3 tbsp of Mindfulness
Dr. Kim Bryant is a physical therapist that specializes in the care of women in all stages of life. She opened up her private practice in 2017 so that she could provide the high quality care without the restrictions and limitations of the corporate world. Dr. Bryant oversees and provides all care for the duration of your care which means more effective treatment and quicker results. When out of the office she enjoys running with the MomsRunThisTown (MRTT) group and chasing after her 2 young boys. If you would like to schedule an appointment or have questions for Dr. Bryant you can reach her at 602-791-9298 or go to her website (www.kimbryantpt.com).
1. Sitting long hours is the new norm. Can you tell us the effect sitting has on our pelvis?
The effects of prolonged sitting on our pelvis is detrimental to our overall health. Not only, does the hip joints and sacrum (the triangle shaped bone at the base of the spine) get stiff and painful but the entire body does too. Another thing that occurs when we sit for too long is that the muscles on the front side of our body such as our hip flexor can get tight. Since this muscle starts at the lumbar spine, courses through the pelvis to the front of the femur when it gets too tight can create back pain.
2. Many people are unaware of the role of pelvic health. What advice would you give women about bringing mindfulness in this very important aspect of our posture and well-being?
The pelvic floor muscles, along with our diaphragm, deep abdominals (transversus abdominus) and small back extensors (multifidus) make up the foundation of all our movements. This group of muscles are commonly known as “the core” or dynamic core system. When you reach up to grab a cup from the shelf the first that that activates is the dynamic core system. When this system is not working together as a cohesive team due to weakness, tightness or poor recruitment you may have symptoms of back pain, hip pain, or incontinence to name a few.
3. In layman’s terms, can you share with us the contribution of a strong pelvic floor to our core strength?
See above response but I would also add that it is the ability of the pelvic floor to dynamically work with the rest of the core stabilizers that provide us with the support we need. Components of this system never get to rest. Even when we are sleeping the pelvic floor needs to stay active or we would wet the bed and our diaphragm is active so we stay alive.
4. A lot of us assume that stress incontinence is a part and parcel of postpartum life. Is that true or are there ways to support our body?
That is a completely false statement. Incontinence is very common in women, 1 out of 4 women suffer with this condition BUT it is not normal. There are times when this can occur and it can be a normal course such as immediately postpartum, the first 4-6 weeks. I also have women say they were sick and had severe coughing episodes for 2-3 days and by the 3rd day they were leaking some. In those very specific cases I would not be concerned. However, if every time you laugh, cough or sneeze you are leaking, even a little that is cause for concern. This is a symptom that your dynamic core system is not working correctly. It’s like if your red engine light went on in your car. You can still drive it but if you don’t get it check out and keep driving what may have been a small issue can quickly turn into something bigger. With that being said, anytime you are leaking any amount of urine and you are not on the toilet that is a problem.
5. Breathing is a core of Yoga and mindfulness but shallow breathing can also affect our core strength. Can you share with us your thoughts on how something as simple as breathing can support our abdominal and pelvic floor muscles?
Like I stated previously, the diaphragm and our breath is part of that dynamic core system. When we take shallow upper chest breaths, we not only impact our bodies ability to consume and move oxygen but this also stimulates the stress response (fight or flight response) in our autonomic nervous system. Another reason an appropriate breath is so important is that when we take a good breath, whereby the diaphragm descends, the ribcage expands 360* and the abdominal and pelvic contents move ( like a piston in a car) this helps with relaxation, digestion, and blood flow.