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On August 9th, I gave my "Supercharge Your Pelvis" talk to the inaugural All Women's Weightlifting Camp in Las Vegas. I was invited by USA Weightlifting to come and speak about pelvic health and physical therapy targeted towards female weightlifters. This opportunity came about due to my close workings with a female weightlifting patient for the past 3 years who my business sponsored to go to University Nationals in 2017 where she won 6 gold medals. Through her, I met her Mike McKenna, her weightlifting coach based out of York, PA. I began traveling there on weekends to give my pelvic health seminars and do individual assessments. I noticed how much my knowledge could help both men and women, not just with pelvic pain and incontinence, but with low back, hip, groin, knee, and leg pain. We also worked on proper hip and thoracic mobility programs for the weightlifter, nervous system warm-ups, and proper muscle activation during the squat, clean and jerk, and the snatch.
Dear SoWH Community, We are reaching out to communicate that there have been recent changes to the structure of our SoWH headquarters team (HQ Team).
The pelvic floor consists of muscle fibers and connective tissue located in the base of the pelvis. It is important in supporting the pelvic organs, maintaining continence, and sexual function. These muscles can become overactive, tight, or have spasm in them which can lead to dysfunction and/or pain. Overactive muscles restrict normal blood flow, resulting in a buildup of waste products. This can lead to further irritation, pain, and increased muscle tension. When someone develops pelvic floor pain, this can cause more involuntary tightening or guarding of these muscles, leading to more pain and dysfunction. Relaxation of these muscles can interrupt the pain cycle and promote healing.
Why would a male Physical Therapist (PT) write for Section on Women’s Health? Good question. A better question is where else could I write about this pelvic floor perspective. We know how important pelvic floor PT is and what amazing benefits it has for women and we are trying to get more people to understand this. So why would a guy want to work in that area? Because we also know that men benefit from pelvic floor PT. First off, I came to pelvic floor therapy from a different angle. After having some minor pelvic floor trouble myself, I realized that there were not too many males to go to for treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction. My background was orthopedics with a manual therapy focus on spine, pelvis, and foot/ankle. I realized that pelvic floor was the natural next step that I needed and had been missing in my practice. I knew how distressing and personal and embarrassing it could be to address these issues. And, since I knew that it was hard enough to get men to see a medical professional in the first place, I wanted to give men the option to not have to discuss “guy stuff” with a female.
McLean, VA - The Section on Women’s Health of the APTA (SoWH) held spring elections between May 1, 2018 and May 30, 2018, and the SoWH members has elected a new slate of leaders to serve in the roles of Vice President, Director of Communications, Director of Practice and on the Nominations Committee.
At the age of 17, I was diagnosed with a congenital uterine anomaly leading to a long and winding path involving various medical practitioners, testing procedures, and surgeries in order to gain control over my own reproductive health. This on-going experience has provided me with a unique understanding of women’s health and pelvic floor issues as well as their effects on the physical and psychological well-being of those who experience them. Moreover, embarking on my own reproductive health journey at such a young age has taught me how any healthcare provider can have a deep and lasting impact on her patients’ perceptions of themselves, their gender roles, and their sexuality – whether that impact be positive or negative.
Section on Women’s Health members, rising leaders, and current leadership have recently attended the 2018 APTA Federal Advocacy Forum hosted in Washington, D.C. Gail Zitterkopf, SoWH Federal Government Affairs Chair was joined by Section on Women’s Health 2018 FAF scholarship recipients, Cara Morrison, SPT (Student Member) and Mackenzie Van Loo, PT, DPT (Early-Professional Member) to observe and report back to the Section on the latest developments. The 2018 FAF was also attended by Carrie Pagliano, PT, DPT, OCS, WCS (SoWH President), Tamela Blalock (SoWH Executive Director), and Secili DeStefano, PT DPT OCS.
Lately I have noticed more people, new-grad and seasoned clinicians, asking me if I would recommend doing a residency program in women’s health physical therapy…the short answer; I’m glad I did it, it was an intense year and it is not for everyone (but, what is?). I’ve attempted to summarize my experience as a resident, address the pros and cons and offer some alternatives for everyone here.
There can be a sense of mystery behind pelvic physical therapy, not only from the point of view of the patient, but from professional colleagues in the medical community. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that pelvic Physical Therapists (PT) are often tucked away in physical therapy clinics behind a closed door. But let’s be honest; most of the mystery comes down to the internal (vaginal or rectal) muscle examination as a potential component of examination and treatment. That said, simplifying pelvic physical therapy down to an internal assessment or a vagina therapist is akin to saying the late Stephen Hawkings studied donut holes. There is so much more to pelvic PT and the conditions we treat.
We want to send a big thank you to everyone who submitted an entry to help SoWH find two fantastic representatives to attend the April 29-May 1 2018 APTA Federal Advocacy Forum in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.