| Caroline Knight
Anyone who has suffered with the symptoms of a tight pelvic floor (hypertonic pelvic floor) will tell you that this excess tension is troublesome. It leads to restricted motion and often some form of pain. The pain usually manifests in the hips, lower back, tailbone, vagina or perineum area, but it can also extend to the buttocks, thighs and abdomen. Awareness about pelvic floor muscle stretches seems to be spreading, which is great; but one question that rarely gets answered is, how long does it take to loosen tight pelvic floor muscles?
We have written quite a lot on various aspects of this problem, from the benefits of pelvic floor stretches to spotting the symptoms of a tight pelvic floor. This information will surely be useful but it helps to remember that with any form of healing, it can take time and perseverance. This article will outline how to loosen tight pelvic floor muscles, how long it may take to do so, and helpful tips for maintenance.
How to loosen tight pelvic floor muscles
Since your pelvic floor is not manually accessible, you may only have a vague idea of where your pain and tension is originating. It’s not entirely obvious to people how they should start to tackle the problem, so specific instructions on how to relax the pelvic floor muscles are often required.
The good news is that once you know what you are doing it’s pretty easy, and there are lots of ways to go about it. If you have a hypertonic pelvic floor, you are likely to have been inadvertently holding your pelvic floor muscles tight for so long that your brain has become accustomed to it and no longer recognizes a problem. So by consciously performing pelvic floor stretches and breathing exercises, you are retraining your brain to perceive the newly relaxed state as normal. Thus you’re much more likely to notice any future tension arising and stop it in its tracks.
How long will it take to loosen your pelvic floor?
Truthfully, your pelvic floor muscles aren’t likely to release all of the accumulated tension overnight. To loosen tight pelvic floor muscles you will need to be patient and persistent. You should also note that different exercises work for different people, so you’ll need to listen to your body in order to pinpoint the techniques that work for you personally.
The best way to do this is try out all of the exercises and breathing techniques to find the ones that make you feel the most relaxed. Even if you don’t feel relief from pelvic floor tension or pain immediately, keep at it. At the very minimum you should be doing your stretches and breathing for at least 20 to 30 minutes, twice a day, until you start to notice a difference.
Practice certainly makes perfect and the more effort you put in, the more quickly you should see results. Over time, you will start to relax the pelvic floor muscles quickly and easily. You can start out with a ‘little and often’ approach if you find this easier; for example, instead of twice a day for 30 minutes, do 4 times per day for 10 minutes. Build up your practice gradually over weeks (or months if necessary) and within three to five months you should return to normal. This a realistic ballpark figure but it does depend on how severe your issues are.
If sex is painful for you, vaginal dilator therapy can be beneficial in helping reduce the fear of penetration and relaxing your muscles. Start by testing the smaller size VuVa™ Vaginal Dilators to see which vagina dilator size you are comfortable inserting. You may find that when you are first starting to use dilators, you can only tolerate the tip and that is normal. Increase dilator size only after you can insert current size dilator with ease. When you insert the dilator, do not go over a 3-4 pain level. Using vaginal dilators will be uncomfortable at first, but you will feel the pain subside as the muscles relax around the vaginal canal.
If after this amount of time you don’t feel any real improvement has happened, it may be necessary to consult a pelvic floor physical therapist who can help take your healing to the next level. It is also important to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could be affecting your pelvic floor muscles, so checking in with a healthcare specialist is also a good idea.
Finally, if you aim to loosen tight pelvic floor muscles for good, be sure not to stop your practice once you’ve got rid of the obvious tension. It is wise to keep practicing once a day for maintenance as part of your routine, because as they say, prevention is better than cure.
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