Purpose Statement

This blog is intended to educate women on issues that affect women. Although we are all healthcare professionals, we are not here to give medical advice. Rather we hope this will encourage women knowing that help is available and give them the courage to seek help.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Do you clench throughout your day?

Do you find yourself tight in your shoulders, back or pelvis and you don't know why? Do you clench your jaw or grind your teeth? I see women everyday that clench an area of their body and they end up in my office for physical therapy because of pain. Now I'm not saying that clenching your muscle is what is causing the problem but sometimes it contributes to it. We often times deal with stress by holding tension in our body. Muscle tension is a normal physiological response to stress (good or bad) or pain. If you have a tight area in your body, (your neck, shoulders, pelvis, jaw), that area is susceptible to getting even tighter or painful when you are stressed or in pain. We can't wave a magic wand and make stress or pain go away (I wish), but you can control how the stressful situation or pain affects your body. Be aware of a how a heated conversation, an argument with your husband, an unhappy email, a screaming child makes your body feel. Does it feel tight, tense? Instead of tightening your shoulders or clenching your jaw, try to take a deep breath. Drop your shoulders, relax your jaw, make sure your hips and back are heavy. Breathe into your lower belly. You can only control the way your body reacts . . . . .might as well control some of that tension.

As a pelvic floor physical therapist, I see women that have a lot of vaginal pain, LBP, pelvic pain. A lot of these women clench their bottom or pelvic muscles during the day and are completely unaware of doing so. By clenching this painful area, they contribute to their pain. Just being aware of relaxing this area and not holding stress in your body helps reduce the pain.

This clenching might contribute to bowel and bladder problems as well. Sometimes women are unaware how tense they are even when using the restroom. When you sit on the toilet your body is supposed to be relaxed. Your bottom cheeks should be heavy, legs and hips dropped. Your shoulders, neck and jaw should be tension free. There should be no tension in your feet or calf muscles. If you hold tension in any of these areas, it might prevent you from completely emptying during a bowel movement or make it difficult to start your urine flow.

Just another reminder to relax in this busy world! Or at least pay attention to your body and try to practice your deep breathing!