• Emily Reul, PT, DPT

Muscles Affecting Pelvic Health: It's Not Just the Pelvic Floor

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

As you may know, us pelvic floor physical therapists tend to talk about the pelvic floor muscles quite a lot. However, we also assess and treat many other muscles surrounding the trunk, pelvis, hips, and thighs, that influence pelvic health and various pelvic floor muscle dysfunctions. If you’d like to learn about pelvic floor muscle anatomy, check out this previous blog post: Your pelvic floor: what is it good for?


I will also be mentioning myofascial trigger points; here’s a good blog post to read to get familiar with what these are: Pelvic pain trigger points explained


I am going to take you through some of the muscles I commonly find impairments with, and treat in conjunction to the pelvic floor muscles.


First, here’s a quick recap of pelvic bone anatomy, as I will be mentioning these different parts of the pelvis:


The pelvic girdle is comprised of:


  • Ilium: the largest pelvic bones – when you put your hands on your hips you are touching the ilium.

  • Ischium: the part of the pelvis that you sit on (aka sit bones).

  • Pubis: the front part of the pelvis that joins both sides together via the pubic symphysis.

  • Sacrum: the sacrum attaches to the ilium via the sacroiliac (SI) joint.

  • Coccyx: also known as the tailbone, and attaches to the lower part of the sacrum.


Hip Flexors (Iliopsoas): The psoas and iliacus muscles join together at the attachment on the femur.



Psoas (highlighted in the above photo)

  • Attachments: the lumbar vertebrae from T12-L5 to the femur.

  • Actions: hip flexion, balances trunk in sitting position, trunk flexion, trunk side-bend.

Iliacus

  • Attachments: the inside of the pelvis at the ilium and iliac fossa to the femur.