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Aug 03, 2014


Posttraumatic Stress Syndrome, also known as PTSD, is an unfortunate consequence of many women's birth experiences. While there are known risk factors, there is not currently a standardized screening method for identifying symptoms of PTSD in the postpartum period. One recent meta-analysis of 78 research studies identified a prevalence of postpartum PTSD as 3.1% in community samples and as 15.7% in at-risk or targeted samples. Risk factors for PTSD included current depression, labor experiences (including interactions with medical staff), and a history of psychopathology. In the targeted samples, risk factors included current depression and infant complications. Other authors have explored the relationships between preterm birth and PTSD, preeclampsia or premature rupture of membranes, and infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. 



One of the main concerns of failing to identify and treat for PTSD in the postpartum period is the potential negative effect on the family. High levels of anxiety, stress, and depression may impact not only the mother's health, but also may affect her ability to meet her new infant's needs, or complete usual functions in work and home life. One study suggested that "…maternal stress and depression are related to infants’ ability to self-sooth during a stressful situation." Clearly, healthy moms promote healthy families, and each mother deserves the attention that her new infant often receives from the world! 



Jul 31, 2014


While many of the Herman & Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation continuing education courses focus on study of the pelvic floor muscles, the inclusion and consideration of the trunk, breathing, form and force closure, and posture are also needed to truly understand the pelvis. Our professional education does not prepare us well in regards to understanding the pelvic floor and pelvic girdle, and the foundational concepts that provide clinical meaningfulness come from a variety of research camps. If you feel that you were never provided this foundational information about the pelvic girdle and trunk, and wish to better apply practical concepts in movement and muscle facilitation (or inhibition), you might be looking for the Pelvic Floor/Pelvic Girdle continuing education course that is coming to Atlanta in late September.


The course covers interesting topics such as pelvic floor muscle activation patterns in health and in dysfunction, use of load transfer tests such as the active straight leg raise, orthopedic considerations of pelvic dysfunction, pelvic floor muscle (PFM) exercise cues, risk factors for pelvic dysfunction, and treatment of the coccyx. If you (or a friend you want to take a course with) is not quite sure about internal pelvic floor coursework at this time, the good news is that this course addresses pelvic dysfunction using an external approach. Experienced therapists can appreciate the research-based approach to muscle dysfunctions that can cause or perpetuate a variety of symptoms, and newer therapists have the chance to learn how to integrate pelvic floor/pelvic girdle concepts into current practice. A biofeedback lab introduces use of surface electromyography (sEMG) as well.


There is still time to sign up for the September course in Atlanta, the only remaining opportunity to take the Pelvic Floor/Pelvic Girdle continuing education course this year. Bring a friend, or a colleague, and work together to combine external and internal approaches to pelvic dysfunction.

Jul 29, 2014


In this study investigators tested the hypothesis that following hip arthroscopy, the number of patients who developed pudendal neuralgia would exceed 1%. Development of pudendal neuralgia symptoms following hip arthroscopy was assessed in 150 patients (female = 79, male = 71) who were operated on in one facility by a single surgeon. Indications for the surgery included post-trauma foreign-body, osteochondromatosis, and labral lesion resection. The Nantes criteria were utilized for diagnosis, which includes as "essential" criteria the following: pain in the region of the pudendal nerve; pain that is worsened by sitting, relieved by sitting on a toilet seat; pain does not interrupt sleep, pain with no objective sensory impairment and that is relieved by a pudendal nerve block.


The operated hip was placed in a position of 30 degrees of adduction, internal rotation and flexion. The hip was operated on with a single anterolateral approach in most cases, with a second anterolateral approach needed in eight cases. Study results include an incidence rate of 2% in the population of 150 patients. 3 of the patients (2 female, 1 male) were diagnosed with pudendal neuralgia presenting in all 3 as "pure sensory" with symptoms of perineal hypoesthesia and dysesthesia on the operated side. The 3 cases resolved spontaneously within 3 weeks to 6 months. Two cases of sciatica following hip arthroscopy were documented, and these cases resolved without intervention other than a short course of analgesics. The patients also presented with gluteus medius insertion tenderness.


Although the study also aimed to determine risk factors for development of pudendal neuralgia following hip scope, the small number of patients who developed symptoms made the analysis for risk factors difficult. The authors also point out that the one-way surgical technique (not the standard surgical technique) also may have created some bias in the study. In conclusion, although the cited study reported a low incidence of pudendal neuralgia onset following hip arthroscopy, larger numbers have appeared in the literature, and according to the authors, surgical risk factors for developing nerve complications following a hip scope include the amount of traction placed on the joint, the length of surgery, and appropriate pelvic support bilaterally. The take-home point for pelvic rehabilitation providers is that patients are at some risk for pelvic nerve dysfunction following hip arthroscopy, and we have a role in educating providers and in screening patients for such conditions.


Jul 10, 2014


The term "sports hernia" has been used over time to describe a variety of issues, and the medical and rehabilitation community has recently been provided with more clear definitions and descriptions of the condition. Sports hernia has referred to groin and pubic injuries and dysfunctions, as well as abdominal wall disruptions. Clinical diagnosis and treatment has often been challenging because of the inconsistency in definitions, recognition of signs, symptoms, and optimal treatment approaches. A clinical article update published last year states that the term "sports hernia" is a misnomer as there is no classical herniation of soft tissue. The article further describes how the term has become synonymous with sportsman's hernia, athletic pubalgia, and Gilmore's groin.


Improved terminology to describe a sports hernia may be an "inguinal disruption" as referenced in this website of Dr. William Brown. (His site, www.sportshernia.com also includes anatomy images and descriptions of a sports hernia.)The anatomy most often involved is the oblique muscles and accompanying aponeurotic fascia, the adductor attachments to the pubic bone, and occasionally the pubic bone itself. Sports medicine literature, and research involving hockey players in particular, has been rich with reports of players who have had a repair of the aponeurotic fascia and/or oblique muscles, followed by a short period of rehabilitation and a full return to sport. Other commonly involved athletes are those who participate in football, soccer, and tennis. Any sport that may include explosive stops and starts with twisting, turning, and lower extremity rotations can result in a sports hernia.


Institute faculty member Steve Dischiavi has been on the front line of treating athletes with abdominopelvic injuries, and he has prepared an outstanding continuing education course complete with many videos, assessment techniques and intervention strategies. To learn more about differential diagnosis and treatment of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, join Dr. Dischiavi this August in Arlington, VA for Biomechanical Assessment of the Hip & Pelvis.

Jul 10, 2014


More than ever, patients are recognizing the value of training themselves to breath, pause, rest, relax. With the explosion in availability of free resources available on smart phones, computers, magazines and handouts, the public has increased access to tools with which they can apply concepts in relaxation training, mindfulness, and meditation techniques. Which is the best strategy for our patients? That answer depends on many factors, and the truth is, with the variety of patient presentations, goals, and strategies, the patient may need to simply trial a few different approaches.


A recent radio interview I heard mentioned calm.com as a resource for relaxation training, so I decided to check it out prior to recommending the site to patients. The site is simple, with the ability to listen to 2, 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes of guided relaxation, set a timer for the same time intervals, and download an application for the iPhone. The site is visually calming, with a very clean and intuitive interface. My sense is that users would find the site very simple to access and utilize. A simple search on the iPhone application store using the terms "free relaxation" brings up nearly 900 apps. As most of our patients (and selves, friends, families) may benefit from focused, practiced breathing and calming practices, these resources are great to know about.


There is a science behind finding balance, and one resource that has integrated much of the science behind techniques in relaxation and balance is the Institute of HeartMath. The website describes physiological coherence as a state characterized by heart rhythm coherence, increased parasympathetic activity, increased entrainment and synchronization between physiological systems, and efficient functioning of the cardiovascular, nervous, hormonal, and immune systems. In pelvic rehabilitation, we know that increased parasympathetic activity is important for patients who present with pain, with bowel, bladder, or sexual dysfunction. An imbalance in the autonomic nervous system can affect all of the physiologic functions taking place to aid pelvic health.


Jul 07, 2014

Last week in our blog, you learned about Susannah Britnell, a physiotherapist who works in a multidisciplinary pelvic pain treatment setting. I learned of her clinic when I came across this journal article) about developing an interdisciplinary clinic for patients with endometriosis and pelvic pain. Below is Part 2 of the questions that she was kind enough to answer for us so that we can hear more from her perspective!


Susannah Britnell

What do you find rewarding as a therapist in working in this setting?

Working with people in pain can be challenging but also extremely rewarding. I really value being able to help women realize what they can do, how they can shape their current life experience and their future. We provide tools and strategies that they can put into practice successfully. I love being able to be a part of moments when there is a shift in thinking, an opening of opportunity, when women who have seen nothing but barriers and hopelessness realize that there could be the possibility of positive change. I really find satisfaction in helping women perform daily activities, manage bladder, bowel and sexual pain concerns and increase overall activity and participation in life.


What would you say is powerful for the patients in terms of having the team available?

Jul 03, 2014

In patients with lumbar disc herniation, how many patients have sacroiliac joint dysfunction? Answering this question was the aim of a study published in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation in 2013. From an outpatient clinic at a university hospital, 202 patients with lumbar disc herniation (paracentral or intraforaminal) on imaging and clinical findings suggesting lumbosacral nerve root irritation were included. Excluded were patients who pregnant, had prior lumbar surgery, osteoporosis, fractures, diabetes, severe hip DJD, and neurological deficits. Clinical examination tests for SIJ dysfunction included seated forward flexion test with palpation of the PSIS, Patrick-Faber test, long-sitting test, Gillet test, Sphinx test, and palpation tests for sacral base asymmetry. Pressure provocation tests were applied to the sacrum and the pelvic innominates, palpation to long dorsal sacral ligament and lumbosacral junction. "Positive" sacroiliac dysfunction diagnosis meant that the patient had a cluster of at least 4 anatomical and 2 provocative tests. Patients ranged in age from 19-70 years with a mean age of 42.


Greater than 72% of the patient sample with known lumbar disc herniation also presented with sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Females, patients with recurrent pain, those who performed heavy work, and patients with a positive straight leg raise test were more likely to have sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Of the 72% of patients who were diagnosed with SIJ dysfunction, nearly 60% were female. No correlation was found between the presence of sacroiliac joint disease, working hours, duration of low back pain, or body mass index and the rate of SIJ dysfunction. The authors conclude that sacroiliac joint dysfunction has a "…high possibility of occurrence in low back pain" and should be included in the clinical examination and decision-making process. They also point out that while the differential diagnosis of back versus SIJ pain is well-defined in manual medicine texts, the medical books do not highlight screening of the SIJ when presented with a patient who has back pain.


If you would like to learn skills to perform differential diagnosis of the sacroiliac joint, sign up for the Sacroiliac Joint Treatment continuing education course taking place this July in Baltimore with Peter Philip.

Jul 02, 2014


A recent publication of a case series proposes that clinicians use intranasal calcitonin, a medication prescribed for acute vertebral fractures in osteoporotic patients, for acute coccyx pain. This medication is administered as a nasal spray, has been demonstrated to have analgesic properties, and is theorized to have effects of beta-endorphin production, and inhibition of prostaglandin and cytokine production. Nasal calcitonin, a synthetic drug, is reported to have fewer and mild side effects when compared with the injectable form of the medication.



Of the 8 subjects treated and described in the case series, all had a fall on the tailbone, either landing hard into a chair on onto the stairs or floor. Some were seen within 3 months of injury date, and others were treated after 3 months from injury. The authors report that in the subjects who were treated acutely, 3 of 5 had at least 50% improvement in pain, without injections or surgery. The subjects treated in a chronic pain condition had similar levels of improvement but with the addition of coccyx injections for treatment.


Based on the lack of a control group, the small number of subjects treated, and because the mechanism of nasal calcitonin is unknown as far as effects on fracture healing in the coccyx, we would not, as rehab professionals, look to our referring providers to add nasal calcitonin routinely in the management of acute coccyx fracture. This article may, however, lead to interesting conversations with referring providers who are in a position to consider the addition of calcitonin for the proposed analgesic effect and potential bone healing augmentation. (The authors do suggest using the smallest effective dose for the shortest duration required.)

Jul 01, 2014

Earlier this year, when I came across this journal article about developing an interdisciplinary clinic for patients with endometriosis and pelvic pain, I was pleased to see that rehabilitation is included in this team setting. Upon reaching out to Susannah Britnell, physiotherapist, she agreed to answer some questions about her clinic and about her passion for pelvic rehab. Below you can read her responses to my questions. Stay tuned for Part 2 that will be published next week!


Susannah Britnell

How long have you been working in the interdisciplinary clinic?


I’ve been working at the BC Women’s Centre for Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis in Vancouver, BC, since October 2012. We are a provincially funded program for women with chronic pelvic pain from all over the province of BC, Canada.


Jun 26, 2014

In Turkey, the rate of daytime urinary incontinence (DUI) was studied in primary school-aged children. A questionnaire was completed by parents of 2164 students. The Dysfunctional Voiding and Incontinence Symptoms Score Questionnaire was utilized and includes 14 questions about daytime and nighttime symptoms, voiding and bowel habits, and quality of life.


The population studied included approximately half boys and girls, with nearly half living in rural versus urban settings, and of a mean age of 10 years old. The overall prevalence of DUI was 8% (8.8% in girls, 7.3% in boys), and decreased with increasing age in this study population of children in 1st through 8th grades. 57.8% of those who did experience involuntary loss of urine were wetting less than 1x/day, 26.6% were wetting 1-2 times/day, and 15.6% were wetting greater than 2x/day. Urge incontinence was reported in nearly 59% of the children with DUI.


Independent risk factors for DUI included age, maternal educational level, family history of daytime wetting, urban versus rural setting, history of constipation or urinary tract infection (UTI), and urinary urgency. The authors conclude that "…educational programs and larger school-based screening should be carried out, especially in regions with low socioeconomic status." In this study, one of the strategies used to increase the survey response rate was to send medical and public health residents to the schools to speak about the study on 2 occasions.


Despite the numbers of therapists who have previously trained with educators such as faculty member Dawn Sandalcidi in her coursework for pediatric bowel and bladder function, the number of therapists focusing on pediatric pelvic health remains small while the need is great. Therapists who wish to expand community reach to pediatric urologists and pediatricians, and to serve the children who may unfortunately become adults who have bowel and bladder dysfunction, have the opportunity to attend the Pediatric Incontinence and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction continuing education course in Greenville, South Carolina this August.

Upcoming Continuing Education Courses

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - St. Louis, MO (SOLD OUT!)
Sep 05, 2014 - Sep 07, 2014
Location: Washington University School of Medicine

Meditation and Pain Neuroscience - Winfield, IL
Sep 06, 2014 - Sep 07, 2014
Location: Central DuPage Hospital Conference Room

Visceral Mobilization Level Two - Boston, MA
Sep 12, 2014 - Sep 14, 2014
Location: Marathon Physical Therapy

Coccyx Pain - Nashua, NH
Sep 13, 2014 - Sep 14, 2014
Location: St. Joseph Hospital Rehabilitative Services

Visceral Mobilization of the Urologic System - Scottsdale, AZ
Sep 19, 2014 - Sep 21, 2014
Location: Womens Center for Wellness and Rehabilitation

Care of the Postpartum Patient - Maywood, IL
Sep 20, 2014 - Sep 21, 2014
Location: Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine

Pelvic Floor/ Pelvic Girdle - Atlanta, GA
Sep 27, 2014 - Sep 28, 2014
Location: One on One Physical Therapy

Assessing and Treating Vulvodynia - Waterford, CT
Sep 27, 2014 - Sep 28, 2014
Location: Visiting Nurses Association - Southeastern

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - Durham, NC
Oct 03, 2014 - Oct 05, 2014
Location: Duke University Medical Center

Male Pelvic Floor - Tampa, FL
Oct 04, 2014 - Oct 05, 2014
Location: Florida Hospital - Wesley Chapel

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - St. Louis, MO (Sold Out!)
Oct 10, 2014 - Oct 12, 2014
Location: Washington University School of Medicine

Chronic Pelvic Pain - New Canaan, CT
Oct 10, 2014 - Oct 12, 2014
Location: Philip Physical Therapy

Peripartum Special Topics - Houston, TX
Oct 11, 2014 - Oct 12, 2014
Location: Texas Children’s Hospital

Pelvic Floor Level 3 - Maywood, IL
Oct 17, 2014 - Oct 19, 2014
Location: Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine

Lymphatic Drainage - San Diego, CA
Oct 18, 2014 - Oct 19, 2014
Location: FunctionSmart Physical Therapy