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May 2018

What is Painful Bladder Syndrome (or Interstitial Cystitis)?

What is Painful Bladder Syndrome (or Interstitial Cystitis)? 520 250 Jennifer Lane

Also called Interstitial Cystitis, Painful Bladder Syndrome is a condition of chronic pain in bladder, pelvic floor, lower abdomen and low back that has persisted > 6 weeks with no infection present.  Urinary frequency and urgency are 2 additional symptoms. The average person urinates 7 times per day or every 2-4 hours. With Painful Bladder Syndrome, a person may go to the bathroom every 30-60 minutes. Urinating tends to be painful and incomplete. There is also an increased sense of urgency to get to the bathroom. While there is usually not any incontinence, there is an uncomfortable sense of urinary urgency. Women are 2-3 times more likely to suffer from this syndrome and there are many variables that may contribute to the pain syndrome including irritating foods and drinks, stress and dehydration.

Physical Therapy can help! If someone has been diagnosed with Painful Bladder Syndrome or Interstitial Cystitis, an evaluation by a specially trained PT should be performed. In this exam the PT is assessing for pelvic floor dysfunction including weak and/or tight muscles of the pelvic floor, reports of urinary frequency and urgency, reports of constipation or painful bowel movements, reported pain with intercourse and unexplained pain in pelvic region, bladder and lower back. Tightness, spasming and trigger points may be found in the 3 layers of pelvic floor muscles. These trigger points may refer pain to the bladder, low back or lower abdomen. Through soft tissue mobilization, the muscles can be restored to a normal state and Painful Bladder Syndrome symptoms can be reduced.

The treatment for painful pelvic dysfunctions differs from urinary incontinence issues. Treating a painful pelvic floor involves relaxing and lengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor whereas incontinence issues are treated with strength training. For someone experiencing a lot of pain from tight muscles, strengthening becomes part of the problem, not the solution.

To learn more about what PT can do for you, here is a helpful information from the Interstitial Cystitis Association. Read on…

Avoiding Upper Body Injuries

Avoiding Upper Body Injuries 612 408 Jennifer Lane

Playing sports is great fun and an excellent way to stay healthy and in shape, no matter what the age.  But what are the best ways to avoid injury while playing them? It’s important to train your muscles in the way you will use them during competition. Running every week at a 10-minute mile will not prepare you for sprinting up and down a soccer field on the weekend. The same muscles are being utilized but in a much different way. Throwing a ball in the backyard is not the same as pitching multiple innings in a baseball game. Whether you are playing in a rec league, a competitive league or professionally, there are steps you can take to protect your body from injury.  Here are just a few ways you can stay healthy and safe while having fun:

  1. Wear proper head gear: mouthguards, helmets, eye protection help prevent concussions and trauma to face and teeth. Football, lacrosse, ice hockey are contact sports that require proper head protection.
  2. Learn proper techniques: many injuries are sustained from over-use. If proper techniques are utilized while throwing a ball, hitting a puck or kicking a ball you can stay safe to play another day. Also, knowing how to check properly or tackle can help prevent you injuring someone else.
  3. Maintain a strong core: power is transferred from a strong core through the shoulders and hips. The spine stays protected from checks, hits, rapid deceleration and acceleration when you have a strong core. In contact sports, padding in addition to strong abdominal muscles can help protect the organs from any blunt force trauma.
  4. Treat an injury immediately: if you sustain an injury, R.I.C.E. immediately. Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevate. Continue with this protocol for first 72 hours until swelling resolves or until you can see a healthcare provider. If you hit your head, check for a concussion. Most coaches are now trained in screening for concussions. And don’t return to sports before you are ready. Returning to sports before you have healed properly just leads to re-injury and possibly more damage. Take the proper amount of time to recover and seek out a physical therapist to help you rehab correctly from your injury.

Read on for more information about Upper Body Injuries sustained in Ice Hockey. Need more? ProStock Hockey for all your hockey needs.


What is the Core?

What is the Core? 451 256 Jennifer Lane

Core strengthening or stabilization has become the buzz phrase in a lot of gyms and fitness classes. But what is it and what is it’s job? Think of the core as a canister. The top of the canister is the diaphragm. Yes, the diaphragm is a muscle and it is an important one! Not only does it help us breathe but it also is very important in having a strong core. The bottom of the canister is the pelvic floor muscles. There are three layers of muscles and their primary job is to keep us continent and to support our internal organs. The walls of the canister are made up of transverse abdominus, internal obliques, multifidus, gluteus medius/minimus and deep hip muscles. The main foll of all of these muscles are to provide a stable base from which to move. To be able to walk, reach for an object, get dressed or participate in any sporting activity, your core muscles activate to hold you stable and balanced. Weakness and instability in the core muscles leads to injury to joints and soft tissue. Weakness in core muscles can lead you to lose your balance and fall, strain your back or your neck. Peaple with weak core muscles tend to have chronic issues with their spine including neck pain and headaches, poor posture and low back pain.

How do you train these muscles to work properly? It is important to work with someone who can cue you correctly. We are great at compensating with stronger muscles whose primary job is not stabilization and this leads to injuries. A qualified physical therapist, pilates instructor or personal trainer can help you learn how to activate the muscles properly. But here are three tips to start you off.

Tip #1: With your hands on your lower ribs, take a deep breath in feeling the ribs expanding laterally into your hands. As you exhale feel your hands come back together. Practicing this and improving on rib excursion during deep breathing activates the diaphragm, one of the most important muscles in the core.

Tip #2: Stand up with good posture. Don’t force it by sticking your chest out or arching your low back. Stand naturally and then pull your belly button in towards your spine as if you were tightening your belt. Try not to move your rib cage or your pelvis while you do that. This is a subtle move and if you were doing this in a crowd of people, they wouldn’t even notice you doing it.

Tip #3: This may be the easiest. Squeeze your buttocks. In standing, sitting or lying down, tighten up those cheeks. This activates the gluts which are part of your core muscles. When contracting them, neighboring muscles also activate helping you have a more stable core.

For more info or help getting a stronger core, contact Jenn Lane at

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