The muscles at the base of the pelvic floor are called the levators. They are two large “sling-like” muscles that suspend from the pubic bone in the front to the tail bone in the back. They hold everything up that is contained in the pelvic area. Sometimes these muscles will go into a spasm and cause very acute pain. Women often describe this pain as a heavy pressure feeling, almost as though something might “fall out.”
The spasm can sometimes create a sharp stabbing pain in the vagina, low back pain, as well as pain passing bowel movements and/or having sexual intercourse. This pain tends to get worse with prolonged sitting or standing leaving the individual with increased discomforts as the day wears on.
What can you do?
Let go! The spasm creates pressure or heavy feeling in the pelvis and many women will tighten the muscle involuntarily thinking it will help hold everything in. A vicious cycle gets created in which an already tight muscle is being made tighter which increases the pain, etc. When you feel the heavy pressure or back pain, try to mentally let go of it.
Do some reverse Kegel exercises. Many women learned Kegel exercises while pregnant to help prevent leakage of urine after delivery. The Kegel exercise involves tightening the levator muscles, holding them for a count of 10 slowly and then letting go. The goal of a Kegel is to strengthen the muscle. A reverse Kegel has the goal of teaching the muscle to relax. You can identify the muscle by thinking about what you do to hold back a bowel movement or prevent yourself from passing gas. Do the contraction, count to one, then exhale and relax the muscle counting to 10 slowly before you contract again. Do about 60 repetitions per day – but not all at once. Most women choose to do 20 three times a day or 15 four times a day.
Apply a heating pad to your low back when convenient. Soaking in a hot tub before bedtime will also help with relaxation. Many women do their reverse Kegels while soaking.
Physical Therapy. If you do not attain sufficient relief with the above measures, it might be a good idea to consult a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist. A Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist has expertise in working with this muscle group and we have several that work throughout our TPTI locations. Let us know if you need a referral.