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Aug 26, 2014

In an article describing vascular dysfunction in women with chronic pelvic pain (CPP), Foong and colleagues describe the common finding of pelvic venous congestion. This study aimed to determine changes in microcirculatory function in women with chronic pelvic pain compared to controls. Eighteen women presenting with chronic pelvic pain of at least 1 year and 13 women without pelvic pain or congestion were evaluated for isovolumetric venous pressure, miscrovascular filtration capacity, and limb blood flow. All women were of reproductive age, menstruating regularly, and measurements were made during the mid follicular and the midluteal stages of the same 28 day cycle. The 18 women with CPP fit previously established criteria for pelvic congestion.

 

The women in the patient group were re-evaluated at 5-6 months following treatment for pelvic congestion, with treatment including medication-induced suppression of ovarian function for 6 months, and in 4 patients, hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oopherectomy. All of the patients received daily hormone replacement therapy (Premarin and Provera) "…to minimize the hypo-oestrogenic effects of treatment."

 

Findings of the research include an elevation in isovolumetric venous pressure, or Pvi in women with CPP compared to controls. Interestingly, there were no changes related to menstrual cycle in measures of microvascular filtration capacity and and limb blood flow. The conclusion of this study is that women with chronic pelvic pain may present with systemic microvascular dysfunction. The noted increase in Pvi "…may be attributable to systemic increases in post capillary resistance secondary to neutrophil activation." Following treatment for pelvic congestion, the value changes in isovolumetric venous pressure were no longer present.

 

This research highlights the noted changes in microcirculatory function in women with chronic pelvic pain. The obligatory chicken and egg conversation weighs in: does pelvic congestion lead to pelvic pain, or does pelvic pain always precede pelvic congestion? While the answer is probably that either condition can cause and perpetuate the other, as pelvic rehabilitation providers, our first thought might be: what would the research outcomes be if the treatment were not medication-induced ovarian suppression or surgery, but therapy directed to the pelvic pain and congestion? The Institute offered, for the first time last year, a course that allows the therapist to address pelvic pain through treatment of pelvic lymphatic drainage. The Lymphatic Drainage for Pelvic Pain continuing education course is a 2-day class instructed by Debora Hickman, a certified lymphedema therapist. Sign up now to save your seat in October in San Diego, and if you can't make this course, contact us to let us know you are interested in this special topics course, and we will keep you informed of any new course bookings!


Aug 22, 2014

hip joint

What structures may be implicated in posterior hip pain in the athlete? This question is addressed in a comprehensive article that can be accessed here. Complaints of posterior hip pain are increasingly common, and the differential diagnosis can include a variety of conditions and structures. The differential diagnosis of posterior hip pain may include hip extensor or hip rotator muscle strain, femoroacetabular impingement, proximal hamstring rupture, piriformis syndrome, and referral from the lumbar spine or sacroiliac joint, and systemic conditions such as cancer or infection, according to the article. To this list, could we add sciatic and other nerves in the buttock and pelvic floor, ischial injuries or ischial bursa irritation? With lists that include both systemic dysfunction and a variety of potential neuromusculoskeletal causes of posterior hip pain, the therapist must have a comprehensive ability to apply clinical reasoning, expert interview, and solid clinical examination and evaluation skills.

 

Posterior hip pain is only one type of hip pain, and one complaint within the world of pelvic pain. How does the therapist keep sharp tools for diagnosing musculoskeletal conditions, other connective tissue dysfunctions, as well as screen for disease conditions and other dysfunctions that can mimic hip or pelvic pain? Herman & Wallace has increased our offerings of courses towards differential diagnosis of hip and pelvic pain, including Biomechanical Assessment of the Hip & Pelvis, taught recently by Steve Dischiavi. (Stay tuned for Steve's upcoming course schedule!)

 

Another continuing education course that offers excellent opportunity to fine tune your skills in Differential Diagnosis of Pelvic Pain is coming up in October in Connecticut. The course is instructed by Peter Philip, who completed his Doctor of Science degree on the topic of Differential Diagnostics of Pelvic Pain. In addition to learning detailed anatomy and palpation skills, the participant can take away from the course a better understanding of embryology, the somatic and autonomic nervous system, and pelvic conditions that may be caused by or influenced by pelvic pain. The course will include both internal and external pelvic muscle examination techniques. With seven labs scheduled in this continuing education course, the participant will have abundant opportunities to practice instructed skills.


Aug 18, 2014

baby

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 233,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed this year, and nearly 30,000 men will die from the disease. The diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer in the United States has experienced significant shifts in the past few years, making management of cancer survivors challenging.  One of the big changes in prostate cancer screening took place in 2011; the US Preventive Services Task Force recommended against routine prostate specific antigen, or PSA testing due to the level of potential harm such as psychological distress and complications from the biopsy. You can read a prior post about that here. New guidelines for providing care to prostate cancer survivors have been published by the American Cancer Society so that providers can better identify and manage the side effects and complications of the disease and recognize appropriate monitoring and screening of survivors. 

 

 

In patients younger than 65 years of age, radical prostatectomy surgery is the most common intervention for prostate cancer. Long-term side effects of radical prostatectomy commonly include, according to the guidelines, urinary and sexual dysfunction. Urinary incontinence or retention can occur following prostatectomy, and sexual issues can range from erectile dysfunction to changes in orgasm and even penile length. Other common treatments, such as radiation and androgen deprivation therapy, are also related to urinary, sexual, and bowel dysfunction, as well as a long list of "other" effects. 

 

 


Aug 15, 2014

baby

Concepts in "core" strengthening have been discussed ubiquitously, and clearly there is value in being accurate with a clinical treatment strategy, both for reasons of avoiding worsening of a dysfunctional movement or condition, and for engaging the patient in an appropriate rehabilitation activity. Because each patient presents with a unique clinical challenge, we do not (and may never) have reliable clinical protocols for trunk and pelvic rehabilitation. Rather, reliance upon excellent clinical reasoning skills combined with examination and evaluation, then intervention skills will remain paramount in providing valuable therapeutic approaches. 

 

 

Even (and especially) for the therapist who is not interested in learning how to assess the pelvic floor muscles internally for purposes of diagnosis and treatment, how can an "external" approach to patient care be optimized to understand how the pelvic floor plays a role in core rehabilitation, and when does the patient need to be examined by a therapist who can provide internal examination and treatment if deemed necessary? There are many valuable continuing education pathways to address these questions, including courses offered by the Herman & Wallace Institute that instruct in concepts focusing on neuromotor coordination and learning based in clinical research. 

 

 


Aug 14, 2014

Hip

In a recent study examining demographic and obstetric factors on sleep experience of 202 postpartum mothers, researchers report that better sleep quality correlated negatively with increased time spent on household work, and correlated positively with a satisfactory childbirth experience. Let's get right to the take home points: how are we addressing postpartum birth experiences in the clinic, and how can we best educate new mothers in self-care? You will find many posts in the Herman Wallace blog about peripartum issues, and you can access the link here

The authors recommend that healthcare providers "…should improve current protocols to help women better confront and manage childbirth-related pain, discomfort, and fear." Do you have current resources with which you can discuss these issues (and a referral to an appropriate provider) when needed? In our postpartum 

course, we highlight the challenges a new mother faces due to the commonly-experienced fatigue in the postpartum period. According to Kurth et al., exhaustion impairs concentration, increases fear of harming the infant, and can trigger depressive symptoms. Issues of lack of support, not napping, overdoing activities,, worrying about the baby, and even worrying about knowing you should be sleeping can worsen fatigue in a new mother. (Runquist et al., 2007) 

 

Back to what we can do for the patient: investigate local resources. This may include knowing what education is happening in local childbirth classes (and providing some training when possible), respectfully inquiring of new mothers how they are doing with sleep and demands of running a household (and business or work life), and finding out what support/resources the new mother has but is not accessing. Patients are often hesitant to ask for help, or may feel guilty in hiring someone to help clean for the first few months, feeling that she "should" be able to handle the chores and tasks. Educating women about results of the research and about potential improvements in quality of life can help the entire family. 

 


Aug 12, 2014

c-section

Insights in fascial mobility and dysfunctions are provided in this article by Gil Headley, and instructor who spends a significant amount of time working with anatomical dissections. Visceral fascia, according to Hedley, contains 3 layers: a fibrous outermost layer, a parietal serous layer, and a visceral serous layer. Fascial layers are, for the most part, designed to be able to slide over one another. Dysfunction can occur when there is a fixation in the connective tissues that prevents such sliding. A disruption in visceral fascial mobility may impair the necessary functional movement of the organs. Consider the mobility of the lungs and the heart when neuromuscular functions cause air or blood to expand and contract within the organ spaces. Bringing the concept to pelvic rehabilitation, what impairments are encountered when the bladder cannot easily fill or contract, or when movement of the bowels tugs on fascial restrictions? How are the tissues of the vaginal canal influenced by restrictions in tissues above, behind, or below the structure?

 

Examples of causes of adhesions may include (but not are limited to) inflammation from infections or disease, post-surgical scarring, dysfunctions caused by prior adhesion or limitation, and intentional therapeutic adhesions (think of a prolapse repair). While fibrous adhesions, once palpated, may be manually pulled apart, this is not the recommendation of the article author. Unfortunately, such an approach can result in further opportunity for inflammation and adhesions. One method of improving tissue mobility is to manually facilitate "…movement towards the normal range of motion of the fixed tissues with gentle traction…" timed with deep breathing. This technique may improve the ability of the organs and tissues to slide upon one another, and also may help in prevention of further movement restrictions. Would this type of intervention always require hands-on care? The author provides an example of a patient providing gentle traction by reaching to a pull-up bar, performing deep breathing and various trunk rotation positions following a thoracic surgery.

 

Visceral mobilization techniques may be a part of a patient's healing approach, and these techniques may be therapist-directed, patient-directed, or both. The Institute is pleased to offer two upcoming visceral mobilization continuing education courses next month instructed by faculty member Ramona Horton. Visceral Mobilization of the Reproductive System takes place in Boston, and Visceral Mobilization of the Urologic System is being hosted in Scottsdale.


Aug 09, 2014

Smile

What is the best reason to take a mindfulness or meditation course? Self-care! How many of us make choices in our daily lives that put our own health and wellness first? While we stay busy doing the important work of taking care of our patients, we can often forget to take care of ourselvs. Oftentimes, in addition to perhaps not learning to value self-care as we were growing up in our own families, we don't have strategies or the time-management skills to implement self-care. What is self-care? Self-care, as suggested by compassionfatigue.org, can include healthy lifestyle practices involving physical activity and healthy dietary habits, setting boundaries (saying "no"), having a healthy support system in place, organizing daily life to be proactive rather than reactive, reserving energy for worthy causes, and creating balance in life. (Check out this link for a prior blog post on compassion fatigue!)


The truth is, healthcare providers are stressed and burnout is common. So how does taking a course in mindfulness benefit the health care provider? Recent research including a university center based mindfulness-based stress reduction course was implemented with 93 providers including physicians, nurses, psychologists, and social workers. The training involved 8 weeks of 2.5 hour classes in addition to a seven hour retreat. Participants were instructed in mindfulness practices including a body scan, mindful movement, walking and sitting meditations, and were involved in discussions in how to apply mindfulness practices in the work setting. Outcomes included the Maslach Burnout Inventory and the SF-12. Results of the training, which was offered 11 times over a 6 year period, included improved scores relating to burnout and mental well-being. 

 

But where can you take a course to learn valuable self-care tools? First up, there's the Meditation and Pain Neuroscience continuing education course happening at the beginning of next month. Then there is the Mindfulness-based Biopsychosocial Approach to the Treatment of Chronic Pain taking place in November in Seattle! Join us as we spread the word about how to not only take good care of your patients, but also of yourself. 

 


Aug 07, 2014

Hip

In pelvic rehab, if you ask therapists from around the country, you will most often hear that patients with pelvic dysfunction are seen once per week. This is in contrast to many other physical therapy plans of care, so what gives? Perhaps one of the things to consider is that most patients of pelvic rehab are not seen in the acute stages of their condition, whether the condition is perineal pain, constipation, tailbone pain, or incontinence, for example. 

The literature is rich with evidence supporting the facts that physicians are unaware of, unprepared for, or uncomfortable with conversations about treatment planning for patients who have continence issues or pelvic pain. The research also tells us that patients don't bring up pelvic dysfunctions, due to lack of awareness for available treatment, or due to embarrassment, or due to being told that their dysfunction is "normal" after having a baby or as a result of aging. So between the providers not talking about, and patients not bringing up pelvic dysfunctions, we have a huge population of patients who are not accessing timely care. 

 

 

What else is it about pelvic rehab that therapists are scheduling patients once a week? Is it that the patient is driving a great distance for care because there are not enough of us to go around? Do the pelvic floor muscles have differing principles for recovery in relation to basic strengthening concepts? Or is the reduced frequency per week influenced by the fact that many patients are instructed in behavioral strategies that may take a bit of time to re-train? 

 


Aug 05, 2014

Hip

George Thiele, MD, published several articles relating to coccyx pain as early as 1930 and into the late 1960's. His work on coccyx pain and treatment remains relevant today, and all pelvic rehabilitation providers can benefit from knowledge of his publications. Thiele's massage is a particular method of massage to the posterior pelvic floor muscles including the coccygeus. Dr. Thiele, in his article on the cause and treatment of coccygodynia in 1963, states that the levator ani and coccygeus muscles are tender and spastic, while the tip of the coccyx is not usually tender in patients who complain of tailbone pain. The same article takes the reader through an amazing literature review describing interventions for coccyx pain in the early 20th century. 

 

 

Examination and physical findings, according to Dr. Thiele, include slow and careful sitting with weight often shifted to one buttock, and frequent change of position. He also describes poor sitting posture, with pressure placed upon the middle buttocks, sacrum, and tailbone. Postural dysfunction as a proposed etiology is not a new theory, and in Thiele's article he states that poor sitting posture is "…the most important traumatic factor in coccygodynia…" and even referred to postural cases as having "television disease." 

 

 


Aug 03, 2014

Hip

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! 

 

 


Upcoming Continuing Education Courses

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 (SOLD OUT!)
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

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

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Boston, MA (SOLD OUT!)
Oct 24, 2014 - Oct 26, 2014
Location: Marathon Physical Therapy

Bowel Pathology and Function - Torrance, CA
Nov 08, 2014 - Nov 09, 2014
Location: HealthCare Partners - Torrance

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - San Diego, CA (SOLD OUT)
Nov 14, 2014 - Nov 16, 2014
Location: FunctionSmart Physical Therapy

Mindfulness- Based Biopsychosocial Approach to Chronic Pain - Seattle, WA
Nov 15, 2014 - Nov 16, 2014
Location: Swedish Hospital - Cherry Hill Campus

Yoga as Medicine for Pregnancy - New York, NY
Nov 16, 2014 - Nov 17, 2014
Location: Touro College