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Jun 24, 2014

This post was written by H&W instructor Jennafer Vande Vegte, MSPT, BCIA-PMB, PRPC. Jen will be instructing our "Pelvic Floor Level 2B" course in Illinois this July.

 

Jennafer Vande Vegte

My job as a pelvic floor therapist is rewarding and challenging in so many ways. I have to say that one of my favorite "job duties" is differential diagnosis. Some days I feel like a detective, hunting down and piecing together important clues that join like the pieces of a puzzle and reveal the mystery of the root of a particular patient's problem. When I can accurately pinpoint the cause of someone's pain, then I can both offer hope and plan a road to healing.

 

Recently a lovely young woman came into my office with the diagnosis of dyspareunia. As you may know, dyspareunia means painful penetration and is somewhat akin to getting a script that says "lower back pain." As a therapist you still have to use your skills to determine the cause of the pain and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

 


Jun 24, 2014

In women with pelvic pain, is a pudendal nerve block effective, and how does the effectiveness correlate with findings of the history and clinical exam? These were the questions posed by a study published in 2012. Sixty-six patients were given a standardized pudendal nerve block, with Visual Analog Scores (VAS) and presence of numbness recorded prior to and up to 64 hours after the block. Inclusion criteria for the study involved having spontaneous or provoked pain in the distribution of the pudendal nerve, and patients were excluded if significant psychosocial issues, neurogenic or neuromuscular disorders, contraindication to sedation or allergy to utilized medication was present. A detailed history and physical examination was completed.

 

The pudendal nerve block was administered transvaginally and digitally, under sedation, in a lithotomy position. Following data collection, the researchers found that the presence of a positive Tinel's sign (palpation medial to the ischial spine for assessment of pain reproduction), a prior history of vulvovaginal candidiasis, or symptom worsening in the sitting position was associated with a return of the pain prior to the numbness wearing off. 92.4% of the subjects reported a "positive" response to the block, with varied lengths of time of symptom reduction. Nearly 87% of the subjects reported a reduction in one or more symptoms. This study only studied subjects for 64 hours, therefore it is not possible to discuss from this research the long-term implications of a pudendal nerve block in women with pudendal neuralgia. The authors did find a correlation between prior traumatic events including birth injuries, herniated discs, and fractures of the coccyx, pelvis or sacrum.

 

What does this research tell us about the role of pudendal blocks in the assessment and treatment of female pelvic pain? As already mentioned, the brevity of the data collection (only up to 64 hours) in addition to application of a non-guided block limit the ability to extrapolate this information to any long-term results. However, the correlations to clinical history and the return to pain prior to numbness ending may provide useful information as further clinical research is completed. The numbness was found to have inconsistent effects on a patient's symptoms such as bladder, bowel, sexual dysfunction, or sitting, and further research could measure the effects of a block on these functions. If you would like to discuss pudendal blocks with experts on pudendal dysfunction, sign up for the remaining spots in our August San Diego course!

 

Learn more about the Pudendal Neuralgia Assessment and Treatment course that we are holding at Comprehensive Therapy Services later this year.


Jun 23, 2014

This post was written by H&W instructor Dawn Sandalcidi, PT, RCMT, BCB-PMD. Dawn's course that she wrote on "Pediatric Incontinence" will be presented in in South Caroline this August.

 

Dawn Sandalcidi

I will never forget the morning I was called by one of my referring pediatricians to tell me an 11-year-old boy with fecal incontinence hung himself because his siblings ridiculed him. If you ever ask me why I do what I do, I will tell you so that nothing like that would ever happen again.

 

When we think of pediatric bowel and bladder issues we primarily focus on the physiologic issue itself and treating the underlying pathology. I think it is imperative to teach a child that she/he did not have a leak but their bladder or bowel had a leak. It makes the incident a physiological problem and not a problem of the child.

 


Jun 23, 2014

A systematic review from July of 2013 addressed how interpersonal factors modulate pain. Four primary findings of the research that are found to affect pain-related responses are as follows: the degree to which social partners were active (or perceived to be able to be active), the degree to which participants could perceive the specific intentions of the social partners, the pre-existing relationship between the subject and the social partner, and individual differences in relating to others (including coping styles).

 

Some patients are negatively impacted by a partner who is attentive to pain, with increased reports of pain, worse pain outcomes when together versus alone, and with longer lasting pain states. On the other hand, some patients respond favorably to a partner's support, with lower reports of pain states when offered support such as holding the hand of a partner. Because each person's relationship and response to the pain within the context of the relationship varies, the impact of a partner on perceived pain is also varied. The authors, after describing details and evidence of pain modulation research, conclude the following: "Specifically, interpersonal exchanges affect precision or salience by socially signaling the safety or threat of the impending stimulus itself or the environment in which the stimulus occurs."

 

How can we take this information to heart within the pelvic rehabilitation practice? One of the ways that we offer support to a couple is by inviting a partner to attend a clinic session where he or she can learn to assist in application of soft tissue release techniques. The partner has the opportunity to be validated in both the gratitude that the therapist offers to the patient and partner for attending, and also in the fact that pelvic pain is commonly encountered. Because pelvic pain can interfere with a couple's intimacy, having such validation about the physicality of pain, when present, may be useful in a relationship. When a partner learns how to be of help in the healing process, this may also affect the factors mentioned in the cited research article, specifically, how partners are perceived to be able to be active or perception of specific intention.

 

It has been my clinical experience that partners are very specific in intention once being trained in how to help with pelvic pain, and that intention is to be a part of the healing process. It has also been an observation that if a partnership is struggling with their relationship, that issues can surface once asked to engage in pelvic muscle rehabilitation. This might mean that a patient chooses to pause rehabilitation and enter psychological counseling or other healing work. It also might mean that the patient chooses to not request help of the partner in the clinic or at home for the time being.


Jun 20, 2014

This post was written by H&W instructor Ginger Garner, MPT, ATC, PYT. Ginger will be instructing the course that she wrote on "Yoga as Medicine for Labor and Delivery and Postpartum" in Washington this August.

 

yoga

Physical therapists often see women during pregnancy and postpartum, but what can physical therapists do to foster better birth outcomes?

 

A 2012 study conducted in Norway underscores the importance of childbirth education, which can take place as part of patient education and counseling in physical therapy. The study looked at 2206 women with intended vaginal delivery in order to assess the association between fear of childbirth and duration of labor. Labor duration was found to be significantly longer in women with fear of childbirth, with the rate of epidural analgesia, induction, and instrumental vaginal delivery also being higher in fearful women. The authors posit that “anxiety and fear may increase plasma concentrations of catecholamines, and high concentrations of catecholamines have been associated with both enervated uterine contractility and a prolonged second stage of labour.” (Adams et al 2012).

 


Jun 20, 2014

This post was written by guest blogger Laura E Nimon OTR/L, CLT-LANA. Laura will be attending Ginger Garner's course that she wrote on "Yoga as Medicine for Labor and Delivery and Post Partum " in Seattle this August.

 

 

From the time a woman hears the words “You’re pregnant” she becomes flooded with information regarding what she should/should not do to have a healthy pregnancy—but how much is accurate, and why is a healthy delivery not further discussed?

 

Over the last decade yoga has become a highly recommended form of exercise to maintain/improve flexibility and cardiovascular status in a gentle and safe manner. There is a plethora of information and sales directed to pregnant women and these women should be wary consumers as not all classes or home videos are safe due to the hormonal changes experienced in pregnancy that can exacerbate a prior joint condition or create one if an exercise is done improperly.

 


Jun 18, 2014

pelvis

When assessing sacroiliac joint (SIJ) stability and function, pelvic rehabilitation providers often use the single leg stand test. During transition from double-leg stance to single-leg stance, dynamic stability is required and there are several ways to describe the observed behaviors in patients. If a patient, for example, loses her balance when transitioning to a single leg stand, what is contributing to her loss of stability? Could it be the SIJ, abdominal and trunk strength, ankle proprioception, visual or vestibular deficits, or hip abductor weakness? Of course, these are not the only potential confounders to postural stability, yet represent some of the considerations of the rehabilitation therapist.

 

A recent study aimed to further define techniques to measure "time to stabilization" in a double-limb to single-limb stance. The authors measured 15 healthy control subjects and 15 subjects who presented with chronic ankle instability (CAI) and the researchers tested the ability to achieve stability in single-leg stance during eyes open and eyes closed tasks as well as with varied speeds of movement.

 

The research found that in subjects who had CAI, following transition to single-leg stance, increased postural sway was noted. In the same subjects, when performing the task with eyes closed, those with a history of ankle instability performed the transition much more slowly than those in the control group when allowed to choose their speed of transition. Prior research (described in the linked article) had postulated that time to stabilization (TTS) following double-limb to single-limb transition was an important variable to measure, yet this research did not find that the TTS was significantly different between the groups studied.

 


Jun 18, 2014

Fascia is finally getting proper respect, rather than being that "white stuff" that was cut away during anatomy labs. Researchers continue to explore the cellular mechanisms and the total body functions that require healthy fascial layers. Fascial planes and connections are increasingly considered in strengthening programs as well, rather than only being considered in the design of stretching or flexibility programs. Tom Myers author of Anatomy Trains, and student of Rolfing founder Ida Rolf, contributes not only to the anatomical knowledge of therapists, but also to the functional applications of fascia in daily life and in exercise regimens.

 

Within the world of exercise training and physical fitness, muscles have often been considered in isolation, as is pointed out in this article written by Tom Myers in IDEA Fitness Journal. Yet muscles rarely work functionally as an isolated structure. Consider this fact when teaching pelvic floor muscle training. How many times have you instructed a patient to utilize thigh adductor muscles, exhale (respiratory diaphragm), or activate transversus abdominis to augment or facilitate the pelvic floor? While there is value in requesting that a patient focus on or emphasize a pelvic muscle contraction, or in teaching a patient to quiet dominant abdominals or gluteals, rarely do we find it effective to teach total isolation of a muscle in functional re-training.

 

Mr. Meyers uses anatomical information to drive the emphasis on fascial training, pointing out that there are ten times more sensory nerve endings in fascia than in muscles, and describes fascia as requiring our knowledge of accurate anatomy to engage the fascial planes as an "organ system of stability." Myers makes the case that fascia responds better to variation than to a repeated program when aiming to build fascial resilience. Varied tempo, varied loads, and varied movements are key to improving fascial health and efficiency. Integration of kinesthetic awareness via the fascial tissues rather than the muscles is also an important concept that is discussed- bringing awareness to movement through skin and superficial tissue movement rather than directing attention only to joint motion is another concept proposed for advancing movement training programs.

 

Considering these concepts may or may not change how you are currently designing your patients' fitness and rehabilitation programs, depending upon how you were trained and upon how you have continued to access continuing education and research. Breaking old habits and re-learning how to train movement does take effort on the part of the rehabilitation therapist, and fortunately, many instructors are integrating concepts of fascial planes into coursework. One such course that focuses clearly on integrating fascial training into sports-specific rehabilitation is Biomechanical Assessment of the Hip and Pelvis taking place this August in Arlington, Virginia. Instructor Steve Dischiavi, physical therapist and athletic trainer to the Florida Panthers, offers an excellent course that includes exercise concepts specific to the idea of fascial "slings" and that is sure to add some new exercises to your tool bag.


Jun 18, 2014

In our weekly feature section, Pelvic Rehab Report is proud to present this interview with newly certified practitioner Elizabeth Kemper MPT, PRPC, BCB-PMD

 

Elizabeth Kemper

Describe your clinical practice:

I see both male and female patients in a private practice clinic and devote 100% of my time to pelvic therapy (“pelvic” being loosely defined as from the thorax to the knees). It is a privilege to share in some very personal and complicated portions of each person’s life. Just showing up for pelvic therapy can be daunting and I don’t take that trust lightly. The majority of people I see present with diagnoses of pelvic pain, prolapse, obstetrical issues, elimination dysfunction, abdominal pain and/or sexual dysfunction. I have the luxury and responsibility to give these patients undivided attention with one-on-one scheduling and treatments that are heavily weighted on patient education, manual techniques combined with neurologic re-education and progression into exercise-based support. I try to design the home programs to fit into the lifestyle and interests specific to that client. I love what I do and try to share that enthusiasm for pelvic health with each person who walks through the door!

If you could get a message out to physical therapists about pelvic rehabilitation what would it be?

I think the most important message to spread in the PT community is that pelvic rehabilitation is not a completely separate category. A good pelvic therapist integrates portions of all aspects of therapy – orthopedic, neurologic, geriatric, pediatric, oncologic, cardiovascular, etc! As is often found, the cause of the dysfunction with any diagnosis may be local or distant from the actual symptoms. While pelvic therapists specialize in the pelvic region, we have to incorporate the entire body in our evaluation and treatment in order to fully resolve the issue. There is sometimes a false image of pelvic therapists - that we just teach Kegels or do biofeedback - and that couldn’t be farther from the truth.


Jun 18, 2014

This post was written by H&W instructor Ginger Garner, MPT, ATC, PYT. Ginger will be instructing the course that she wrote on "Yoga as Medicine for Pregnancy" in New York this November.

 

yoga

Pregnancy brings the most enormous changes in a woman’s life, and is arguably the most profound change that the body can experience.

 

It is no secret that America claims the most shameful maternal health and birth outcomes in the developed world. For more information, read my previous post on American Childbirth: A Human Rights Failure? However, physical therapy can have quite a bit to do with turning those statistics around. Informing mothers about their right to access physical therapy can help improve birth statistics by improving a mother’s health and well-being, not just treating a case of pregnancy-associated low back pain or sciatica.

 


Upcoming Continuing Education Courses

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Minneapolis, MN (SOLD OUT!)
Jul 25, 2014 - Jul 27, 2014
Location: Abbott Northwestern Hospital

Athlete and the Pelvic Floor - Columbus, OH
Aug 02, 2014 - Aug 03, 2014
Location: OhioHealth Neighborhood Care Rehabilitation

Pudendal Neuralgia - San Diego, CA
Aug 09, 2014 - Aug 10, 2014
Location: Comprehensive Therapy Services

Biomechanical Assessment - Arlington, VA
Aug 16, 2014 - Aug 17, 2014
Location: Virginia Hospital Center

Yoga as Medicine for Labor and Delivery and Postpartum - Seattle, WA
Aug 16, 2014 - Aug 17, 2014
Location: Pilates Seattle International

Pediatric Incontinence - Greenville, SC
Aug 23, 2014 - Aug 24, 2014
Location: Proaxis Therapy

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