A women's pelvis is very unique in its function and anatomy. It is generally wider and has flatter joint surfaces than a male pelvis to allow for greater mobility. These differences make it possible for a females pelvis to perform its function, especially during pregnancy and delivery. Considering the increased mobility as well as decreased support of all structures during during the menstrual cycle - a time when the hormone relaxin is released and ligaments become increasingly slack - a woman's pelvis becomes more prone to trauma.
More tests, treatments and therapeutic approaches focus on s specific tissue, or rather, a specific symptom or part of the anatomy where the symptoms appear; rarely, paying attention to their factors and/or the surrounding environment that may also influence the problem. The most common issue women complain of is urinary bladder dysfunction. As it is rare for a clinician to pay attention to cramps and tension that often occur prior to bladder dysfunction and their contribution to this problem is often overlooked. A urinary bladder is a hollow organ that functions to hold fluid (urine) for a prolonged period of time. Like every organ and structure of our body, it should be capable of freely expanding and contracting. Restrictions in the fascial (connective tissue) environment of the pelvis area, due to unresolved traumas, can expose the urinary bladder to crushing pressure. This makes it very difficult to expand freely; therefore, creating symptoms of frequency, urgency and eventually incontinence.
Fascial restrictions due to trauma or post surgical scars in abdominal and pelvic area (i.e. episiotomy scars) may effect the function of all organs in that area, causing symptoms of: menstrual dysfunction, cramps, pelvic pain, painful intercourse, constipation, diarrhea, hemorrhoids and more. Traditionally, all these problems are treated separately, as if they have no relation to each other. Often, physiotherapy or medical approaches based on treating symptoms are unsuccessful, leading to increasingly drastic methods of treatment. Recent statistics have shown that hysterectomies are performed on average every 15 seconds in the United States, and it has been determined that over half a million of these procedures every year are unnecessary. Similarly, Canada is second in the world with the number of hysterectomies performed each year.
Restrictions in the pelvic area do not affect just the organs within the pelvic floor or lower abdomen. Many symptoms such as: low back pain, headaches, difficulty sitting for prolonged time, and more may be caused by pelvic floor fascial restrictions. These restrictions may affect the coccyx, commonly know a s the tailbone. Anatomically, the coccyx is embedded in many ligaments, muscle and fascial system of the pelvic floor. It is both affected by and it affects supporting structures ligaments running along the sacroiliac joints and the spinal column. All traumas mentioned previously to the pelvic area, pelvic torsion, childbirth, along with others, can lead to coccyx misalignment and stress which can lead to a multitude of issues. Problems that can manifest are not limited to just the pelvic region - one must take the whole body into account in a treatment process. Due to an overall increase in total body tension, many people with symptoms of devitalization or signs of depression may also benefit form treatment addressing a coccyx restriction or misalignment.
As mentioned earlier, some menstrual or PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) symptoms can also be caused by fascial restrictions in the pelvic area. Most signs of these restrictions start at a very young age and are commonly ignored or considered normal. In the best case scenario, patients are treated symptomatically. Most symptoms that we experience are, in reality, a way of our bodies trying to communicate our problems. Ignoring or blocking symptoms (by symptomatic treatment) often leads to they symptoms persisting and problems getting worse. As a women's menstrual cycle begins the pre-existing fascial tension, abdominal pain, irritability, among other symptoms all of which is the effect of internal pressure.
The issue of men's health is not often discussed in our day to day lives. This could be because we are afraid to speak up. Most men are leery of speaking out about their condition because they are not looking at the greater picture.Symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, prostatitis, irritable bowel syndrome, enlarged prostate, prostate dysfunction, and many others, may seem "embarrassing", but they are the key to the discovery of their source. Countless men view their symptoms as being "livable," or "unimportant," and rarely seek help to avoid embarrassment. It is the lack of knowledge regarding men's health that has so many men afraid to admit their symptoms. Due to a lack of readily available information, men's pelvic health has become taboo in our society. This leads us to the question: how can we reassess how we think about men's health? The lack of information regarding men's health begs the question, what can be done? Is there someone out there who can help?
Myofascial Release offers valuable benefits in chronic health conditions that are predominantly seen in men. It can help men prevent, recover from, and cope with health issues secondary to pelvic and perineal pain and dysfunction syndromes (incontinence and erectile dysfunction). It offers knowledge, guidance and exercises to help men meet their health goals. Myofascial Release is an effective mind-body approach that addresses the issues that cause dysfunction within the body. Are you ready to stop treating the symptoms and commit to achieve results that last?
by John F. Barnes, PT
by John F. Barnes, PT