Constipation. Bet you didn’t think this was something you could go to Physical Therapy for.
Am I really about to talk about poop on Instagram? (I would insert a poop joke here to make this less awkward, but poop jokes aren’t my favorite. They are a solid number two though.) Yes, yes I am.
Everyone poops right? At some point in your life, I’m sure you’ve experienced constipation. You sit there for at least 5+ minutes, scroll through your social media platform of choice, and still nothing. Usually, this just happens on the rare occasion and before you think about it again you’re back to being regular. What happens though when this becomes a more regular occurrence? You don’t go daily, but rather you are only going every 4 days or maybe even longer without having a bowel movement (BM). This can wreak havoc on your body. (Just an FYI, normal is anywhere between 3x/day to 3x/week)
Excessive straining typically experienced with constipation can lead to nerve damage or stretching of the pelvic floor muscles subsequently weakening the muscles. Why does it matter? Well, if you’ve read the post about the pelvic floor, those muscles are an important part of your core that helps to support your spine, pelvis, and your pelvic organs. If these muscles are impacted, it can lead to low back pain, pelvic pain, hip pain meanwhile, you are still dealing with being constipated.
While the exact cause is often not known in many people who experience chronic constipation, there are many factors that can lead to constipation. Some of these include:
Poor diet or limited water intake
Other health conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, neuropathy
Avoiding having a BM when you get the urge to go
Poor positioning during a BM
History of trauma to the pelvic floor muscles, tailbone, pelvis or low back
So, if there are many causes of constipation, how can PT help your bathroom woes? PT can address underlying muscle or joint dysfunction that may be contributing to constipation or painful bowel movements by using hands-on techniques, relaxation training, therapeutic exercise, as well as figuring out other tricks to help get you to go. For example, did you know that warm liquid in the morning helps to stimulate your bowels? Okay, maybe some of you already knew that, but if you didn’t, give it a try and see if it gives you that extra little push.
So grab yourself a cup of coffee and get going! Give us a call. Our Women’s Health therapist, Rebekah, has done extensive amounts of specialized training specifically so that she can help you learn about conditions like this, work with you on treatment options and take control!