Pelvic Pain After Weight Lifting
One-third of women suffer from a pelvic floor disorder at some point in their life. Due to various changes that go on in a woman’s body—from childbirth to menopause—women often experience weakness and pain in the pelvis.
Strenuous exercise, including heavy weight lifting, can worsen these issues. If you’re experiencing pelvic pain during or after exercise, this guide can help you get to the root cause of your issue and provide you with tips to manage your pain.
The Pelvic Floor: An Integral Part of Core Strength
Your pelvic floor is made up of muscles, ligaments, connective tissues, and nerves. Together, these important systems support your uterus, bladder, and rectum.
The pelvic floor is part of the body’s core, which consists of the muscles between the upper chest and the knees.
This includes the abdominal, trunk, back, hip, and pelvic muscles. All of these muscles work together to keep the body balanced and stable. A strong pelvic floor supports your organs and helps control your bladder and bowels.
On the other hand, a weak and damaged pelvic floor can lead to pelvic floor disorders like incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Certain factors can increase your risk of developing a weak pelvic floor, such as childbirth, menopause, age, and some surgeries.
Is Heavy Lifting Safe for Your Pelvic Floor?
You may have heard that exercising can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. This is true. While moderate exercise can be beneficial to the pelvic floor, there are certain risks you should be aware of.
For example, weight lifting can weaken or damage your pelvic floor. This is because strenuous exercise can create abdominal pressure and put more strain on your pelvic floor muscles.
If you have a healthy pelvic floor, there are plenty of exercises you can do to strengthen those muscles. However, it’s still important to avoid over-exercising.
On the other hand, if you have weak pelvic floor muscles, it’s best to avoid strenuous, high-impact exercise such as weight lifting, running, jumping, dance step aerobics, and most competitive sports. This type of physical activity can further weaken your pelvic floor muscles and even lead to pain.
What Causes Pelvic Pain After Weight Lifting?
Before discussing what causes pelvic after weight lifting, it’s vital that you understand the difference between pain and soreness. If you’re experiencing pain after working out, you might write it off as a good thing because it indicates your muscles are getting stronger.
But if you’re experiencing pain that’s debilitating, then you either have improper technique when weight lifting or you have a condition that causes pelvic floor weakness.
There are various conditions that can cause a weak pelvic floor, which can contribute to pelvic pain that worsens after exercise. These conditions include:
- Endometriosis: Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) is common in women who have endometriosis. Endometriosis occurs when the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. This can cause severe pelvic and abdominal pain.
- Irritable bowel syndrome: Women with irritable bowel syndrome (IBD) are more likely to have pelvic floor prolapse, which occurs when the pelvic floor weakens, causing the pelvic organs to fall downward into or out of the vagina
- Chronic pelvic inflammatory disease: Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of a your reproductive organs, usually caused by a sexually transmitted disease (STD). PID can lead to mild to severe pelvic pain.
- Ovarian cysts: Ovarian cysts are solid or fluid-filled pockets in or on the ovary. Most cysts don’t cause symptoms and go away on their own. However, a large ovarian cyst can cause pelvic pain.
- Urinary tract infection (UTI): Infections of the urinary tract are common causes of pain in the pelvic area.
- Obesity: While not a pelvic disorder, having extra pounds due to obesity can add more pressure to the pelvis. This can lead to a range of problems affecting the floor, such as organ prolapse, overactive bladder (OAB), and incontinence.
- Menopause: As you age, estrogen levels in your body decrease, which can lead to thinning pelvic floor muscles. This can quickly turn into pelvic pain.
But what if you don’t have any of these conditions, and you’re still experiencing pelvic pain during workouts? There are many reasons why you’re having pain in the pelvic area.
For example, if you smoke, you could be contributing to a weak pelvic floor. That’s because a chronic cough can put an immense amount of strain on those core muscles. Smoking can also make exercising more difficult in general.
Why? Because the nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarettes can narrow your arteries, which reduces the blood flow to your heart, muscles, and other organs, making exercise harder.
Heavyweights can also amplify abdominal pressure. As a result, they can put a lot of strain on the pelvic floor muscles. This is especially true if you’re not practicing proper lifting technique and paying attention to your posture.
How to Relieve Pelvic Pain After Exercise
Unfortunately, exercise—the very thing that can strengthen pelvic floor muscles—can also lead to pain and discomfort. So, how can you prevent pelvic pain during or after exercise?
One thing you should always do is stay hydrated. Not drinking enough water can lead to bladder inflammation, which can, in turn, cause pelvic pain. So, it’s important to stay hydrated, especially when weight lifting and engaging in other exercise.
You should also maintain a healthy weight. By maintaining a healthy weight, you can reduce pressure and inflammation around your pelvic bones and lower back. As a result, you can decrease the chance of pelvic pain while exercising.
Relieve Pain With Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
Women have a particularly high risk of pelvic pain during exercise. Conditions such as endometriosis, vaginal childbirth, and menopause can all contribute to constant pelvic pain.
If you’re dealing with pelvic pain after weight lifting or just in general, there are a few measures you can take to strengthen pelvic floor muscles. This includes kegel exercises, trigger point therapy, electrical stimulation, and biofeedback.
Each of these techniques is part of a comprehensive physical therapy treatment plan that Lake City Physical Therapy proudly offers. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.