In the fall of 2019, we spoke again with Otiena Ellwand, Content Marketing Specialist at Merrithew™. This time, we talked about how our clinic and studio (Lakeview Physiotherapy & Acupuncture and Lakeview Movement Studio) is integrating key concepts of Pilates with our Pelvic Health patients. We discussed how our understanding of women’s pelvic concerns can be identified and then treated with specific exercises in a Pilates environment, and the ideal equipment we use for this patient population.
Below is an excerpt from this conversation and if you are interested in the entire article you can read more here.
The pelvic floor muscles are ones we use every day without realizing it— they’re essential to our wellbeing and sense of dignity— yet they’re not ones we actively think about ‘exercising’ or engaging.
The pelvic floor muscles help support the pelvic organs, along with other connective tissue, and can sometimes be the source of common issues such as pelvic pain, poor bladder control, constipation and sexual dysfunction, to name just a few. These issues may arise as the result of pregnancy and delivery, urinary tract infections, erectile dysfunction, hysterectomies, prostatectomies, lower back and tailbone pain, and the list goes on.
At Lakeview Physiotherapy, a physiotherapy clinic and movement studio in Calgary, Canada, pelvic health treatment has become a mainstay of the business over the last 13 years, with about 55% of its staff trained in this area.
The growth has come through word-of-mouth referrals and increased awareness of pelvic health issues, which can affect men, women and children. But it also has to do with the clinic’s holistic approach to care, which includes clinical Pilates.
“The gold standard in our profession for a physiotherapist to call themselves a pelvic floor/pelvic health physiotherapist is that they are trained and routinely perform internal vaginal and/or rectal examination, so they can fully understand the function of the muscles, nerves and organs that are causing problems,” says Gayle Hulme, a physiotherapist and co-founder of Lakeview Physiotherapy.
These clinicians may also have additional skills to draw on, such as acupuncture, dry needling, pain science education and Pilates training, to help them assess and treat patients, she says.
One of those Pilates-trained physiotherapists is Leah Milne, who hosts private, semi-private and three-person Pilates sessions tailored to her pelvic health patients.
She sees Pilates as a way of bridging the gap between pelvic health dysfunction and a return to one’s desired activity.
For example, if a runner comes in with stress urinary incontinence, it could be that they’re lacking strength and stability in the pelvic floor; or it could be that the pelvic floor is too tight and is unable to relax. Running is a complex physical task that requires pelvic floor contraction, pelvic girdle stability, the ability to balance on one leg and coordinate the movements with the breath.
In the example of the runner, Leah will break down each element of running into simplified exercises, making it easier for the patient to focus on their pelvic floor needs, breathing and posture.