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47 hampstead Rd 2

47 Hamptsead Rd

New premises for Sue Croft Physiotherapy Practice

47 Hampstead Road, Highgate Hill from 6th July, 2015

I am writing this blog in the midst of great excitement, change and chaotic ‘busyness’ in my life. Many of you will know we have recently purchased a bigger premises at 47 Hampstead Road, Highgate Hill to enable other physiotherapists to work at my practice and help with the treatment of women, men and children with pelvic floor problems. The renovations are nearly finished and the big move is scheduled for next weekend. Once that move is completed immediate work starts on my old premises at 194 Gladstone Road, Highgate Hill to create a new space called Studio194 Sue Croft PhysioFitness. This is a pelvic floor safe exercise space with Pilates, yoga, dance and more. This has been a dream which really only sprung to life recently, when an office which I had admired for ever came on the market and we were lucky enough to secure a loan to purchase and renovate the building at 47 Hampstead Rd, Highgate Hill. It’s a little daunting to contemplate the future with such a mortgage but I feel it was meant to be and let’s see how it goes. (The children may be less pleased about inheriting a giant debt!)

So let’s revisit what the term pelvic floor safe means? Michelle Kenway, a continence and women’s health physio and author of Inside Out coined this term pelvic floor safe exercising back in 2009 and it is such an important concept to embrace when exercising following childbirth and especially when you have had any gynae repair surgery or even following a hysterectomy. The term means that when exercising you need to protect your pelvic floor by avoiding certain abdominal exercises (sit-ups, curl-ups, crunches, double leg lifts) and lifting excessively heavy weights. And of course by bracing or engaging your low tummy, and pelvic floor muscles (vagina and anus for women, base of the scrotum and anus for men) prior to doing any exercises in the gym.

So whilst Pilates and Yoga have excellent elements to them it is critical to modify them to incorporate pelvic floor safe concepts. Similarly, going to the gym, where you can increase muscle mass and undertake exercises to maintain bone density and improve cardio-vascular fitness, can also cause havoc if you are doing activities which cause unnecessary increases in intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) which can funnel down the vagina which acts like a hernia portal. This is when pelvic organs such as the bladder, uterus and bowel can prolapse and descend to even OUT of the vagina. I assure it isn’t a good look – having washboard abs but a significant prolapse ‘down below’. And yes men can develop rectal prolapse as well from lifting excessively heavy weights at the gym or straining at stool AND they can develop over-active pelvic floor muscles like women can, from always tightening their abs constantly. This can give them pain in the most personal area (scrotum, testicular and penile pain). These wrong sort of exercises especially boot camps have helped feed my family over the years……

         Anterior wall prolapse copy

So what can we do?

Firstly if you’ve had a baby or gynae repair surgery, give your pelvic floor (and abdominal muscles if you’ve had a baby) a chance to recover post delivery or post-op. Take your time – it’s not a race to get fit – if you do it in a careful, measured, ‘paced and graded’ way then you won’t introduce ridiculous, downward forces which will cause lax fascia (such as the walls of the vagina or the rectum) to descend.

Start your pelvic floor muscle training early post-natally, but wait till your surgeon gives you the word post-operatively after gynae or colorectal surgery. Start with gentle walking, for short distances and increase as you feel stronger, making sure you assess downward drag the next day before you increase the length of the walk and the intensity of the pace.

And when you are past the six week mark, you can now start exercising in a safe way at my new exercise studio Sue Croft PhysioFitness Studio194. It will be opening in August so keep an eye on this space and look out for details. The website is not active yet but will be soon.

If you can’t remember the number in the web address just go to my Sue Croft website and there will be links to it from there.

And remember!

Growing old is inevitable – how you do it is the choice you have #getmoving #staymoving

yoga class