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Pelvic Floor and Singing: What’s the Connection?

Singing requires the use of the diaphragm, which can be affected by and/or affect your pelvic floor. If you are a singer and experiencing symptoms related to the pelvic floor, there could be a connection. Symptoms can include  incontinence, a heaviness in the perineal or vaginal area while you’re singing or perhaps feeling stuck in your progress with singing. Addressing imbalances in the pelvic floor can help with these issues.

How are the Diaphragm and Pelvic Floor connected?

The Diaphragm and Pelvic Floor are both part of the inner abdominal canister. The top of the canister is the diaphragm, which extends up into the rib cage, the front is the abdominals, the bottom is the pelvic floor and the back are the back musculature. 

The canister is a closed system, meaning anytime there’s pressure in this system, it needs to defuse other places. Picture a balloon: if I press on a balloon from the top, the pressure has to go somewhere so I feel the pressure at the bottom and on the sides.

So, when you’re contracting your diaphragm as you inhale, that pressure from the diaphragm contracting has to go somewhere, so it pushes down on the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor has to stretch or lengthen to accommodate that pressure. 

Pelvic Floor Tension Can Affect Your Inhalation

If you don’t have good length of your pelvic floor muscles, either due to tightness or weakness, you won’t be able to lengthen to accommodate the pressure of the diaphragm on the inhale. Additionally, if you exhale and the diaphragm is too weak, it won’t be able to lengthen. This means you have an imbalance in the abdominal canister. 

When you inhale, your pelvic floor has to lengthen. When you exhale, your pelvic floor has to contract. There’s a dynamic relationship in the abdomen. Any of these muscles can become too tight and, if that happens, you won’t be able to get the adequate length of the pelvic floor and the diaphragm can’t contract all the way down. That’s the connection between the diaphragm and the pelvic floor.

Other Conditions That Might Be Connected

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction can show up in other forms. Some conditions that might be connected to pelvic floor dysfunction:

All of these conditions can indicate the pelvic floor might be too tight. 

If you’re finding this is also affecting your progress with singing or being able to hit the high notes, or you’re just feeling a sensation that you can’t quite get your finger on, there could be a connection to the pelvic floor. 

Abdominals and the Low Back

The abdominals and low back also influence the abdominal canister. Low back issues can influence the pelvic floor and the diaphragm. If you’ve had a baby, that can cause a disruption in your abdominals called diastasis recti. This can change the way the canister works, which can influence the pelvic floor, diaphragm and your ability to sing.  

Treatment for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

It is  beneficial to see a pelvic floor physical therapist for treatment who can treat your whole body. To discuss your symptoms with one of our physical therapists, click here to schedule a complimentary phone consultation. 

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