Recently, I came across a client who had received a diagnosis of a congested pelvis. Now when I hear that diagnosis, my mind immediately goes to a catch all phrase. There are certain phrases in the medical community that are simply designed to encapsulate a whole bunch of problems. It means everything and it means nothing at all. Other phrases that kind of go along with this sort of thinking are things like Sciatica. Vat could be a number of different problems that are manifesting as pain in the back of the leg. Another one would be carpal tunnel syndrome, which is very often a catch all phrase for pain in the wrist. Now these pains can be coming from various areas.
It could be coming from the neck, it could be coming from the low back. These pains could be because of a fascial tightness. It could be because of scar tissue. That could be because of bone misalignment or a combination of these, and so using a catch all phrase to simply describe pain or dysfunction in a particularly particular area of the body is not so helpful. However, I have come across a number of clients who would probably qualify for the diagnosis of pelvic congestion. Now when I use this word, what I mean is that things are generally stuck. Things are generally tight and things generally don’t move in and around the pelvis.
So what would cause this sort of pain and what would some of the symptoms be when somebody is experiencing pelvic congestion? And then what can a massage therapist and do about this? Well, first of all, I find this sort of thing is most often prevalent in women. This is for a couple of reasons. The first is because the pelvis of a woman is more intricate, it is more complex, there’s more going on there and it is subject to a slightly higher degree of dysfunction. The second is because women are very often in tune with their bodies more than men are. At least that has been my experience. So it is most often women who will complain of the problem and seek out help for the problem. And very often they will seek out a and orthopedic massage specialist. So as a massage therapist, very often I find people who are stuck in their pelvis and one of the first things that a massage therapist will do when addressing this problem is to free some of the organs. This is where training in visceral massage is quite helpful.
The first organ that often needs to be freed is the small intestine. The small intestine likes to get stuck to the things that are below it, namely the bladder, the uterus, colon, and when there is a general tightness and when there is a general congestion in the pelvis, we can significantly help these issues by freeing up the small intestine. Now it’s important to know that when working with the small intestine and with the other organs, that there is often tension in and around the organs themselves. When there is tension in and around the organs, this tension will work its way into the surrounding tissues as well, namely the muscles. So if a woman has pain in her hips, then very often there is going to be a structural problem that is being caused by the visceral issues that are going on. It may be that for a small intestine, this duck, it may be that there is not room between the small intestine and the uterus or there’s not room between the small intestine and the bladder. It may be that the bladder is stuck to the uterus. There’s a number of things that can be going on. So as the massage therapist goes into free some of these tissues, we can expect that much of the pelvic pain we’ll go with way as well. This happens not so much when somebody is working directly on the muscles, but when the massage therapist is working on the tissues that are attaching to the muscles, there are two particular muscles that are very often affected by tension in the abdominal cavity. The first is the so as, and this muscle goes from the low back down to the upper and inner part of the leg. It’s a muscle that’s used for walking and it’s also a muscle that is pulling a person forward. It is bending them forward so when there’s tension in the tissues around the so as it will cause that so as to get tight and that will cause it to contract and it will cause that person to have difficulty in standing up straight. So the, so as is a very important muscle that the massage therapist needs to address when doing any sort of abdominal manipulation. The second muscle that often has a lot of tension in it is the ILIAC. This muscle or the Iliac yes is on the inside of the hip and it will tilt the hip forward.
Many people find that they have hips that are tilted forward to some degree and part of the problem, not the whole problem, but part of the problem may be that the Iliac is puzzle has been tightened because of tension in the pelvis. When there is tension there, these muscles can’t release fully. They can’t go into a relaxed state and they start to pull on the person and cause pain. These muscles are also very tender when we are working with them, particularly when there is tension on them. So there are a number of different ways that a massage therapist who has been trained in visceral massage or in orthopedic massage can use to release these muscles. Some of them can be somewhat intense and some of them are much more gentle. It depends a lot on the clients and what they need from the massage therapist. Taking a proper history is important for the massage therapist in order to know what is going on with the client. Once we have ascertained that there is a significant amount of tension in the pelvis, then we want to work to get that tension off. But another important piece of the puzzle is why is that tension there in the first place? Is it a result of c-section scars? Is it a result of endometriosis? Is it a result of a tailbone fall that has happened in the past, or is there another reason for the pelvic congestion? A good massage therapist is going to take all of these things into consideration and we’ll integrate things that are not simply relaxing the muscle, but are working to help the client to heal from the inside out.