Squamish Physiotherapy Specializing in Pelvic Health & Chronic Pain

Lower Back and Pelvic Pain and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction – What’s The Connection?

These two people might have more in common than they think.

If you have chronic pain in your lower back, hips, or pelvis, your pelvic floor might be trying to get your attention. A 2018 study¹ by renowned Canadian Pelvic Health Physiotherapists Sinead Dufour, Brittany and Carolyn Vandyken, and MJ Forget examined the pelvic floor characteristics of women seeking Physiotherapy for lumbopelvic pain (lower back and/or pelvic girdle pain). 95% of the women in the study who had lumbopelvic pain also had signs of pelvic floor dysfunction (as evidenced by tenderness, weakness of the pelvic floor, and pelvic organ prolapse). Of the participants, 71% of the participants had tenderness when their pelvic floor muscles were examined. What this means is that the participant had excessive activity of these muscles, or an “overactive” pelvic floor. 66% of the participants had weakness in their pelvic floor muscles, and 41% had a prolapse.

What does an “overactive” pelvic floor (also referred to as a “hypertonic” pelvic floor) look like? It can present as painful intercourse, constipation, urinary urgency, and pelvic pain. It is interesting to note that the participants with pelvic floors that were overactive were more strongly associated with disability compared to those who had pelvic floor weakness without an overactive pelvic floor.

What does this mean for you? It is a common belief that you need to do Kegels if you’re having pelvic floor issues, which are contractions aimed to strengthen your pelvic floor. These are often prescribed by a variety of health care professionals without specific guidance, and without a thorough exam to ensure they are appropriate. The issue is that if you do Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor, and the cause of your pelvic floor issues is actually an overactive or too tight pelvic floor causing the muscles to not work properly, this can make things worse.²

So what’s next if you’re dealing with chronic lower back or pelvic pain? It’s time to meet your pelvic floor! I would be happy to introduce the two of you. Your pelvic floor supports you every day and doesn’t ask for recognition. You can even see it in action using Real-Time Ultrasound. Using Real-Time Ultrasound imaging you can see whether your pelvic floor is overactive, whether you can properly activate it, how to properly relax and help it function, and what to do next for optimal pelvic health. All this is done using a holistic approach that looks at more than just your pelvic floor.

Contact Us Today

Contact Glow Physio to discuss your situation and see if Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy is right for you. We can help you solve your lower back and pelvic pain and overcome pelvic floor dysfunction using manual therapy, specific exercises, and have the option to use acupuncture and/or IMS (Dry Needling). We take the time to get to the root of your issues and get you back to doing what you love.

Tags: Chronic Lower Back Pain, Chronic Pelvic Pain, Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy, Urinary Incontinence, Hypertonic Pelvic Floor, Hyperactive Pelvic Floor, Constipation, Painful Intercourse, Dyspareunia, Squamish Physiotherapy. 

  1. Dufour, S., Vandyken, B., Forget, M. J., & Vandyken, C. (2018). Association Between Lumbopelvic Pain and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction In Women: A Cross Sectional Study. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, 34, 47-53.
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2468781217301807?via%3Dihub
  2. Faubion S.S., Shuster L.T., & Bharuchac A.E. (2012).Recognition and Management of Nonrelaxing Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. Mayo Clin Proceedings. Feb; 87(2): 187–193. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3498251/

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