Last week we spoke about the Kegel exercises for strengthening pelvic floor muscle, but have you heard of the KNACK exercise?
Right so lets take it back a bit. Have you ever coughed/ sneezed and peed a little? This is called stress urinary incontinence. And what a bother it can be . It affects 4 in every 10 women. 1 out of every 10 men and around 17 % of children under the age of 15.
Now how could we stop urine from leaking?
That's where the KNACK comes in.
The Knack, is also known as the Counter Bracing Technique and is a strong and well-timed contraction of the pelvic floor muscles. It basically helps the pelvic floor to contract immediately before and during any increase in downward pressure on the pelvic floor. These downward forces include, coughing, laughing, sneezing, jogging, and jumping.‘So basically The Knack’ exercise is actually a strong well-timed Kegel.
There are 3 layers of pelvic floor muscles, that form a hammock like structure that extends from the pubic bone in the front of the pelvis
The first layer helps urinary and sexual function. The second layer helps with assisting in urinary and bowel function. And the third layer assists with lumbo-pelvic stability and supports the pelvic organs.
Coordinating the activation of the first and second layer, followed by the third muscle group, can then create optimal force closure of the urethra. (where the urine comes out-see picture)
SO how do we do the KNACK?
The Knack is a preventative exercise can help you control urinary incontinence. So basically you will need to contract or squeeze your pelvic floor muscles (Kegels) before and during any increased pressure activities. These can be coughing, sneezing , lifting, trampoline jumping.
During different life stages some women can loose the ability to automatically contract their pelvic floor muscles. Pregnancy and childbirth, age related hormonal changes (decrease Estrogen), after pelvic floor / hip surgeries or even after repeated straining of emptying bowels. When we learn to actively activate the pelvic floor muscles we can overcome stress incontinence related to a weakened pelvic floor.
The Knack (string well-timed pelvic floor muscle contraction can also help decrease the downward movement of the pelvic floor and can help reduce the symptoms of prolapse (Pelvic Organ Prolapse). This technique can help support and protect your pelvic floor in the long term.