Many times, my patients are surprised when I assess muscle groups surrounding the pelvis along with their pelvic floor. They wonder why I’m assessing their hip flexors, hamstrings, hip rotators, abdominal wall etc when they are seeing me for their pelvic floor symptoms. Although I am a pelvic floor physical therapist, it’s my job to address all the muscles around the pelvis, as well as their posture and pelvic alignment, as these muscles can affect the pelvic floor and refer pain to areas surrounding the pelvis. Today, I’m going to go over some of the muscles that may affect the pelvic floor and show you why it’s important that a whole-body approach is taken with your physical therapy treatment!
Hip flexors and Adductors Hamstrings
These pictures show the hip flexor, adductor and hamstring groups attachment to the pelvis and surrounding bones. If your hip flexors (front of your abdomen/hip) are tight, that can cause an anterior pelvic tilt, which may cause abdominal, groin, low back and even hip pain. These muscles may become tight if you sit for long periods of time, and are also used during exercise and stair climbing. Tension in the adductors (inner thigh muscles) commonly causes groin pain. If the pelvic floor muscles are weak, they like to “help out” and may be tense if urinary incontinence is present as they try to stop leakage from occurring. Lastly, hamstrings (back of pelvis/leg) tension may cause your pelvis to tilt posteriorly, causing tension and discomfort into your glutes/legs and even back.
Hopefully, this shows that when treating the pelvic floor, it’s important to assess all the muscles that surround the pelvis. With an individualized plan for strengthening and mobilizing these areas, along with your pelvic floor needs, we can make sure that everything is coordinating and working together properly to help you improve your symptoms!