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  • Janette O'toole

Back pain ... let's get to the core of the matter!

Back pain is very common. In fact, up to 80% of people will experience back pain at some stage in their life. However, did you know that the pelvic floor is important in the prevention and treatment of back pain in men and women? As well playing an important role in continence, sexual function and the prevention of pelvic organ prolapse, the pelvic floor is key in providing stability and support to the back and pelvis.

The pelvic floor, deep abdominal muscles (tranverse abdominus), deep back muscles (multifidis) and the diaphragm together make up the ‘core’.

In an ideal situation, these core muscles work together to support the spine and pelvis. If any of these muscles are weakened or damaged, this coordinated automatic action may be affected. This can predispose someone to injury, prevent recovery or cause symptoms to get worse.

Many people are aware that the core is important and may do exercises to help strengthen these muscles. However traditional core exercises often exclude the pelvic floor and focus predominantly on the abdominal muscles. This may actually led to further problems by weakening your pelvic floor or by causing your pelvic floor to become overactive.

Research has shown that people with low back pain have weak pelvic floor muscles compared to someone without back pain. To optimise recovery following an injury it is important pelvic floor training as part of your rehabilitation.

If you have experienced back pain, pregnancy, childbirth or back/ pelvic surgery, it is likely that your pelvic floor muscles may not be working properly.

Exercising the pelvic floor muscles can be tricky and often it is difficult to know if you are doing them properly. If you are unsure if you are exercising these muscles correctly, or if you are experiencing pain when trying to exercise, it may be helpful for you to have a one-on-one session with a pelvic floor physiotherapist to help.


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