Posted by SportsMed NQ, 28 August 2015

Normally we men suffer in silence, or put things off until it is absolutely necessary to get help. This is not the best method when it comes to our health

Back pain

The most common issue we see in clinic with males is lower back pain.  Most of these complaints are from repetitive manual work but these symptoms, combined with other factors, can be a sign that something more sinister is happening.


There are some scary statistics out there regarding the rapidly increasing diagnosis of prostate cancer.  Surprisingly enough there can be a link between treatment of prostate cancer and treatment of lower back pain.  According to The Cancer Council, Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia and the third most common cause of cancer death. It is more common in older men, with 85% of cases diagnosed in men over 65 years of age.

Bladder problems are the most common side effect of prostate cancer including frequent urination, particularly at night, pain on urination, blood in the urine and a weak stream.  Most men regain their bladder control over time and are fully recovered within 6-12 months, however pelvic floor muscle exercises are the key.  Improving pelvic floor fitness can speed up bladder control following radical prostatectomy and should be started immediately. Although we hear most about pelvic floor muscle exercises relating to women it is important to realise that this part of the body is the same in all of us therefore equally as important.

prostate-cancer-symptomsBack pain is also affected by the pelvic floor. The floor of the pelvis is made up of layers of muscle and other tissues. These layers stretch like a hammock from the tailbone at the back to the pubic bone in front. A man’s pelvic floor supports his bladder and bowel. This is an integral part of your core muscles in supporting your lower back and therefore alleviating low back pain.  If you have read my previous articles, I have covered the training of core muscles using RealTime Ultrasound.  Now with technology we can show people how they are activating their core muscles and also their pelvic floor via the use of ultrasound. This machine allows us to see if your pelvic floor is activating the bladder by placing the ultrasound head on the lower abdominal wall.

We as males are notorious for not being compliant at doing our homework exercises but these are vital in the retraining these muscles.  As much as I hate to admit it, females are much more diligent with their rehabilitation programs and therefore see a greater long term success rate.

What will Physiotherapy involve?

  • Assessment of pelvic floor muscle function
  • Design of an individual pelvic floor muscle exercise program based on your abilities and needs
  • Progression of your pelvic floor muscle exercise program and application to your daily activities
  • Instruction in good bladder habits, fluid intake and bladder retraining
  • Advice regarding healthy bowel habits and lifestyle factors
  • Discussion of an appropriate general exercise program

Like all exercises, pelvic floor exercises are most effective when individually tailored and monitored. Physiotherapy is always carried out in a private treatment room, with the same Physiotherapist, providing sensitive, professional treatment.

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