Tight Hips and Tight Emotions; Can Pelvic Floor Therapy Help?
I'm not a public crier. So when I found myself staring up at the ceiling in shavasana (the nap time after yoga) with tears rolling down my face, I was a mixture of surprised and relieved.
Emotions are stored in our hips, I was told. Stretching them can be a form of emotional release. It was hard to picture, yet I don't consider myself a very emotionally expressive person, and I have tight hips. In my yoga class, we did just five minutes of focused hip work each class, and that's when I started to realized I was most certainly storing my emotions in my hips.
It wasn't until about 2 years later that I realized that the hip tightness could be a source of another form of pain: sexual. Not always, but sometimes, sex hurt. It wasn't a stabbing or a shooting, more like a cramping. I dismissed it as IUD pain, before that - pretending it wasn't a thing, and after the IUD came out, feeling defeated.
My OBGYN had no answers for me. In their defense, it's hard to have answers if you aren't really asking the question. I mentioned my pain during sex, to several OBGYNs, several times. No advice offered.
Enter pelvic floor therapy. Somehow I'd heard it could help with pelvic pain. Hmm...pelvic pain, like pain in your...pelvis? Ok seems legit, I'll give it a shot. I was picturing some kegels, weights, and whatever an "internal exam" was.
I sat down to speak with Nabila Jutha, a Women's Health specialist originally from Ontario, Canada. Right away, we clicked and she gracefully walked me through some slightly uncomfortable personal questions. We got to talking about my past experiences with doctors, and feeling unheard. She put me right at ease, and as we entered the second half of my appointment, she left the room so I could prepare for the internal exam I'd heard so much about.
An internal exam is, well, internal. As I learned, there are muscles inside of the vagina that get tight and effect other things, so they're worth looking at!
I've always wondered why my friends and I have never talked about the weird experience of having a doctor look at or put something up your vagina. Probably because the easiest tactic is to lay there and casually discuss the weather. It will never be NOT weird, however working with Nabila was definitely my most comfortable experience with it.
Right away, she was able to point out that my internal rotators were tight. Um, uh, what what? My HIP rotators, oh okay. Those are inside my vagina too? Oh, okay. They're all connected? Hmmm...okay yup. Bingo. Turns out a lot of those muscles inside, aka my pelvic muscles, were tight. Me oh my, we've got some relaxing to do.
I've had around 4 visits with Nabila now, and every time our relationship picks up where it left off. She's given me stretches, relaxation, and strengthening exercises. As time went on, I realized that morning and evening hip stretches needed to be a thing. I develop a routine, and stick with it. I have progress, and some set backs.
Before writing this, I went through a few weeks with a lot of hip pain. They get so tight, numb, and won't move the way I want them to. Sort of like my emotions, it gets harder and harder to let it out the busier I get. Crying feels expensive, like I have to conserve my energy for other things. Built up releases happen if I haven't been paying attention, and usually at night or after a few hurtful interpersonal experiences.
I told Nabila about my hip pain continuing, and she helped me develop the routine. I committed to it, and notice emotions coming on more when I move. I'm stunned by this, what started as a theory played out deeply in real life. Pelvic floor therapy became pelvic pain healing therapy, and damn it feels good. I move my hips to meditate to a song, the movement I've unlocked surprising me. As this awareness grows, so does my appreciation for myself and a desire for the truth. What are your hips carrying?