Stay up to date on the latest Section HQ news, patient and practitioner education and member stories!
Pelvic health physical therapy can be a difficult topic for many people to discuss. It can be embarrassing, confusing, and even painful. Society tends to discourage discussion of these topics, causing confusion and lack of awareness regarding what is or is not normal. The reality is that pelvic floor dysfunction is common and there is something we can do about it. As one of my professors once pointed out, “There is an entire aisle dedicated to adult pads and diapers in every Target, someone is buying them!”
Hi, I'm Michelle Little. My parents were born in Colombia, South America and moved to the United States with dreams of a better life. They immigrated from an impoverished area, lacked a college education and with a very basic English vocabulary. Due to this sacrifice, they have always had very manual, labor-intensive jobs. From a very young age, I knew what pain was because I witnessed my mother icing her hands and feet after a ten-hour shift. I now understand that my mother’s pain was in part caused by the physical requirements for her job and poor occupational accommodations. During all those years, my mother was never told about or referred to physical therapy, so she lived in fear that her body was weak and damaged. In my sophomore year of college, I had a knee injury that led to surgery and post-operative physical therapy. Going through physical therapy made me feel empowered, and I knew I had found my life’s passion. I wanted to educate and empower patients that had orthopedic pain like my mother, and improve the quality of life of my patients and their families.
Key Highlights For the first time, USA Weightlifting is actively getting involved in educating their coaches and lifters about pelvic health. On Thursday, December 6, Tamra Wroblesky gave an hour and a half interactive seminar to coaches and lifters about pelvic health, pressure regulation, hip and thoracic mobility, bowel and bladder regulation, all to improve performance under the bar. This will be an uphill battle as there is poor awareness and education about pelvic health. They have hired Tamra for their 2 international female camps (Barbados and Ohio) in 2019 due to the popularity of the first camp in Las Vegas last year. Check out Tamra's original Team USA article, Supercharge Your Pelvis, which has gained momentum in the weightlifting community and her latest report below!
I’m a wife, a mom of three little boys, and the owner of a private practice caring specifically for Women’s Health. I began my career out of Physical Therapy school in the acute care setting and following the birth of my first child I learned just how important and necessary pelvic health physical therapy (also referred to as pelvic floor physical therapy) is following delivery. At that time, there were no providers within 50 miles of my home, so I sought to change this. I developed and implemented a hospital-based, outpatient pelvic floor program after taking both OB courses through the Section on Women's Health (SoWH) as well as Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Level 1 and Level 2. Unfortunately, the hospital closed with a 30-day notice in January of 2018, prompting me to launch my own practice to continue caring for this patient population. The practice has been open since March of 2018 and has cared for over 150 patients to date.
My interest in women’s health physical therapy first began when I was working as a rehab technician in a clinic with two pelvic floor therapists. My personal interest was piqued after my own experiences before, during, and after childbirth. Interested to learn more once I began physical therapy school, I spent time during my winter break in 2017 to shadow a women’s health specialist. I was delighted to observe how large of an impact patient education could make for the pelvic health patient population.
My name is Anietie Ukpe-Wallace and I am currently in my final year of the University of St. Augustine’s FLEX DPT program. Before I even considered physical therapy (PT) school, I taught yoga for several years and have always had an interest in the pelvic floor and how those set of muscles could impact a person’s ability to move through a pose or limit the amount of movement in their hips or back. The muscles that cannot be visibly seen externally held a lot of mystery to me. Having gone through my own trials with my own pelvic floor from miscarriages to surgery and pregnancy to birth, this region of the body continued to be a mystery even then despite all of that “stuff” that I had happening down there. Sad to say, PT school did not discuss much on the pelvic floor other than a short lecture on pregnancy and when I discovered that I could become a physical therapist with a specialty in the pelvic floor, my interest was piqued, and I began to investigate how to go about that path. During my time in PT school, I have been lucky enough to have two professors with whom I was able to discuss my interest and desires about pursuing this specialty. In addition to offering me resources to learn more about it and advising me to start seeking out courses, they also offered me encouragement to pursue this field since it was still growing and there is a high demand for this specialty.
My name is Loni Cooper and I am a physical therapist in Northwest Arkansas. I recently graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in May 2018. Shortly after, I accepted my first job in an outpatient setting where I am working towards building a pelvic therapy caseload and advocating for this specific area of physical therapy. When I first started Physical Therapy (PT) school, I really did not know the exact field or area that I wanted to specialize in. Honestly, I had never even heard the terms “pelvic therapy” or “women’s health physical therapy” before. When I was on my very first clinical rotation in my first year of school, I was exposed to a clinic that was very heavily centered on this patient population. I was instantly intrigued and wanted to learn more about this area. Being a personal survivor of sexual abuse, I began researching and learning about how some of the symptoms that I experienced and that others had once told me were “normal” were actually treatable. I completed my elective coursework in this area to be able to learn more and prepare me for my elective clinical rotation in pelvic therapy.
I first became interested in pelvic health physical therapy while working with military service members, veterans, and their families. As a military spouse myself, I was afforded the opportunity of shadowing and later completing my clinical rotations through VA and military hospitals. During these experiences, I saw the immense impact pelvic health plays in improving the overall well being of this community. One of the most rewarding experiences of my physical therapy experience thus far has been to incorporate and apply the material and skills I gained from Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Level 1 into my personal care of patients at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital. From this experience I knew that I wanted to continue growing my abilities through completion of the CAPP program and return these skills to the military family I have come to know and love. Ultimately, I would additionally like to contribute to both the patient and clinical community by furthering Pelvic Health PT research.
Meet Grace Waters, SPT Women's health physical therapy has been an interest of mine since I started physical therapy school two years ago at Tennessee State University. The research I have assisted with during PT school explores an episiotomy's effect on postnatal urinary incontinence. While conducting the literature review for this topic, I was astonished to discover the scarcity of quality and current research regarding postnatal urinary incontinence. Articles on the subject have been published, but few have high quality methods and results. We recently covered the women's health portion of our curriculum. A pelvic floor specialist talked to our class about the types of patients she sees, common pathologies involved, and various treatment techniques available to treat patients experiencing pathologies related to the pelvic floor.