Sometimes we get stuck in fight or flight. Fight or flight is the body’s response to stress. But what happens when the stressor is gone, but the fight or flight response lingers? The body also has a response system for relaxation and calming down. This is controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS). If PSNS is not triggered, stress hormones continue to dominate in the body. Stress hormones cause an increase in blood pressure, increase in heart rate, fast-paced breathing, expanding blood vessels, and boost energy supplies. This is very taxing on the body for the long-term; it was intended to be a short-term response.
Sometimes we need to step in and activate the parasympathetic nervous system. We do this by stimulating the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is a key component of the PSNS. Some ways to activate the parasympathetic nervous system include:
In physical therapy, we often find that patients are stuck in a state of stress. As mentioned earlier, this is very taxing on the mind and body. Bringing awareness to this stress and teaching patients how to work through it is one tool we use to manage pelvic pain.
Pelvic pain can be a result of muscles which are not properly relaxing. Muscles in the body respond to stress by tensing up. You can not expect someone to learn how to relax a muscle without also giving them tools to manage the stress in their life.
In the busy world we live in, it is important to make time for self-care and relaxation. You have to be very intentional about finding time because it will not just magically appear on your to-do list. You have to want it, carve out the time, and then protect that time in your schedule.
In physical therapy, we use an exercise called “Ground Zero Relaxation” to help patients find peace and calm again. This exercise allows an individual to reconnect with their body and silence all other distractions around them. It teaches them how to take themselves from fight or flight to calm with use of relaxation, mindfulness, and a comfortable environment.
Have you been stuck in a cycle of fight or flight which is preventing your pelvic pain from healing? Do you need tools to help you release stress and give back life to your body and food for your soul?
Here at The Fit Pelvis, we have learned that true healing comes from treating the whole person. Healing your pelvic pain is not possible without also looking at all the factors that contribute to the pain such as health, physical stress, emotional stress, postures, and environmental triggers. We want to understand who you are and what your life looks like in order to establish a treatment plan that you will be successful at completing. This could include ground zero exercise, recommendations on lifestyle changes, diet recommendations, education on healthy habits, hands-on treatment to muscles, home exercise plan, and much more.