pull the bones of the pelvis together.  If you strengthen the pelvic floor muscles this will keep the pelvis in neutral alignment and not allow the bones to slide out of place easily.  This means that with a strong pelvic floor you can prevent pain.  Also, the stronger the pelvic floor is, the less likely the organs will fall out of their usual place known as prolapse.  Organs that can prolapse include the uterus, rectum, bladder, urethra, small bowel, or the vagina itself.

Steak versus shaved ham

The more you strengthen a muscle, the thicker and bigger it becomes.  When you do not use a muscle, it becomes weaker and smaller.  I find that the stronger I make my pelvic floor the less pain I have in my body because this keeps my pelvis and spine in neutral alignment so I am not out of place.  The stronger the pelvic floor is the thicker it becomes and provides a stronger foundation to keep the organs above it in place.  I think of my pelvic floor like a big thick steak, while people with a weak pelvic floor look more like shaved ham because it is so thin and feeble.  It is easy to see why incontinence or inability to hold back urine or feces occurs.  The stronger the pelvic floor is it holds urine back more readily and the urine has to ask permission to leave the body. Whereas, the weaker the pelvic floor is, the urine pushes its way past the thinner muscle.

Glue to the foundation

I think of the bones of the pelvis as the wood for a pallet.  The pelvic floor muscles are the screws to the pallet which act as the glue for the foundation.  When the pelvic floor muscles are strong they hold the bones of the pelvis stable just like a solid pallet. At warehouse stores, a pallet is stacked with boxes and thick saran wrap around the boxes stabilizing the boxes.  In the human body, this saran wrap is the abdominal muscle running horizontally called the transversus abdominis.  When you fire or contract the pelvic floor this transversus abdominis automatically kicks in and holds the spine tightly to the now stable pelvis.

Maintaining alignment

I recall how good I felt once my skeleton was aligned in neutral.  The pain was gone. However, while bending over to pick up dog poo, I noticed that later that week I would develop back pain again.  It took a while to determine the cause, but eventually, I learned that if I held my pelvic floor tight while doing this activity, the pain did not recur.  By maintaining a strong pelvic floor, I am able to keep the skeleton aligned and remain without pain.  

Presentation: Strengthening the inner core to sleep through the night and prevent pain.

 

Contact:  Loraine@doctorlovejoyevans.com

 

© Dr. Loraine Lovejoy-Evans, DPT