5 Signs Your Pelvic Floor Is Tight

Typically, when your muscles are sore, the signs are obvious. You experience pain and tightness in the area, possibly cramping and maybe muscle fatigue. While muscle tightness and tension can happen on your pelvic floor, the signs may differ from what you typically experience. In fact, many of the symptoms of a tight pelvic floor occur in other areas of the body, making it difficult for many to self-diagnose the condition. If you’re curious whether you live with a tight pelvic floor, assess your body for the following symptoms.

1. Difficulty Urinating

When your pelvic floor muscles are in balance, you may never think twice about your bladder function. This is because when you urinate, your pelvic floor muscles do all the work for you without you even having to think about releasing fluids. However, if your pelvic floor is hypertonic — meaning it is chronically contracted, shortened or tight — urinating may not come so naturally. When you sit down, you may have difficulty relaxing your pelvic muscles enough to release urine or to empty your bladder fully. In addition to being frustrating, this symptom can also cause discomfort, as it may result in you feeling a chronic urge to urinate.

2. Pain During Intercourse or Penetration

You may not experience any other symptoms of a tight pelvic floor, but if you live with a hypertonic pelvic floor, you will experience pain when something — whether it be a finger, penis or tampon — penetrates the vaginal walls. Upon penetration, your pelvic floor muscles should relax and lengthen to allow the object in. However, penetration is likely to cause extreme physical discomfort if the muscles are chronically tight.

3. Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a common but often overlooked symptom of a tight pelvic floor. Research shows that tightness in the pelvic region causes tension in the surrounding areas, including the lower back, pelvic girdle and hips. Evidence also suggests that weak pelvic floor muscles can also cause lower back pain, as the condition causes core stability issues.

4. Leaking Urine

Some people with a tight pelvic floor experience difficulties when trying to urinate, while others experience ongoing leaking. If your pelvic floor muscles are constantly contracted, they may be unable to close the urethra properly after urinating. This may result in continuous continency.

5. Constipation

A final surprising symptom of a hypertonic pelvic floor is chronic constipation. To release stool, both your pelvic floor and anal sphincter must work together to lengthen and relax enough for the stool to pass through the rectum and out of the anal opening. When the pelvic muscles are continuously contracted, they can’t perform their part of the job, thereby making bowel movements painful and difficult.

Relieving Pelvic Floor Tightness

A tight pelvic floor can cause significant pain and discomfort and drastically interfere with your everyday life. The good news is that loosening those muscles is easier than you might think. To effectively release tension, try doing the following:

  • See a physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor therapy, as they can help you pinpoint the issue and advise you on the best course of treatment.
  • Avoid Kegels, as Kegels will only contract your muscles further.
  • Do floor lengthening stretches, such as deep squat stretch and happy baby.

Pelvic floor tension can manifest strange symptoms throughout the lower half of your body. If you experience one or several symptoms, perform a self-assessment and try the above tips.

5 Simple Ways to Enhance Your Posture

Remember when your teacher constantly shouted, "no slouching" in school? At the time, you may have thought it was no big deal. After all, everyone slouches, right? So what harm can it really do?

As it turns out, bad posture doesn't only affect how you look. It can also harm the health of your back by putting strain on the muscles around your spine. That might explain why you experience those bothersome aches and pains so frequently.

The good news is that there are many effective methods for improving your posture and decreasing your back pain. Here are a few you can try immediately!

1. Wear the Right Shoes

While high heeled shoes look amazing, they're not the greatest for your body. High heels throw off your balance and make it harder to maintain good posture while standing. They also put stress on your feet, ankles, and knees, which may lead to joint dysfunction down the line.

You don't have to give up heels forever, but you should limit them to special occasions. Instead, look for comfortable, supportive shoes that also offer style and visual appeal. What a great excuse to go shoe shopping!

2. Start an Exercise Regimen

Building up your core muscles makes it easier to maintain good posture, as your spine will be supported appropriately. Exercise can also improve joint flexibility, help you maintain a healthy weight, and provide ample energy.

Core exercises include sit ups and crunches, but planks are also beneficial. You can also look into joining a yoga class at your local gym to enhance flexibility. If you currently experience joint issues, swimming offers a full body workout without inflaming your joints.

3. Sit Correctly at Your Desk

For office workers, seated posture is a major concern. Sitting for many hours a day can wreak havoc on the health of your spine, which will lead to a wide range of back problems and dysfunction.

The first step is to modify your workstation for maximum health. Your computer and keyboard should be easily accessible from your chair, so no straining is necessary. Additionally, the monitor or screen must be at eye level to keep your neck straight.

When it comes to your chair, be sure to sit up straight so your shoulders are firmly against the back. Your feet should be flat on the ground with your knees bent. Don't cross your legs, as this creates an imbalance in your body. Chairs with neck and lumbar support are also preferred.

4. Reduce Use of Mobile Devices

Have you ever heard of "text neck"? Think about how you usually look at your phone when checking out your favorite social media sites or reading the news. Chances are that your neck is probably bent over the screen as you scroll.

This posture can put a major strain on the neck and spine, especially when it's a regular habit. Accordingly, try to limit your use of a mobile device to two hours a day or less. And when looking at your smartphone, keep your head elevated and your neck straight.

5. Be Mindful of How You Sleep

Sleeping posture is another important factor to consider. The way you sleep can contribute to back pain during your waking hours. This is particularly true if you regularly sleep on your back, which can create a lot of stress on the lower spine.

Instead, try sleeping on your side. If you need a little extra support, place a pillow between your legs to keep the spine in proper alignment. And if your mattress has seen better days, consider an upgrade.

The hidden benefit of good posture is a more confident, in-command demeanor. As you build strength and adjust your habits, you'll also experience a surge of self-esteem and good feelings!

Prescribing Nature? Why Some Experts Say That Nature Is the Key to Staying Healthy

Everyone loves vacation. Some families prefer tropical getaways and others adore the Rocky Mountains. My favorite memory is a time our family visited the Amazon rainforest, swimming in a cove with lush plants and waterfalls. These trips all have something in common: beautiful nature.

What Are the Health Benefits of Nature?

The effects of nature are so positive that doctors are starting to write prescriptions for ecotherapy, or nature trips:

  • Fighting stress and depression: One of the biggest benefits of being in nature is that it improves your mood. Stress, anxiety and depression practically disappear. You feel relaxed, positive and energized.
  • Increasing your sense of wellbeing: Studies show that people who spend time in nature are more likely to feel deep satisfaction, meaning and joy in life.
  • Protecting your body: People who spend time outdoors every week have a lower risk of heart disease, respiratory problems, diabetes and overweight.
  • Strengthening your immune system: An excursion into the woods or a weekend at a national park can boost the effectiveness of your immune system, helping you stay healthier.
  • Relieving pain: When you get plenty of sunlight, it can trigger pain relief for your entire body. In fact, these rays may even increase healing, curing cuts and some injuries more quickly.

You don’t need to go it alone to improve your health. An enjoyable outing with friends or family members can actually increase the mental, physical and emotional benefits you receive.

[insert page='Offer' display='content']

Why Is Nature So Good for You?

Think back to the last time you visited a park, beach or forest. First, imagine the sights. Do you see gorgeous fields of wildflowers, colorful hummingbirds or majestic mountains?

The reason beautiful vistas are calming is because they interrupt the negative thoughts that stress makes you replay over and over in your mind. Nature captures your attention and gets you to focus on something positive, interesting and wonderful instead.

Now, remember the scents. Do you smell a salty ocean breeze, fresh green plants, delightful roses or irresistible cedar?

These aromas do more than tempt your nose. They contain natural aerosols, tiny bits of essential plant oils, that can trigger certain hormones in your body. That’s one reason why pine forests are so calming.

What about the sounds? Can you remember the chirping of birds, the gentle rustling of leaves or the smooth crashing of waves at the ocean?

Nature sounds are proven to have a soothing effect on your brain, making you feel relaxed and helping you sleep better at night. Even the absence of sound is enjoyable, that total peace and quiet you only find in nature. 

Where Can You Go?

Going outdoors doesn’t have to be complicated. The important thing, according to studies, is to get at least two hours of ecotherapy every week. The two hours can be split into 20 minutes every day or a full morning on the weekend.

Go for a walk in the park or plan a bonfire with friends in the country. National parks are the purest form of nature, but not everyone lives close enough to go regularly. If you have woods near your house, enjoy a hike through nature trails. Take a trip to the beach or the lake.

Get as far away from the noise pollution and air pollution of the big city as possible. You can even get benefits by working in your garden or watching hummingbirds on your patio. Don’t plan too much — just do it!

Do you have a favorite nature getaway you want to share? Tell me about it in the comments below!

What Everyone Gets Wrong About Turmeric

I’m a big believer in the healing power of turmeric, mainly because I’ve experienced its effects for myself. Turmeric delivers natural pain relief that’s just as powerful as extra-strength Tylenol or Advil, but without any dangerous side effects. So, what’s the problem?

Well, with all the hype going around, most people don’t actually understand how turmeric works, so they end up using it wrong. This cancels out pretty much all of the benefits you should be getting, so it ends up being a complete waste. If you follow the instructions I’m going to tell you, I promise you will see a night and day difference.

The Real Power Behind Turmeric

When you see fantastic news articles and TV shows raving about the power of turmeric, they’re not wrong. What they don’t often explain, however, it that it’s not the yellow powder on its own that has such a huge effect. The real secret is actually a tiny antioxidant in turmeric called curcumin. This medicinal compound only makes up about 3% of turmeric.

Curcumin is the real powerhouse that shines when it comes to relieving pain. This tiny antioxidant packs a huge punch, fighting inflammation in every part of your body, from joints and muscles to veins and nerves. There are a lot of scientific studies that back up the great effects of turmeric, but most of them focus specifically on curcumin.

The Idea Most People Have

Most people think that it’s enough to add a little turmeric to meals and they’re going to magically get all of the benefits that curcumin offers. They may find a spicy banana smoothie recipe that calls for sprinkling some turmeric on top and think they’re good for the day. Unfortunately, that’s not even close to true.

To enjoy the phenomenal anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric, you need around 500–1,000 mg of curcumin a day. So, how much curcumin is in 1/2 teaspoon (1,000 mg) of turmeric? Just 50–100 mg. That banana smoothie suddenly needs a LOT more turmeric to give you any anti-inflammatory benefits.

[insert page='Offer' display='content']

The Right Way To Take Turmeric

Don’t get me wrong, if you want to add turmeric to curry, or drink golden tea, or stir some turmeric into a smoothie, there’s nothing bad about it. Your food will have some extra flavor and you’ll get a small amount of antioxidants, which is better than nothing.

To really experience the benefits of this amazing Indian spice, however, you need to take a supplement. Before you buy, look at the amount of curcumin on the supplement’s label. It should have concentrated turmeric with at least 95% curcuminoids added.

One More Thing

The final thing that most people don’t know is that the body isn’t very good at absorbing turmeric on its own. Most of its antioxidants and vitamins get lost. Adios curcumin and pain relief.

I told you I was going to share all of my secrets, though, so here’s a great one that makes a huge difference: use black pepper extract, or piperine. When you pair turmeric with piperine, suddenly your body can absorb 2,000% times more nutrients! High-quality turmeric supplements should have piperine or BioPerine.

Trust me, just take a supplement. It’s so much easier than trying to think up ways to add a teaspoon of turmeric to everything. And it works!

Staying Hydrated: Why It Matters and How It Prevents Pain

Did you know that one of the best secrets to preventing pain is completely free? It’s something that all of us have right at home: good old H2O!

The Connection Between Staying Hydrated and Alleviating Pain

Your body already has a lot of built-in pain relievers working for you. Some of these systems are designed to get rid of harmful substances, and others contribute to healthy joints by building cartilage. Special brain chemicals called endorphins calm pain naturally and make you feel happier. Water plays a big role in all of these systems.

H2O helps with pain relief in five main ways:

  • Lubricating the right tissues

  • Getting rid of toxins and pain-causing substances

  • Delivering nutrients throughout the body

  • Stimulating the production of pain-calming endorphins

  • Keeping joints healthy

Staying hydrated can help to reduce inflammation in your knees, ankles, toes, shoulders, neck, elbows and wrists. Water lubricates and cushions all of your joints, keeping them as comfortable as possible. Drinking plenty of water also protects your nerves and spinal cord.

Painful Conditions That Benefit When You Drink More Water

Everyone needs water to stay happy and healthy, but this miracle liquid is especially important if you have chronic pain conditions:

  • Gout: Getting plenty of water can help prevent gout attacks. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why this is helpful, but it can make a big difference. Water appears to help your body clear out excess uric acid.

  • Migraines: Dehydration is a common trigger of migraine headaches.

  • Other headaches: When you’re running low on water, it can cause a dehydration headache, a pulsating or throbbing aching on both sides of the head.

  • Kidney stones: Not getting enough water can lead to the formation of these painful stones in some people. Staying hydrated reduces your risk significantly.

  • Arthritis: Did you know that about 60% of cartilage is made of water? Staying hydrated is essential for slowing down cartilage damage and preventing friction pain.

Water isn’t a magic painkiller, but staying hydrated is an essential part of pain relief. Make sure to get your 8 glasses a day if you experience any of these conditions frequently.

[insert page='Offer' display='content']

Other Benefits of Drinking Enough Water

Getting plenty of water is actually one of the most important things you can do for your health. The benefits of H2O go way beyond pain relief. It supports natural weight loss, good digestive health and healthy blood sugar control. It keeps your skin looking radiant and nourished. Water is even related to higher energy levels and a positive mood!

How does this wonderful liquid help you slim your tummy? For one thing, it can calm sugar cravings. Drinking water with meals helps you avoid overeating. You feel satisfied with smaller portions.

Water also benefits your digestive system. Eating lots of fiber is important for all of us, but it doesn’t do much unless you also stay hydrated. Plus, water helps you eliminate toxins from your body without any extreme cleanses.

Tips for Staying Hydrated

I know that it’s not always easy to stay hydrated. During the winter, you’re probably not always inclined to reach for a glass of cold water. Other times, you may simply forget to drink enough.

One thing that helps me to look forward to drinking water is adding fresh fruit: lemon, orange, strawberries, cranberries or blueberries. To avoid forgetting, I follow the habit of drinking one glass of water each time I eat a meal or grab a snack. Tea counts too, so a cup at night helps!