Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nerve Endings

Yesterday I went to the physical therapist and we were talking about what we can do to solve the mysterious burning problem. She says that there are several nerve endings right around the pelvic floor area. And when I sit for long periods of time, those nerve endings can get irritated and sensitive. So she did what I guess you would call nerve stretching exercises.

The first one she did was to hold my leg up and push on my butt bone in different directions. Then she put a finger in my vagina and pushed the nerves around in different directions. I definitely felt pain while she was doing this, and she apparently was doing the light version because she said she didn't want to exacerbate the problem. Right after I left, I felt a lot of discomfort while I was sitting in the car driving away, but the pain subsided in about 30 minutes. And I didn't really feel any burning the rest of the night. I woke up this morning with no pain, but I have felt a little burning here and there so far today. We'll see how this nerve stretching works, but hey, I'll try anything at this point.

I also got hooked up to the EMG (don't know what that stands for, sorry) machine at my appointment. This machine measures how hard I clench my muscles and how much I'm able to relax them. I had two probes stuck to the inside of my butt cheeks (to measure my pelvic floor muscles), one on my hip, and one on my abdomen.

The abdomen probe was sort of like a control and was supposed to stay at a steady pace to show that I don't flex my abdomen muscles when trying to flex my pelvic floor muscles. I'm happy to report that at least I'm doing that part right. My abdomen muscles stayed very steady.

Apparently the resting number for the pelvic floor should be around a 3 (I can't remember the units, so sorry the number 3 doesn't have much meaning) and the first time I did this, my resting number was 10. This means that even when I was trying to relax my muscles, "relaxed" for them was really quite clenched. This time around my resting number was at 7, so I have made some improvement, however there is more to go. We did some muscle relaxing exercises (basically kegels) and I was able to bring that number down to a 5 in about 5 minutes. So that is encouraging to know that even if I am quite clenched, I do have the ability to make my muscles more relaxed.

For those of you who may have this clenching problem, it really does help to squeeze all those muscles down there for about 5 seconds, then release completely and do a pelvic drop, which is basically beyond release. My PT says it's like an elevator, when you release the muscles it goes down to the ground floor, but when you do a pelvic drop, it goes below the ground floor. Try it, I can really feel what she talks about. Anyway, do the clenching and releasing at least 3 times and your muscles will relax some. And the more you do it every day, the more you will have control over the ability to both squeeze and relax your muscles.

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