Pelvic floor relaxation exercises can relieve pelvic pain and associated pelvic floor muscle spasm.
These Physical Therapist guided pelvic floor relaxation exercises are ideal for practicing regularly at home to support clinical treatment.
Pelvic floor relaxation video presented by Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway demonstrating 3 pelvic floor relaxation exercises: deep breathing exercises, lower deep abdominal muscle relaxation and pelvic floor muscle relaxation technique.
Please scroll down below this video for written guidelines and more expert tips for pelvic floor relaxation exercises.
Pelvic Pain and Pelvic Relaxation Physiotherapy (Audio Download)
Physiotherapy home management program with Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway. Designed for women with pelvic pain and pelvic muscle spasm conditions including:
- Painful intercourse
- Post partum pain
- Pelvic nerve pain
- Vulvar pain (vulvodynia)
- Interstitial cystitis
- Pain after pelvic floor surgery (hysterectomy, prolapse or incontinence surgery)
- Sexual abuse and emotional distress
Best Position for Pelvic Floor Relaxation
When starting out it is beneficial to position your body lying down for exercise 3 (pelvic floor relaxation).
For the purposes of the video above, all 3 exercises are demonstrated in sitting.
If sitting or standing feels uncomfortable then start all these exercises lying down and progress to upright positions when tolerable.
Let’s now examine each of the 3 pelvic relaxation exercises in turn:
1. Deep breathing exercises
2. Lower deep abdominal muscle relaxation
3. Pelvic floor muscle relaxation
Pelvic Floor Relaxation Exercise 1: Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing exercises help relieve pelvic floor muscle tension.
Shallow upper chest breathing can be associated with pelvic floor tension.
If you’ve ever practiced Yoga breathing you will be familiar with the diaphragmatic breathing exercise technique.
Deep Breathing Exercise Technique:
- Set your posture by lengthening your spine and lifting the crown of your head (if sitting or standing)
- Place your hands above your waist either side of your lower rib cage
- Inhale deeply bringing air into the base of your lungs – your hands should move outwards with the expansion of your rib cage
- Your belly should move forwards or outwards with your deep inbreath
- Exhale slowly and allow your rib cage to return to starting position
Pelvic Floor Relaxation Exercise 2: Lower Abdominal Muscle Relaxation
Many women habitually contract their lower abdominal muscles; sometimes as a result of intense core abdominal exercises with insufficient relaxation or in some cases to flatten the appearance of their belly.
Learning to relax the lower abdominal muscles helps to relax the pelvic floor muscles. Abdominal relaxation is also helped by the deep breathing exercises already described.
Abdominal Wall Relaxation Technique:
- Position your hands over your lower abdomen (belly) beneath your navel where your underwear sits
- If you are upright make sure that you sit or stand with tall posture
- Allow your lower abdominal wall to relax and bulge forwards into your hands
- Lower abdominal relaxation can be helped by practicing deep breathing at the same time.
Pelvic Floor Relaxation Exercise 3: Pelvic Floor Muscle Relaxation
If your pelvic floor muscles are in spasm it can be very difficult to feel whether they are contracted or relaxed.
The best position to start pelvic floor relaxation exercises is lying down in a comfortable position – either on your back with a pillow under your knees or side lying on your with a pillow between your thighs.
Take your time to learn to feel the difference between contracted and relaxed pelvic floor muscles- if your pelvic floor has been in spasm for a long time this can take a while to learn.
If you have pelvic floor spasm, pelvic floor contraction exercises should be avoided until you know how to relax your pelvic floor muscles.
Pelvic floor exercises for strengthening in the presence of pelvic muscle spasm can make symptoms much worse.
Pelvic Floor Muscle Relaxation Exercise Technique:
- Identify your 3 pelvic openings – around the anus, vagina and urine tube (urethra)
- Notice any feelings of tension or sensations in and around these 3 pelvic openings
- Try to release and relax the muscles in and around your pelvic openings and allow your pelvic floor to move downwards
- If you can’t feel your pelvic floor you may find that placing your hand outside the crotch in your briefs helps you relax your pelvic floor muscles
- Incorporate the 2 previous exercise techniques (deep breathing and lower abdominal muscle relaxation) when practicing pelvic floor relaxation exercises.
Avoid bearing down or straining downwards on your pelvic floor during pelvic floor relaxation exercises – the correct action is to gently lower your pelvic floor and release your muscles as if opening in and around your three pelvic openings.
Pelvic floor relaxation exercises should never cause physical discomfort. In the unlikely event that you feel discomfort during or after relaxation exercises cease them and consult with your medical practitioner. Pelvic floor relaxation is usually performed at home as an adjunct to clinical therapy.
Personalised information about your pelvic health?
Check out the online Pelvic Health Check