One common question we hear from our Women’s Health Physical Therapy patients is: why do I pee when I cough, laugh or sneeze? Is this normal? While this occurrence may be common, it’s not something you should have to accept and learn to live with. Urinary incontinence, or the loss of control of your bladder, is a condition that may be a sign of weakened muscles in the core and pelvic floor.
When we cough, laugh or sneeze, there is an increase in intra-abdominal pressure which causes our diaphragm to contract down into the area of our bladder. If the bladder can’t withstand that pressure, it causes you to urinate unintentionally, aka “leakage”. We tend to over-utilize our abdominal muscles to compensate for weakened pelvic floor muscles. The good news in all of this is that physical therapy can actually help to strengthen the core and pelvic floor muscles that are responsible for holding up the bladder, thus, preventing leaks.
For patients suffering from urinary incontinence or other symptoms related to weakened core and pelvic floor muscles, physical therapy provides minimally invasive, one-on-one treatments to help strengthen those muscles and address any functional limitations. Just like any other condition treated by physical therapy, we can address the unique musculoskeletal problems of this region and also provide preventative services to keep this issue from ever coming back.
After a new mother has her child, issues with stretching, back stiffness and weakened muscles in the core and pelvic floor require attention to ensure that the body returns to a state in which it can function normally and without pain. Our physical therapists work with postpartum women to strengthen pelvic floor muscles and develop custom therapeutic exercise programs to repair and restore these areas that have undergone so much change.
When pregnant, stiffness in the thoracic spine, or upper back area, may occur as a result of the anterior movement of the baby essentially pulling you forward. Stretching in the abdomen and pelvic floor can also result in weakened muscles in the pelvic floor though luckily these issues can be resolved with physical therapy. Your PT will work with you to improve the strength and stability of these muscles to repair stretching and ensure that you’re not at risk for back pain.
Common pelvic floor conditions for new moms can include incontinence and prolapse (which occurs when an organ in the body slips forward or down). Your PT can help to build your pelvic floor back up and restore the foundation of your body so you can resume life healthy as ever. Visit our Women’s Health Physical Therapy page to learn more about our pre- and post-partum services and to understand how we can help you address your unique pelvic musculoskeletal issues to improve your quality of life.
As triathletes, we spend time in the water doing endless drills to help improve our swim technique. We also prioritize single leg drills while cycling to enhance our pedal stroke efficiency. But what about running?
Running requires coordination, balance, motor control, rhythm and timing. Just like swimming and cycling, our running form is worthy of attention. Try this marching drill with these key factors in mind:
1. Maintain tall, upright posture
2. Perform reciprocal arm swing
3. Land with soft, flat foot
4. Do not grip floor with toes
5. Avoid excessive wobbling
Perform marching drill 1 to 3 minutes before and after your run sessions. To increase the challenge and progress this drill, keep your step rate in line with a metronome. Utilizing an external cue with varying beats can challenge coordination and movement adaptation. Metronome apps are available and easy to use on a smartphone. Start at 30 beats per minute (bpm) and increase by 15 bpm at a time. Spend 1-2 minutes at 3-4 different speeds at least twice a week.
30 Beats Per Minute:
45 Beats Per Minute:
60 Beats Per Minute:
Your running technique can benefit from drills that help foster improvements in single leg balance, control, and coordination of movement. Join March Madness and start incorporating some marching drills into your weekly routine.
Neck and upper back pain are commonly reported medical conditions in the United States caused by a variety of factors that affect the muscles and ligaments around the base of the skull. The pain can be quite limiting and can cause considerable stress on the muscles in this area. For sedentary workers, poor posture in the workplace can be a big contributor to these pain symptoms and is often a tough habit to break.
Take a few minutes each day to fight back with these neck and upper back exercises:
Upper Trap Stretch
The Upper Trap Stretch helps to stretch and relax the muscle between your shoulder and neck. When tight, this muscle can cause pain and limited range of motion.
1. Slowly tilt your head to one side and hold for 5-10 seconds.
2. Repeat on the opposite side.
Levator Scapulae Stretch
The levator scapula runs along the back and side of the neck and attaches to the shoulder. It functions primarily to help the head and neck rotate and bend to the side.
1. Gently turn your head to a 45 degree angle. Bring your nose to your armpit.
2. Repeat on the opposite side.
The Chin Tuck is an effective exercise for combatting neck pain as it helps to strengthen the muscles that pull the head back into alignment over the shoulders. It can also help you to develop good postural habits.
1. Tuck your chin for 2 seconds and then relax.
2. Repeat 8-10 times.
Wall Angels help to keep poor posture at bay by combatting muscle tightness and weakness.
1. Stand up straight, making sure that your shoulder, elbows, and bottom are touching a wall.
2. Keep your shoulders back as you use your arms to mimic the motion of a “snow angel”.
Urge Incontinence is a problem with the bladder that causes you to feel like you have to go to the bathroom suddenly, when really you don’t need to. But why does this occur?
While it could be based on a number of factors, one of the big things that we consider are bladder irritants—certain foods and beverages that can actually contribute to the irritation of the bladder lining, which normally protects the bladder from toxic contents in urine. “The Four Cs” is a helpful rule to remember when considering bladder irritants.
The Four Cs • Citrus: Fruits like oranges and limes contain high amounts of citric acid which can worsen bladder control. • Caffeine: Beverages like coffee and tea can increase bladder activity and contribute to higher urgency and frequency of urination. • Cocktails: Any type of alcoholic beverage will irritate the bladder and also act as a diuretic, increasing urinary frequency. • Carbonation: Beverages like soda (which often also contains caffeine) has been shown to worsen incontinence symptoms.
Pay attention when you have these things and if you notice an increased urge following, take note of that and consider making changes to your diet.
For those who work at an office job, sitting at a desk all day is pretty unavoidable. As most people come to find out, long periods of inactivity day after day isn’t the best thing for our joints and can lead to neck pain, shoulder pain and back pain. Therapydia physical therapist Michelle Fell, PT, offers a few simple tips to keep us all moving throughout the day.
• Park far away from your building to get a brisk walk in before and after work
• Take the stairs instead of the elevator
• Bring a water bottle to work and make yourself get up throughout the day to fill it up at the water fountain. Hydration and movement, great!
• Set a timer to remind yourself to stand up throughout the day and move around!
Visit our Resources page for more information on how to avoid neck pain, shoulder pain and back pain.
At Therapydia NOLA, our physical therapists address the unique musculoskeletal problems of the pelvic region to help and treat any functional limitations and also offer preventative services. As part of our Women’s Health Physical Therapy services, we field a lot of questions surrounding bathroom norms, urinary urgency and overactive bladders. Below are just a few things to remember when it comes to daily bathroom use:
When it comes to voiding, how many times should I be using the bathroom in a day?
Normally, you should use the restroom around 5-8 times per day.
How much water should I drink in a day?
To figure out how much fluid you should intake each day, take your body weight and divide that number by two. This amount of water in ounces that you should aim to intake each day.
For example: If you weigh 150 pounds: 150/2=75. You should be drinking at least 75 ounces of water per day.
For women, remember to always sit and to never push when voiding.
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles. Everything exits through here. We want these muscles to be relaxed in order to promote healthy habits.
Never “just in case” pee.
Everyone has a different tolerance within their bladders as far as how much it stretches. If you use the bathroom all the time throughout the day, this “just in case peeing” is teaching your bladder to tell you that you need to urinate when really you don’t need to.
Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a result of repetitive activities that cause the tendons in your elbow to become overloaded. The condition can not only be annoying but also worrisome as your livelihood may depend on performing motions that put you at risk. Symptoms such as tight or spasming muscles, pain when you extend or lift up the wrist, feelings of heat or tingling in the hands, and arm weakness can all be combatted with the assistance and expertise of a physical therapist.
For help with elbow discomfort, try these three stretches to target weakened areas along your arm that may be contributing to symptoms of pain.
#1: Forearm Stretch
To stretch the extensor tendons at the lateral part of the elbow.
• Extend your forearm straight out
• Flex your wrist down, put a little pressure on your fingers
• Pull toward your body
• Hold for 30 seconds
• Release and repeat two more times
#2: Wrist Extension
Strengthens the extension of the wrist, prevents recurrence of tennis elbow symptoms.
• Use a 1-3 pound weight (no more than 3 pounds)
• Support your forearm on a surface or table
• Lift your wrist up and slowly lower it all the way down
• Complete 10-15 repetitions, 2-3 times daily
#3: Pronation Supination
Strengthens the supinators of the forearm, helping to decrease the recurrence of tennis elbow.
• Hold the weight on the end, forearm supported on a surface or table
• Rotate your arm upward and back
• Complete 10-15 repetitions, 2-3 times daily
When Kristin Flower first started CrossFit nearly five years ago, she did so at CrossFit Roux in New Orleans. CrossFit quickly became a huge part of her life, benefiting her overall health as well as evolving into one of her biggest passions. The advantages of CrossFit were massive. Being a diabetic, Kristin was able to keep her health in check by working out consistently and it wasn’t long before the exercise regimen became one of her favorite hobbies.
One Saturday morning, Kristin woke up in a lot of pain. She couldn’t move. Her arm was numb. She had lost full range of motion in her head and neck. After a few unnerving minutes, Kristin’s fiance was able to help her to the couch and she did what she always does in situations when she’s feeling pain: she texted Jonathan at Therapydia NOLA. Despite it being a holiday weekend and although he was away attending a seminar, Jonathan asked Kristin to send him a few videos demonstrating her mobility. Thankfully, he was able to give her enough advice and instruction to get her through the weekend without her “completely freaking out.”
The beginning of her CrossFit injury recovery was tough. Kristin spent two months basically confined to her couch. Once the pain began to subside, she was able to start moving again and with Jonathan’s help, she worked her way up from slow movements to walking to eventually coming back to the gym.
Kristin was incredibly surprised just how difficult it was to come back. With CrossFit being such a huge part of her life, she found that she wasn’t able to lift or perform the exercises that she was used to do doing for so long. That wasn’t going to work for her. With Jonathan’s help and her own resolve, Kristin powered through her CrossFit injury recovery even when it was really difficult. For her health and her own personal well-being, Kristin admitted that there were things that she wouldn’t be able to do but she was determined to figure out the things that she could.
The attached article describes the difference between soreness and pain. People often don’t seek help until they are experiencing pain that limits them from participating in their fitness regimen of choice. We can help you stay injury free on your path to becoming the best version of yourself.
Our bodies move in the path of least resistance, meaning if you have limited range of motion in one area of your body, another area will pick up the slack. This is often referred to as a compensatory movement pattern. Over time with increased training loads and volume this can lead to injury. By having a movement assessment performed prior to starting a fitness program we can help you restore movement patterns and decrease your injury risk while improving your performance.
Call us today to schedule your movement assessment and let us guide you to optimal performance. 504.324.8345