Pelvic organ prolapse is when one of your pelvic organs drops and pushes against the walls of your vagina. If you have this condition, it may feel like pressure against your vaginal canal, a bulging, or as if something is ‘falling out.’ Prolapse can occur when the muscles of your pelvic floor have experienced trauma or are too weak to support your organs.
The Tummy Team has been working with women to restore their core and pelvic floor for years, and splinting is a huge part of the rehab process. Many medical professionals are hesitant to recommend splinting the abdominals when someone has pelvic organ prolapse because they fear it will make things worse. While it’s true that if worn improperly, splinting can make things worse, we believe the benefits of splinting for rehab are too great not to address this.
Here are some guidelines to consider when splinting for pelvic floor concerns:
1. Splinting is Always Temporary
Splinting is used to support and facilitate the transverse abdominis – your corset muscle. Rehabilitating this muscle is the first step as it lays the foundation for strengthening your pelvic floor. Like training wheels for your core, it’s job is to help place the muscles in proper alignment for rehabilitation. However, it is the work you perform through our neutral pelvis training, pelvic floor exercises and functional activities that will truly restore function to your pelvic floor. During our program, we guide you in the process of wearing and then weaning from your splint, while encouraging you to depend on your core muscles more and more.
2. Never Wear Your Splint Too Tight
Wearing a splint too tight is the number one problem clients have, and can be detrimental to your healing. Splinting too tightly can decrease the necessary blood flow to the area and increase pressure against your pelvic floor, which will only make matters worse. If wearing a splint increases any pressure or puts you in any pain, it is being worn incorrectly. When you put on your splint, scoop up and in so that it supports and lifts your pelvic floor. Remember, the splint should cover your entire transverse muscle. A splint that is too short on your torso is just as bad as a splint that is too tight because it will push your organs down, rather than support them.
You can learn to measure yourself for a splint here.
3. Splinting Should Always Make You Feel Better
In most cases, habits of ignoring symptoms and powering through weakness contribute to the issue of prolapse. Learning to connect to the proper activation of your core and pelvic floor is essential to the rehab process. When worn as instructed, the function of the splint is to encourage your muscles to act in a way they may not yet be strong enough to do. It is intended to be supportive and improve your core and pelvic floor symptoms, as your strong corset muscle will eventually do. Proper splinting should never increase symptoms of pain, pressure or discomfort, especially in your pelvic floor. Instead, it should give you the sensory feedback and physical support to relearn how to activate your core and pelvic floor muscles effectively again.
Keep in mind that most pelvic floor dysfunction is directly linked to core weakness and poor pelvic alignment. The journey to healing your pelvic floor begins with core rehabilitation and alignment training. Abdominal splinting can play a significant role in the core rehab component of your pelvic floor restoration, so it is important to understand how to properly splint with pelvic prolapse.
As we always say around here: “Splinting alone is never the answer.” The Tummy Team offers a comprehensive approach to pelvic floor rehabilitation and we would love to help you restore your pelvic floor. Don’t settle for living with your symptoms, we can help you heal and be strong for the life you were meant to live.