Pelvic Floor + Core, The Truth Behind Back Pain, Posture Issues, Pain, Incontinence and MORE
Let me tell you about my journey with Pelvic Floor Physio. I stumbled across it after the birth of my first daughter and it really blew my mind just how helpful/important/impactful/necessary this therapy was and how NO ONE TALKED ABOUT IT.
It was all the way back in 2009, I had just turned 27 and given birth to my first daughter Abigail. My pregnancy had been fairly good (minus a little more nausea than anyone needs to experience) but my delivery was fairly hard. She was due June 4. On June 23 I finally agreed to an induction. I remember it like it was yesterday. I went in at lunchtime on a Tuesday to get things going. Once they began the induction fairly easy contractions started soon after that. I was contracting enough that I couldn’t sleep and I was losing everything I ate and drank, but not enough to go to the hospital.
The next day I went back in and we continued to progress the induction and that’s when things really got going. That evening (Wed) with contractions under 3 min apart we drove off to the hospital. Once we arrived they checked me before admitting me. The lovely person who checked me was kind enough to tell me that I wasn’t in labour (I was still not dilated at all) which made me pretty upset since I was in so much pain and had been having contractions for around 30 hours. I threw up in the bushes outside of the hospital and we headed home. I laboured all through the night and by morning there was a bunch of blood and we rushed back to the hospital. I laboured all day. She finally emerged just before 10pm that night after 58 hours of contractions and some pretty significant tearing requiring quite a few stitches. Of course, she was perfect, I was in love and it was all worth it to bring her into the world.
I loved every minute of the newborn stage. However, my body was struggling. I had so much pelvic and vaginal pain, intercourse was not a possibility at all for many many months. My male Doctor at the time told me it was “normal” and suggested lube to help it hurt less. In fact his helpful advice was “medicate, inebriate, lubricate” 🤣.
(** Please note that my criticism here is not of my doctor specifically but of our healthcare system! I love doctors and they are doing their best with the information they have. I believe there is a definite lack of education around the needs of postpartum folks. Our healthcare system needs to do better at educating our healthcare practitioners and giving them the proper resources to provide information and guidance for people after pregnancy and birth)
I had to take matters into my own hands, so through a little luck and research I managed to piece together more adequate postpartum care. After a particularly severe mastitis infection an amazing Lactation Consultant suggested I go for ultrasound treatment to permanently unblock my ducts (also information that would have been helpful coming from my Dr when he was prescribing me antibiotics). I also found a Women-Focused Physio Clinic and while I was there I noticed something about Pelvic Floor Physio (which I had never heard of) and asked what it was for. They explained that it helped with birth recovery, pain and incontinence. I told them about the pain I had been struggling with and they told me they could help – I think I actually cried!
Physio has come a long way since then, but lots is still the same. Your treatment plan with a Pelvic Floor physiotherapist will vary depending on your pelvic floor and what is or isn’t functional. For me we did a lot of work to release tight muscles and tissues (there’s a lot of misinformation that everyone needs to tighten their pelvic floor after birth – not true!). I was also given homework that included exercises and incorporating specific tools to release my pelvic floor.
It worked, I had significant improvement fairly quickly and fully recovered in a few months, which allowed me to get pregnant again. My post birth recovery the second time around was a breeze, despite the fact that my little Sammy was a whole 9 lbs. All of the work I had done between pregnancies set me up for success and I had no issues with pain and my post-birth incontinence cleared up in just a few weeks.
I am currently back in Physio with Lisa Flanders who owns Bloom. I’m 41 now, I’ve been going through some pretty hard things in my personal life and it has taken a toll on my mental and physical health. As a result of the stress some of my historical issues have resurfaced and I am again experiencing some pelvic/vaginal pain. While common, it’s not normal or healthy and these types of symptoms should always be addressed quickly before they become chronic.
Lisa is doing internal releases, she’s given me homework to roll my pelvic floor on a ball, she noticed that I suffer from constipation sometimes – which can really have a negative impact on your pelvic floor and can cause prolapse. She gave me homework to order a squatty potty (look it up, they are great and we should all be using one when we poop), colon massage and a reminder to take my fibre and probiotics. My pain is improving, I’m doing my homework (and you’ll find beautiful squatty potties in the gym, you’re welcome to pop in and test them out!). I am practicing what I preach and addressing these symptoms now before they lead to a more serious issue.
I wanted to share my personal story so that you can feel less alone, and realize that pelvic floor dysfunction is incredibly common but you don’t have to live with the symptoms. Pelvic floor physiotherapy isn’t not scary, and the therapists at Bloom are amazing at putting you at ease, explaining what they are doing, asking permission, and reminding you that you can ask them to stop anytime. If you are experiencing pelvic pain, incontinence, back pain, posture issues, those are all very good reasons to find a good therapist.
Remember, we deserve to feel great in every part of our body, so take care of every little bit of you!