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Scoliosis and Pelvic Floor Health | Image Courtesy of Joyce McCown of Moon Shadow Press via Unsplash
Scoliosis and Pelvic Floor Health | Image Courtesy of Joyce McCown of Moon Shadow Press via Unsplash

Learn About the Link Between Scoliosis and Pelvic Floor Health

Scoliosis is a 3D curvature of the spine. 

If you recall from part 1, scoliosis is a 3D curvature of the spine.  Some people get it in early childhood or adolescence, and others get it as an adult.  This can lead to low back pain, breathing difficulties, and ... affect the function of the pelvic floor muscles! 

Because the spine is shifting in different directions (side to side or even rotation), it affects the segments above, and the segments below, all the way to the pelvis (hello pelvis floor muscles!).  As a result, there is a combination of strength and weakness asymmetry in the trunk, pelvis and lower legs.  This can lead to low back pain and pelvic floor dysfunction.  Because of the asymmetry of the pelvic floor muscles, they are not as effective, and symptoms like pain or incontinence can occur.

How does Scoliosis present?

Scoliosis can present in different ways, depending on how it is shifted and location of the spine, it can change how the spine moves while we are in motion. Pasha, et al. found that there were differences in how the spine moved during simple movements between different types of scoliosis, as well as differences between those who don’t have scoliosis and those who do. As you can imagine, depending on how the spine moves, the body can either compensate in an effective manner or it can worsen and cause pain.

Scoliosis and Joint Dysfunction

There is also a known strong positive association between those with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and sacro-iliac joint dysfunction. This can lead to pain with dressing, moving in bed, or walking. 

Scoliosis' Affect on Lungs and Breathing

The lungs can also be affected. There is a connection between breathing and the pelvic floor through the diaphragm. As the lungs may shift as a result of the scoliosis, this can create changes in the intra-abdominal pressure causing a downward pressure towards our pelvic floor. This can cause weakness or cause the muscles to work too hard to support our organs (i.e. prolapse can occur).

In conclusion, scoliosis and other orthopedic issues (head to toe!) can definitely influence the pelvic floor! Have questions? Let us know :) 


References:

Pasha, Saba, et al. “Characterizing Pelvis Dynamics in Adolescent With Idiopathic Scoliosis.” Spine, vol. 35, no. 17, 2010, pp. E820–26. Crossref, doi:10.1097/brs.0b013e3181e6856d.

Perkins, Jan, et al. “Idiopathic Scoliosis and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction.” International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, vol. 19, no. 2, 2012, pp. 106–10. Crossref, doi:10.12968/ijtr.2012.19.2.106.

Šarčević, Zoran, and Andreja Tepavčević. “Association between Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis and Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction in Young Athletes.” Medicine, vol. 98, no. 15, 2019, p. e15161. Crossref, doi:10.1097/md.0000000000015161.

What Our Patients Have to Say

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Testimonial by M.N., age 28

A personal journey and testimonial from one of my patients:

I was diagnosed with vaginismus 4 years ago. I never heard of such medical condition until after I got married. At first my husband and I didn't know what to do, we didn't know what the issues were or how to overcome it. Being born and raised in Armenia and being Christian I wasn't that open about talking to sex with others and so it wasn't easy to seek help. But eventually I went to an Ob-Gyn and luckily she knew about the medical condition (not many doctors know). She referred me to a physical therapist and I couldn't believe it and thought it's something I can handle myself. I ordered a kit from vaginismus.com and started practicing with dilators. There was some small progress but wasn't much helpful.

Read more: Testimonial by M.N., age 28

Testimonial by A.B.

Before I was referred to Heather Jeffcoat I was living in a nightmare. I had been married to my husband for three years and I was suffering from Vaginismus. That all changed when I visited my OBGYN and she said she knew of someone with a great success rate. To be honest I was hesitant at first because my first doctor had already told me that all I needed to do was order dilators from the internet and I should overcome my problem. She was wrong because I had followed the book on how to use the dilators with absolutely no advancements in my condition. However, that all changed when I went in for my first visit and Heather took the time to explain my condition and how we were going to work together to overcome it.

I remember leaving her office with a glimmer of hope that I could live a normal life. As my sessions continued I began to see immediate results. With only four sessions and a strict dedication to my home programs I was cured of Vaginismus. In the beginning of this process I was made aware that my health insurance company might not cover the costs, which was disappointing but today I can say one hundred percent that it was the best money I ever spent. Now thanks to Heather I am finally enjoying my life to the fullest with my husband. Thank you Heather, I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate all that you have done for me. I will never forget it. Those who are suffering from these types of conditions don’t be afraid because she makes you feel so comfortable and the end result is worth it. Good luck to you all and I hope you experience the success I have.
-- A.B.

Testimonial by S.S., age 54

Heather is the best! I saw her today for terrible hip/groin pain. I was so impressed with the safety measures in place and felt completely safe . Thanks for the healing hands.

S.S., age 54

Testimonial by Julie T.

Femina PT (née Fusion Wellness & Physical Therapy) has honestly changed my life. Before receiving treatment at Femina, I was going doctor to doctor to try and find the answer to my pelvic pain. It has taken me YEARS to find someone that can help fix this. It wasn't until my gynecologist recommended your clinic that I finally felt relief. My pelvic pain is almost gone, and granted I still have a lot more to work on with Laureen (my PT), my original problem is nearly cured. I am so grateful to her.

What is even better is she gave me practical exercises to do at home that were not tedious and provided instant (and lasting) relief. Although I mainly work with Laureen, my interaction with the owner (Heather) has been great. She is very generous, kind, and committed to her business.

It hurts to know there are women out there suffering who will never know or have the opportunity to work with women like Laureen and Heather because this issue is hardly talked about and this field is so rare. I hope more doctors and physical therapists see the value in this work and can relieve more woman of their pain.

-- Julie T., 12/4/16 via Yelp!

Testimonial by R.D., age 38

"I had a severe tear during childbirth that was not stitched together correctly and therefore healed poorly. Even after having a surgery a year later to remove the scar tissue, I was still having pain, and no one could explain why -- there was no overt 'reason' to explain the pain. I had tried other 'specialists' and even saw another physical therapist who had me do hip / leg stretches -- what a joke! I was about to give up and just 'live with it' until thankfully I kept searching online and found Heather.

Read more: Testimonial by R.D., age 38

Testimonial by A.M.

Months after giving birth, it was difficult for me to go from a sitting or lying position up to a full standing position without feeling that I had to remain hunched over until a bit of time had passed to get fully upright. However, after taking Heather’s course, I learned exercises to get my body back to normal. She also showed me correct ways to lift and carry my son as well as put him in/take him out of the carseat and stroller. This class was really beneficial and Heather is a wonderful teacher who made me feel very comfortable.

-- A.M.

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