“1 in 3 women suffer with incontinence but only 1 in 12 report it to their Health Care Practitioner. So bladder leaking is very common but it is never normal. Neither is painful sex, pelvic pain or urgency and frequency of urination. Pelvic health physiotherapists can help you address these problems and get you to live the life you deserve.
Please watch this short video and if you need some help please book an appointment.
Before we discuss independent standing and standing up without using support, it would be appropriate to consider simple exercises when the child is standing at the couch, ottoman, coffee table, etc. In fact, this is quite a critical period for the child to master their body in space when trying to stand and balance at their support surface.
Once the child is up and standing at their preferred support surface, placing toys or any other item of interest just out of reach on the couch is an excellent activity to practice weight shifting and challenging the boundaries of their balance while they are well supported. During a single lateral reach, the child will shift their body and take more weight on the same-sided leg and foot. This simple and subtle movement is so important because this allows the child to unweight the opposite leg and foot. With progression and strengthening, complete lifting of the opposite foot from the ground will be achieved to reach even further. Mastery of this combination of weight shifting and balancing is incredibly important because this skill is absolutely necessary for walking; weight shifting onto a single leg, lifting the opposite leg, and progressing the unweighted leg and foot forward to walk.
For continued balance and strength development, encourage rotation and reaching away from their support. Start by using a toy on the couch or table and slowly pull the toy out of reach along the surface and more towards the side of the child to encourage reaching away from their support. Continue to repeat this to both sides and within their tolerance, ensuring to give breaks as needed. Gradually increase how far the child reaches in an arc around their reaching radius until they can almost reach behind by rotating at the trunk and waist with a hand still on their support. Again, this exercise is working their ability to weight shift and balance at the same time; however, with rotating and balancing as well, we are working on trunk strengthening with movement to build strong core muscles to support the trunk and upper body when it is time for standing and walking independently.
Of course, during these activities it is important to give plenty of positive reinforcement and feedback to demonstrate the importance and excitement of standing, reaching, rotating, and moving.
We will take another detour before we get to independent standing up; we will first discuss cruising along their support on the next blog post.
We have all experienced it, we will be moving around and suddenly our low back is in severe pain! A lot of the time this low back pain is correlated to tight muscles. The tightness can pull the pelvis out of its neutral position, which causes your entire body to lose its natural and neutral spine and causes pain to radiate in all directions. The following stretches are going to help you release any tension in commonly tight areas of the body.
Quadriceps: Hip flexor
Position yourself into a deep lunge holding a 90 degree angle. Keep your chest lifted off your thigh (think upright as opposed to hinging forward). Once you are stable, grab onto the back leg and lift it up and pull it inward close to your bottom. This will release your front hip flexors. NOTE: fold over your mat, or use a pillow under your knee, as there will be a lot of weight placed upon it.
Hamstrings: Spine Dive
Sitting, legs extended, toes flexed towards ceiling, hands resting on thighs. Exhale, dip head down towards chest and roll down the spine sliding the hands towards the ankles/feet. Hold this stretch, maintaining core support and actively lengthening towards the feet until a stretch is felt in the hamstrings.
Hips/Glutes: Leg cross over
Lay on your back, pelvis flush and exhale to raise both legs to table top. Cross one leg over the other, and pull the back of the leg closer to your chest. Adjust the positioning, and apply more pressure to the inside of the knee if an extra stretch is needed. Great to do at home, or even at your desk at work! Releases front and side of hips, as well as the
Front abdominals: Swan/Extensions
Laying on your stomach, hands next to your shoulders, feet hip distance apart, actively tuck the pelvic under so that the pubic bone is dipping into your mat. Exhale, activate your abdominals and push down through your hands to lift up through your torso.
Back stabilizers and erectors: Cat/Cow or Shell
Side-body: Side Bend
Standing in neutral, exhale and slice your arm through the air and send your body into lateral flexion. Letting your head drop to the side while holding your arm overhead.
NOTE: All of these stretches can be incorporated into a daily stretching routine. All of these stretches will get the best results once the body is already “warmed up”, however will still be beneficial on their own. All stretches should be help from 15-30seconds and repeated 1-3 times per day as needed.
Pilates is a fantastic form of exercise that focuses on stability, flexibility, balance and total body strength. For days when you are not practising it in a class or at home. There are ways to improve your Pilates practise by implementing simple reminders into your everyday routine.
Pilates is huge on posture. If you have ever done a Pilates class, you know that before you begin a class- you set your body into standing neutral.
Start at the feet. Feet hip distance apart and heels are grounded/heavy, and toes are light. Knees slightly bent and tracking directly over your ankles. Neutral pelvis (engage pelvic floor) and tracking over the knees. Ribs hugging your spine (by engaging your abdominals). Chest open, shoulder blades sliding down your back and tracking away from your neck. Spine is lengthened (imagine a string attached to the crown of your head that is pulling you up towards the ceiling). Head is floating on top (almost giving yourself a double chin).
Now that you have a neutral spine, you are free to move around! It may feel strange at first, but your body will thank you later after a long day of sitting at a desk or driving. Be sure to maintain the upright posture for all activities. Whether it be jogging, sitting, or just everyday errands. If you focus on keeping your spine in neutral, your joints will decrease in pain over time and your muscles will automatically hold you in this position. This posture is life changing.
Engaging your core
Again, this is the foundation of Pilates! Your core should be the centre of all your activities- and I mean ALL your activities.
From walking to running to sitting at your desk (we are seeing a trend here!). Engaging your core (front abdominals- the “6 pack” muscles, as well as your pelvic floor) is not only going to encourage the spine maintain its neutral posture but it will also aid in strengthening and build endurance to the trunk throughout the day! Let’s take walking/running as our main example. When we walk/run, there is a significant amount of downward pressure/force put on our pelvic floor that overtime if it is not strengthened, will cause issues such as incontinence and prolapse. By engaging your core (front abdominals AND pelvic floor) you are strengthening, working on hip stability (internal and external) and muscular endurance. All of these will translate to less pain and an overall better quality of life.
Try these ideas out during your day and track how you feel over the next few weeks! Are you standing taller? Do you have decreased pain in your back? Do you feel more stable in your trunk? Pilates is a great exercise but also translates seamlessly into regular day to day activities! Give it a try- your body will thank you!
Abdominal wall separation sounds very intimidating, however, many women experience this throughout the course of pregnancy and into post-pregnancy. Abdominal separation, clinically diagnosed as Diastasis Recti, can happen to women of all ages throughout different stages of pregnancy. A combination of hormones and the uterus pushing against the abdominal wall creates a laxity, and in some cases will lead to a separation as wide as 2-2.5 finger widths.
Pilates can be used as a preventative method or as a treatment for this separation; by teaching the mother how to connect and properly engage with her deep core muscles, specifically the transverse abdominis (TA). For treatment, this connection with the deep core muscles will allow the abdominal muscles to close in a non-strenuous manner. Alternatively, as a prevention method, this will help build up strength in the abdominals to prevent a large separation during future pregnancies.
Pilates is for everyone! Young to elderly and everyone in between. The Pilates Method has been around for decades and is known for its ability to sculpt bodies. By working with the fundamentals of Pilates, you are able to: increase stability, increase total body strength (Believe it, there is not a muscle group missed in a Pilates class!), rehabilitate past injuries, prevent new injuries from occurring, increase flexibility, increase balance and coordination and of course TONE!
By focusing on the core fundamentals of Pilates, instructors are able to work the entire body by layering exercises and challenging more than one muscle group at a time.
5 FUNdamentals of Pilates:
Laying on your back, slowly scooping your abdominal muscles and rounding through the thoracic spine (upper back) in order to lift slightly off of the mat. The abdominal curl is a small movement, and only the shoulder blades are to lift off of the mat.
Laying on your back, posteriorly tilting your pelvis slightly while lifting your pelvis off the mat and into a small bridge, engaging your core, pelvic floor, back, legs and helps to stabilize the pelvis and protect the low back.
Laying on your stomach, slowing lifting torso off of the mat engaging the back muscles. Listen to your body on how much range of motion (ROM) can be done. A good tip is start off with a small ROM then progress slowly into full ROM. Contract the quadriceps and slightly push the pubic bone into the mat to protect the low back.
Laying on your back, lift your knees into a 90 degree angle, otherwise known as “tabletop”, engaging abdominals throughout the movement to avoid the hip flexors from activating. This can be completed one leg at a time, or both at a time.
Abdominal curl and thigh lifts simultaneously, challenging the entire core, front and back. Ensure the legs are squeezing together and the inner thighs are activated throughout each phase of this movement. Hold at the top for a second before releasing top and bottom to the floor.
Although there are many exercises that are taught in a 55 minute class, most of the exercises are layered from the fundamentals listed above. These fundamentals help to re-pattern in-correct movement and encourage healthy movement to take its place. As mentioned before, these exercises challenge stability, balance, coordination and of course will strengthen the entire body creating lean and long musculature!