We work in conjunction with Thomas Myers’ Fascial Lines, non-advanced Personal Trainers and arguably traditional post-natal practices work in an Anatomy and Physiology approach i.e. individual muscles.
By working in the same mind set of Fascial Lines, we are able look at the body and all of the muscles involved in its movement functions on a larger scale i.e. from head to foot.
The body does not know individual muscles, it knows movement. If you take a step forward you are consciously aware of the big prime movers, maybe, such as the quadriceps, calves and hamstrings, however the body will have activated and recruited hundreds of muscles from your temples to your big toes.
Working on an anatomy and physiological level, traditional post-natal programmes can be hamstrung where muscles along certain fascial lines are not being engaged quite as well as they once were due to the adaptions the body takes during its journey of pregnancy.
Thomas Myers defined 12 different Fascial meridians, all taking various paths through the body from head to toe, all intersecting at different points within the pelvis via a direct or mechanical connection. Understanding the journey of these lines through out of the body provides a clearer vision of how the body functions within the paradigm of movement.
The Fascial Line we hold deep appreciation for during those crucial few months post-partum, is the Deep Front Line. Its journey through-out the body and areas along the line that could hinder a post-natal client’s true re-connection with her pelvic floor or enhance the process to heal diastasis recti (ab-separation) are key.
Summary of the Deep Front Line (DFL) journey;
- The DFL comprises the body’s myofascial core, sandwiched between many other lines, it holds an intimate relationship with the pelvis, therefore a pivotal role in core stability and pelvic health and function, relating the wave of breathing and rhythm of walking together.
- It starts at the sole of the foot, helping to lift the arch, passing by deep in the back of the lower leg and knee, to the inside of the thigh as part of the adductor muscle group.
- From the adductor group, it splits into 2 tracks, the first, main, passing in front of the hip joint, pelvis and on to the lumbar spine, while an alternate track passes up the back of the thigh into its first major bony station within the pelvis, the Ischial Ramus.
- Here it is pulling the pelvic floor fascia and obturator internus fascia together, before anchoring at its next bony station, the coccyx, tying the pelvic floor into one.
- Journeying up to the lumbar spine where it re-joins the main track, these 2 tracks connect to include the Pectineus, Iliopsoas, Quadratus Lumborum and the Anterior Longitudinal Ligament (which runs along the inside of the spinal column from pelvis to cervical spine).
- At the Psoas-Diaphragm junction, the track continues up the rib cage, in several alternate paths posteriorly and anteriorly around the thoracic cavity, connecting the diaphragm, abdominal wall, sternum, pericardium (membrane protecting the heart), Anterior Longitudinal Ligament, Pec minor with the anterior and posterior neck, including oesophagus, to the Occiput (base of the skull).
- Finally, it finishes its journey on the skull at the masseter (jaw muscles) and temporalis (temples).
- So, the DFL is involved in stabilising the feet, legs, breathing, core activation, pelvic stabilisation, stabilisation of the neck and head and formation of the floor of the mouth.
Pelvic Floor self-testing activities:
Carry out these next few steps, to not only test your pelvic floor, but also test our theories – guys you can do this too;
- Perform a Kegel and relax it again.
- Now create tension in your face by clenching your jaw, hold it clenched and perform a Kegel again.
- Kegel feel less powerful? Does a stressed/angry face interfere with your pelvic floor?
- Take a seated position, place a fist between you knees and exhale to the end of your breath whilst simultaneously squeezing your fist between your knees.
- Can you feel your adductors increasing the pressure in your pelvic floor?
- Take your hands and place them on the outside edge of your knees and as you exhale press your knees against your hands.
- Can you feel the external rotators of the hips increasing the tension in your pelvic floor?
- Stand up and let your pelvis find neutral (if your hip flexors are not already too tight) and set your pelvic floor and core.
- Actively tilt your pelvis forward
- Actively roll your pelvis backwards
- Can you feel the pressure differences in the pelvic floor
- Think about the postural changes of pregnancy and modern life, where the majority tend to be in an anterior pelvic tilt, consequently ‘turning off’ the optimal pelvic floor activation.
- Remaining in your standing position, tall and neutral with your pelvic floor activated
- Now push your chin forward, round the shoulders and whilst exhaling, try activating that pelvic floor.
- Connection weaker?
- Think about the postural changes of pregnancy, abdominals become weaker to allow room for growth of baby, the extra weight pulled on the shoulders due to breast feeding.
- Modern life with the increase of ‘Upper cross syndrome’ where the shoulders are rounding forward due to tight pectorals and tight upper traps, Vs weak deep neck flexors and weak lower traps, will already be compromising pelvic floor activation.
- Finally, remaining standing, activate the pelvic floor.
- Slowly, roll your feet into the middle (pronation)
- Slowly, roll your feet back to the middle then over to the outside edge (pronation)
- Notice the difference in tension of the Pelvic Floor?
- Think about the changes that can happen to feet during pregnancy, where foot size and weight gain can cause arches to fall and how that relates to Pelvic floor dysfunction post-partum?
We hope you can now agree, when we talk about Post Natal Pelvic floor re-connection, we can not really do so on a local, isolated muscle and exercise basis. We must look above and below to the area in context, addressing all the variations pregnancy can induce on an individual basis, distal to proximal (far from, next to) the pelvic floor in a systematic structured manner.
When we do so, we assist the individual not only become more mindful of their own body, we assist them to OWN their movement, optimising the body for the pressures in which the individual’s environment will exert on it, which in turn assists in reducing their individual risks of discomfort, pain and/or injury as their life as a mother continues it ever evolving path.
Does this only apply to new mums? Most certainly not!
Any mothers out there, be it 2 months or 20 years ago, Restore Prehabilitation & Recovery® can assist to regain true connection with your pelvic floor.
Hey Guys – Pelvic Floors happen to be part of you too, many, many males out there will have some form of pelvic floor dysfunction; which is a whole other journey.
But in the mean time Restore Prehabilitation can assist you now.