Start by lying on your back. Use a fist, heel of your hand, or fingers to apply gliding pressure on the left side of the belly from the left ribs down to the pubic bone. This works on the descending colon. Next, use the same pressure to glide just under the rib cage from right to left. This works on the transverse colon. Lastly, glide from the right side of the pubic bone straight up toward the right ribs. This works on the ascending colon. Each glide should be performed 10 times on the descending, transverse, then ascending colons. Use light to moderate pressure to comfort; nothing should hurt!
You can use a heating pad on the abdomen to soften the tissues prior to the massage. It can feel nice to do the massage before bed as you are winding down, but it can be performed anytime. So take some time out, slow down, and get those bellies feeling happy again.
Written by Michelle Dela Rosa, PT
Bowel movements can be painful and accompanied by bloating and straining. Constipation can occur when the colon absorbs too much water or the colon’s muscle contractions become sluggish, causing the stool to become hard and move too slowly.
More than 4 million Americans have frequent constipation. Many are women and adults age 65 and older. Common reasons for constipation include:
Signs like blood in stools, recent changes in bowel habits, or weight loss are important signals to see your doctor. Many people may not need extensive testing and can be treated with proper diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes. Increasing water intake to six to eight cups per day, and fiber intake to 20 to 35 grams per day can work wonders for the colon!
Physical Therapists at Connect PT specialize in treating constipation related to a pelvic floor disorder. Muscles in the pelvis that surround the anus and rectum may be tight and restrict emptying. Our therapists look at breathing, abdominal tension, and posture for other factors that may feed into pelvic tension. We use biofeedback, manual (hands-on) work, and pelvic stretches to release tight muscles. We even review your bowel elimination technique - we recommend placing a small step under your feet during evacuation to open up the pelvis and allow for a clearer pooping pathway! We are committed to helping you achieve normal bowel movements, feel energized, and get back to life.
Past Medical History: 2 vaginal births, insomnia since last birth 3 years ago.
Physical Therapy Treatment: Manual therapy to pelvic floor and abdomen; review of proper bowel evacuation and stool formation; breathing mechanics; postural education and exercise; LE stretching; core strengthening exercises; HEP.
Results: Complete bowel evacuation 1-2x per day without straining or altered mechanics after 8 visits.