Brittany Mahomes Isn’t Wrong: A Weak Pelvic Floor *Can* Contribute to a Back Fracture

Photo: Getty/Jamie Squire
Brittany Mahomes, the wife of Kansas City Chief quarterback Patrick Mahomes, has an important PSA. In an Instagram story this week, she shared she’s been diagnosed with a fractured back, alluding that it's due to a weak pelvic floor.

“Just a daily reminder: Once you have kids please take care of your pelvic floor. Seriously,” Mahomes wrote. “From: A girl with a fractured back,” wrote the mother of two.

Pelvic floor health is essential to bladder and bowel control, childbirth, sexual function and other functions of daily living, according to the National Association for Continence. But can a weak one really lead to a fractured back?

Experts In This Article

Yes, experts say (eek!). We chatted with a physical therapist to explain why a weak pelvic floor can lead to a back injury, and the best ways to prevent it.

What is the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that supports and protects vital organs—like the bladder, bowels, and uterus, per the Cleveland Clinic. When these muscles are not working efficiently, you can experience bladder and/or bowel leakage, pelvic pain, and other concerns.

“The pelvic floor muscles also form the inferior border of our core, and help contribute to the stabilization of the spine, pelvis, and kinetic chain during functional movement,” explains Kari Melby, MPT, a physical therapist and senior director, specialty services at ATI Physical Therapy. “This helps coordinate movement of the arms, legs, and spine required with day-to-day tasks and exercise.”

Reminder: Your core isn’t just your abs—it also includes your pelvis, lower back, hips, and stomach, per the Mayo Clinic.

Strong pelvic floor muscles lead to better stability and strength for physical activities, like playing sports or working out, and daily tasks. Weak pelvic floor muscles can result in injuries.

How can a weak pelvic floor result in a back fracture?

Mahomes did not reveal the exact cause of her back injury, but linked the injury to pelvic floor issues she's had since having children. While Melby isn’t familiar with the specific details of Brittany Mahomes’ back fracture, she explains that the pelvic floor muscles are vital to one's core strength and the ability to return to exercise and strength training following childbirth.

“Though the body is designed to accommodate the needs of pregnancy and childbirth, it still puts stress and strain on the muscles, tissues, and bones in the pelvis and abdomen, which may lead to symptoms and concerns that impact one's daily life,” Melby says.

The pelvic floor is connected to the tailbone and your lower back. If those muscles are weak, the tailbone weakens, too, creating instability and potentially contributing to a back fracture.

There are major benefits to strengthening pelvic floor muscles after giving birth. Seeing a pelvic health specialist can help with weakness, aches and pains in the pelvis, bladder and bowel leakage, and sexual health concerns.

How to maintain a healthy, strong pelvic floor

Melby says the best thing to do is to consult with a specialty-trained pelvic health physical therapist to receive the most accurate exercises to address your individual needs. Exercises may include:

  • Pelvic floor muscle contractions (aka Kegels): The ability to properly contract (squeeze and lift) and also fully relax the muscles in the lower pelvis. Do this while sitting, standing and lying down, and squeeze the muscles of your pelvis. Pull your navel to your spine, hold for 1 to 2 seconds then quickly release. Repeat at least 10 times for each position.
  • Happy baby tailbone stretch: This yoga pose provides a range of benefits for those experiencing tailbone pain. Do this by lying on your back with your head and shoulders on a mat or the floor. Bend your knees towards your chest with your feet flexed, without allowing your shoulders to leave the mat and without straining your neck. Reach forward and grab your shins, ankles or the insides of your feet. Allow your legs to drop gently open and hold this position for several breaths. If you feel comfortable, you can also gently rock from side-to-side, hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute.

According to Stanford Medicine, other strategies to improve pelvic floor health include:

  • Guided meditation to help loosen overly tight pelvic muscles
  • Avoiding constipation by drinking plenty of water, eating fiber-rich foods, and exercising regularly
  • Avoiding straining or pushing during bowel movements and when urinating
  • Cutting back on caffeine, alcohol and artificial sweeteners
  • Learning how to relax the muscles in the pelvic floor area

Brittany Mahomes has never neglected her overall fitness routine: She's a certified personal trainer with her own workout program, Brittany Lynne Fitness, and will be in the upcoming swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated. It's clear that prioritizing pelvic floor health goes beyond your workouts, though those are important.

And focusing on pelvic floor health isn’t just for new moms—it’s for everyone, Melby explains. These muscles influence many important aspects of the body including bladder and bowel health, sexual intimacy, and core strength.

“It's common practice to receive rehab following traditional surgeries or injuries involving one's knee, back, shoulder, etc. to make sure the muscles are moving and activating correctly," she says. "Your pelvic floor muscles should receive the same attention!”

Loading More Posts...