Finding Stability in Instability (and Your Pelvic Floor)

spine stability

Something that's been coming up a lot for me lately is the idea of stability and solid foundations. For starters, I just completed a 4-day course on Injuries and Special Populations, and a big theme was how to create a stable anatomical foundation. Surprisingly, it’s a little bit of a paradox: In order to tap in to the deep stabilizers of the spine, for example, the very muscles that help to keep each tiny little joint between each vertebra in their best integrity, you must introduce instability.

What an interesting concept, right? To achieve a greater amount of stability or regain stability after an injury, you must work with its exact opposite.

Another way to look at it... in order to overcome the instability, you must lean into it.

I’ve also been thinking about stability because this month is Pelvic Health Awareness month. (Check out the Pelvic Health Summit for lots of great resources and support.) While working with a client recently, we agreed that there’s still a long way to go in making it ok to seek help for pelvic floor pain and dysfunction. So many women (and men for that matter) accept pain as their norm and feel embarrassed or ashamed that they have an issue, which leads to hesitation in seeking a solution.

Even in the recent course I mentioned, the instructor highlighted that many clients and instructors alike can avoid disclosing or discussing pelvic floor issues because it feels taboo to speak about. She made the point, “Sex is an important part of life. We can’t avoid talking about it when there is pain involved.”

I couldn’t agree more.

When it comes to pain or dysfunction in the pelvic floor, I feel there is a need to talk about it more so that people know they have options to be pain free. It’s a sensitive subject, that’s for sure, but when we think about the body through the lens of the fundamental Pilates philosophies – that movement starts at the very center of the body and travels out the peripheries: if we are unstable or in pain at our center, which includes the pelvic floor, that instability and pain has a ripple effect throughout the rest of our bodies.

Although the pelvic area is a private and personal area, it’s an area that’s essential for the basic functions of everyday life, and that’s something every human has in common. If it’s not working optimally, our day to day is suboptimal as well. It’s that realization that motivates me to continue to talk about this as much as I can and offer up solutions or resources at the studio and beyond.

Pilates is a great asset when it comes to learning about your deep pelvic floor muscles and creating more awareness about using them to heal pelvic floor pain and dysfunction. However, it’s not always the right first step because Pilates work can make tight muscles tighter when the answer is more about release. For that, we defer to some of our most trusted pelvic floor experts that we’ve been collaborating with for years, like Kristin Sapienza of Femfirst Health, Nidhi Sharma of FuncPhysio PT, and Jill Hoefs of Body Align PT.

If any of this rings true to you and you’re ready to see what options you have, please reach out for a consultation call as your first step towards finding a solution that works best for you.