Watch for the launch of my new app: "Pelvic Health PT, The Hecht Program". Launch Date: November 2013!!
Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) affects women (6 out of 10) and men (#'s unknown) and includes painful intercourse (women), painful or lack of erection (men), constipation, incontinence after prostatectomy surgery (men), leaking of urine and/or feces with laughing, exercise or with the urge to go. PFD can cause abdominal bloating, urinary urgency, straining during bowel movements, pain in the pelvic/groin, lower back and hips.
The app, "Pelvic Health PT, The Hecht Program" is a tool that I designed along with Kalpesh Wireless, a software company, to help men and women suffering from PFD, some too embarrassed to talk to their doctor about it, take action. By following some of my tips, techniques and exercises, you can regain a healthy pelvic floor. This app is best used while working with a licensed physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor rehabilitation.
When your physicians have run medical tests and all are negative for infection or inflammation and medication does not help, the most likely cause of your symptoms could be due to muscle and fascial restrictions, trigger points, weakness and incoordination of the internal and external muscle of the pelvis. The pelvic nerves become pinched as they travel from your sacrum through the gluteal, hip and pelvic muscles to innervate the pelvic floor region leading to further dysfunction and pain.
For over 17 years, my practice has healed thousands of men and women with PFD by lengthening restrictions, mobilizing the skin, muscle and nerves, teaching a tailored stretching and strengthening and postural home program.
The Pelvic Health PT, The Hecht Program has over 50 exercises and awareness techniques to regain a healthy pelvis and pelvic function. Improved sexual function, decreased pain, improved bowel and bladder habits, and a stronger core are the results.
The app has 4 parts: 1) Symptom Tracker 2) Set Reminder, 3) Pelvic Relaxation & Stretching, 4) Pelvic Floor and Core Strengthening.
1) Symptom Tracker: Before starting some of my exercises and awareness techniques, go to the "My Symptoms" page and input each one of your symptoms /dysfunction. Be as detailed and descriptive as you want. Then for each symptom/dysfunction, rate the level of pain or discomfort on scale of 0 to 10, 0 = no pain or no trouble and 10 = worst pain or the most difficult. After you input this detailed information, start to incorporate some of the awareness techniques and exercises that your pelvic floor physical therapist recommends. If you do not have a pelvic floor physical therapist and working independently under the care of your physician, start slowly with the gentle tips/exercises incorporating one or two new things at a time. No exercise should increase your pain or symptom for more than 3 days following the exercise. If this happens, stop the exercise and consult with a pelvic floor physical therapist. If all is progressing well, at the 2 week or 1 month from starting Pelvic Health PT, The Hecht Program, go to "My Symptoms" page and rate your symptoms at that point. After 2 months, you should see some functional progress. The symptom tracking helps you see that your body CAN change and motivates you to continue doing what you have started.
2) Set Reminder: You can program a reminder in your I-phone for an exercise or awareness technique that needs to be done many times a day. For example, a quick way to lower stress is to perform the Diaphragmatic Meditative Breath. Program your reminder in the app for this exercise every 2 hours. You can become more calm during the day and prevent the build up of muscle tension, shallow breath and decreased oxygenation.
3) Pelvic Floor Relaxation and Stretching: Most people with PFD need to do the awareness techniques and pelvic floor relaxation BEFORE they start to do the strengthening, or, "Lengthen before Strengthen" Anyone with pain should also do the relaxation exercises, assess their postures during the day (via photograph), adjust poor postures and do not start any strengthening exercises when first starting my program. Contracting or shortening an already tight muscle/fascial group will cause further tension and result in increased pain. Your pelvic floor physical therapist will guide you to become aware of your pelvic muscles, teach you how to relax and lengthen all the muscles that attach onto the pelvis (hamstrings, inner thighs, hip flexors, plus more) before doing any strengthening.
4) Pelvic Floor and Core Strengthening: Once the muscles are stretched, the trigger points released and you are doing regular daily stretches, a gentle core strengthening program can begin. The app gives a progression from basic pelvic floor and abdominal recruitment, to full planks for maximum core stabilization training. To insure long lasting results of pelvic floor rehabilitation, the core must be strengthened.
The app is best used while under the care of a licensed physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor rehabilitation. Your physical therapist can direct you on which specific exercise to perform, teach you how to do the movements, perform manual therapies to reduce tension and trigger points and guide you on when to start a strengthening program.