The transversus abdominis (TA) muscle has 4 points of origin running from the inner surface of the 7th to 12th costal cartilages, the thoracolumbar fascia, the iliac crest horizontally, and the inguinal ligament. It has its insertion on the linea alba.
Does that help? No? This core stabilizing muscle lays under the “six pack” abs that we are all familiar with. What does this have to do with the pelvic floor, urinary incontinence and physical therapy? Plenty.
Learning to contract this muscle along with a kegel is optimal to getting us leak free throughout our day. Being aware of the TA and learning to brace this muscle when we lift, go up stairs, get up from a chair (or a toilet) not only supports our core, but our back as well.
How do we know if we are tightening this transverse abdominus muscle? EMG studies show that with blowing air out through pursed lips. Picture your last birthday blowing out those candles…all those candles…. on your birthday cake, or blowing a pinwheel effectively activates the TA. We tighten this muscle when trying to get into our too-tight shorts from last summer. Get the picture? Physical Therapists can help!
Women can’t rely on kegels alone to strengthen their pelvic floor and stop leakage of urine. Strengthening our core muscles are vital not only for our pelvic stability but also to protect our backs. You can start your core strengthening program by laying on your back with knees bent, feet on the bed and gently drawing in your belly button towards your back. Hold this for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times. No sit ups needed!
Having strong core muscles improves our posture and deceases our risk for back injuries. Questions? Having Urinary Incontinence or Leakage? Physical Therapy can help! Contact one of our offices for a consultation with our pelvic floor physical therapists!
Pam Kline has 16 years of experience as a physical therapy assistant. Her goal as a therapist is to help each patient attain their highest and best level of physical recovery from injury or surgery along with equipping her patients with the knowledge and motivation to continue with an active and healthy lifestyle after therapy. Pam attended the Physical Therapy Assistant program at Keystone College in LaPlume, PA. She has also completed continuing education in pelvic floor function and dysfunction and treatment of urinary incontinence.