Osteoarthritis leads to Pelvic Floor Enlightenment

It started with a little discomfort walking, then became quite painful in my groin. Quite some time later and with the assistance of both an acupuncturist and a chiropractor in Bali, I was eventually diagnosed in Australia with Osteoarthritis in both hips. Oh joy!
The long and short of it is, that by the time I had my two hip replacement surgeries I had been in a lot of pain, was quite inflexible and pretty much immobile; rapidly driving Jan crazy. I don’t deal well with pain and it has an extremely adverse effect on my sense of humour. I had my operations five weeks apart – both my surgeon and I agreed that if I had both replacements at once I would not have a leg to stand on – boom boom!
Having hip replacements was the very best thing I could have done. But a couple of pieces of advice for anyone contemplating such an operation:
1. prepare for the surgery by being as fit as you can – there is more to tell about this
2. be willing to do some solid rehab work afterwards and find a knowledgeable personal trainer
I certainly did both of these things and without this work I would not have been as able as I am today.
In the lead up to surgery, damage is done and muscles have started to atrophy. These include your core or pelvic floor (PF) muscles.
So what are Pelvic Floor muscles many men might ask?
Ladies, you probably already know about these because you have been told about them, usually in reference to childbearing, we men have usually been told nothing! Sad really, so I’m now talking to the men, mostly, or perhaps their partners who need to know more.
If you don’t know exactly where these PF or core muscles are, try this guys; stand up straight and imagine you are trying to stop a flow of urine and breathe in. That’s them!
Particularly as we blokes get older, no matter what surgery or other ailments we may have dealt with, keeping our pelvic floor muscles in good shape is central to all manner of health issues:
1. general strength and flexibility
2. minimising back pain
3. bowel and bladder control
4. sexual function
5. walking/jogging/running
6. lifting/twisting
So, get some advice on how to improve and maintain your pelvic floor muscles. Consult your doctor and ask their advice. If you already participate in a gym or exercise program, ask the instructor, but most importantly make it your business to learn how to keep your pelvic floor muscles up to scratch.
I’m not “qualified” to give you this advice, but, grab a low-ish chair, stand in front of it, engage the PF muscles and make to sit down slowly … but stop just short of sitting down, then stand up straight again, slowly; just a few of these a day make great exercise. However, if either of these hurt or you are unstable then DON’T DO IT!
If you have been making a habit of slumping into a chair or using your arms to stand up from sitting, just consciously engage PF muscles and then stand without your arms assisting … a good habit and every little bit helps.
You’ll live better, maybe longer and possibly have more fun … see #4 above!
I have spoken to a few men contemplating hip replacement, and my replacement5s, with the exception of one issue, was a good experience.
I had been bent over and had definitely gained a grey facial pallor; the realisation of how much I improved after the surgery came from two experiences.
Firstly, when a friend (he’s 6’ 1”, I’m 5’9”)’said that he ”hadn’t looked me in the eye for a long time”. I had straightened up considerably; I suggested “Time for some straightening exercises for you my friend”.
Secondly, after seeing a colleague for the first time after my surgery, he seriously, but discretely, enquired of Jan, “Has Rowan had some [cosmetic] work done?” such was the vast improvement in my appearance!

Postscript  There is now a terrific Health Report on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s website which provides an excellent update on Osteoarthritis and ways to manage/prevent the symptoms. Everything you ever wanted to know about Osteoarthritis.

Have you had a joint replacement or are you contemplating one? What is your advice and what are your questions?

Older and Wiser