Login / Create an Account


May 27, 2014

Nari Clemons

This fall, Herman & Wallace will be debuting a brand new course, Integrating Meditation and Neuropsych Principles to Maximize Physical Therapy Interventions, in Winfield, IL. We sat down with the course instructor, Nari Clemons, PT, to learn more about this brand new offering.

What inspired you to create this course?

There is so much more to pain management than just manual techniques, and with meditation we can help patients with a mental shift to facilitate healing. Everyone is always telling patients to work on stress management, but so few people are really able to give patients usable, practical, useful tools to do so. We all know those patients who come in so keyed up or so caught up in playing the same tape in their heads, that we are not sure what we can do to help them.  I meditate every day, and it has helped my life (and my patients) beyond measure. I know how many times I use meditation as a way for patients to benefit more from their treatment.  In most of the Herman Wallace courses, we talk about using down training and stress management for conditions like overactive pelvic floor, constipation, urinary urge, dyspareunia etc. (even for Interstitial cystitis, the first line of treatment is now relaxation training) but, so few practitioners have access to these tools or this knowledge, so how are they able to help patients? I want to help bridge that gap.


What can you tell us about this course not mention in the description and objectives?

This course is, above all, extremely practical. It takes away the mystery and lack of approachability of meditation, by taking the idea of centering, self-care, healing, and balancing the mind from something esoteric, vague and mystical to step-by-step tools that therapists can use. I hope attendees will use these simple techniques in their own lives and with their patients to help manage conditions of pain, tension, and anxiety. Because the aspects of health for this course border on both the realm of mental health and physical therapy, this course will be co-instructed by Dr. Shawn Sidhu, psychiatrist and meditator, who will provide info on current mental health perspectives.

May 23, 2014

Research by Wong and colleagues published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reported on the incidence of postpartum lumbosacral and lower extremity injuries. Of 6048 women who were interviewed, 56 had a new injury, confirmed by physiatrist evaluation. The researchers noted that "Women with nerve injury spend more time pushing in the semi-Fowler-lithotomy position than women without injury." The researchers also noted that women who were nulliparous (had not given birth previously), who had an assisted (forceps or vacuum) birth, or who experienced a prolonged second stage of labor, were at increased risk of nerve injury.



The most common nerves involved included the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, followed by the femoral nerve. Radiculopathies occurred at the L4, L5, and S1 levels. The authors make the following recommendations: changing positions frequently during the pushing phase, avoiding prolonged thigh flexion, avoiding extreme thigh abduction and external rotation. Other labor-related perineal nerve injuries have been documented by Sahai-Srivastava et al. to occur due to prolonged squatting or to prolonged pressure from birth attendants at the knees. 



The research by Wong and colleagues highlights the important of interviewing patients about past and current symptoms, birth histories including length of time spent pushing and in what positions a woman was pushing. Teaching a woman and her birth assistants about providing support to the birthing woman's body can be very helpful; a birthing woman may welcome support of a limb, yet avoiding over-compression or sustained positions without intermittent breaks may reduce risk of nerve injury. Because the authors also noted a correlation between nerve injuries and maternal pushing at higher fetal stations (the fetus had not descended as far into the birth canal), they recommend attempting to shorten active pushing time by allowing the fetus to descend further prior to pushing. (This concept in itself is a very interesting topic to be followed-up on in another post!)

May 23, 2014

Carolyn McManus

This blog was written by Carolyn McManus, PT, MS, MA, who will be presenting at the APTA's Virtual NEXT conference in North Carolina. Carolyn is instructing a new course with Mindfulness-Based Biopsychosocial Approach to Chronic Pain. This course will be offered November 15-16, 2014 in Seattle, WA.


Last fall, I was honored to receive an invitation from the APTA’s National Conference team to contribute to this year’s Virtual NEXT programming. Virtual NEXT offers live and on-demand streaming of annual conference's signature lectures and select educational sessions, worth up to 1.6 CEUs. New this year, you can purchase presentations individually. For the price of one registration, you and your colleagues can get together and be part of a worldwide Virtual NEXT viewing party!


The title of my presentation, to be delivered on Thursday, June 12th, is “The Pain Puzzle: Empowering Your Patients to Put the Pieces Together.” I will highlight basic chronic pain neurophysiology, and briefly discuss the brain in chronic pain, stress-induced hyperalgesia and the cognitive modulation of pain. I will describe how this current evidence affects our clinical practice and suggest evidence-based treatment strategies. These will include therapeutic pain neurophysiology education and mindful awareness training. I will close with a case study that demonstrates how our treatment choices must be based on an understanding of underlying pain generating mechanisms in order to achieve success with this complex patient population.


May 23, 2014

Carolyn McManus

This November, Herman & Wallace is thrilled to be offering a brand-new course instructed by Carolyn McManus, PT, MS, MA, called Mindfulness-Based Biopsychosocial Approach to Chronic Pain. This course will be offered November 15-16, 2014 in Seattle, WA. We sat down with Carolyn to learn more about her course.


What inspired you to create this course?

I want to improve the lives of people with chronic pain and help my colleagues be successful in providing care to this often challenging patient population. With my academic training in both PT and psychology, my longstanding mindfulness meditation practice and over 25 years specializing in the care of people with chronic pain, I have a wealth of information and a wide range of practical skills to share with my colleagues.


Among my co-workers at Swedish Medical Center, I learned that those who liked working with patients with persistent pain felt they had something to offer that would help. Those who did not like this patient population felt there was nothing they could do to make a difference in the lives of these patients. I want physical therapists to have the skills and confidence to make a difference and improve the lives of people with chronic pain. I want others to know the same feeling of reward I feel when I have made that difference.

May 22, 2014

In our weekly feature section, Pelvic Rehab Report is proud to present this interview with newly certified practitioner Amanda Olson PT, DPT, PRPC.


Amanda Olson

Describe your clinical practice.:

I work in an outpatient clinic in southern Oregon. My practice consists of approximately 90% Women’s health and male pelvic patients, and the rest is general practice of runners and orthopedic patients that request me.

How did you get involved in the pelvic rehabilitation field?

I had finished my DPT and was working in pediatrics at a children’s hospital when my husband and I went cliff jumping 40 feet into the Rogue River and I landed poorly on my coccyx causing significant pelvic damage (we were old enough to know better, young enough to still do it!). I landed in the office of an amazing pelvic physical therapist colleague who told me that I should quit pediatrics and get trained in pelvic floor treatment. 1 year later I did, and I have been practicing in women’s health/pelvic floor for 5 years now.

May 22, 2014

This post was written by H&W instructor Lila Abbate PT, DPT, MS, OCS. Lila will be instructing the course that she wrote on "Coccyx Pain" in New Hampshire in September.


Allison Ariail

“Sit up tall, stand up straight” were comments we heard from our teachers and our caregivers.  Do you find that you are saying that now to your patients?  Postural correction can go beyond just preventing neck and low back pain.  For a women’s health therapist, improved posture may help our patients prevent uterine prolapse or reduce coccyx pain.


Lind, Lucente and Kohn published a study back in 1996 titled Thoracic Kyphosis and the Prevalence of Advanced Uterine Prolapse. They determined that, in patients with uterine prolapse, the degree of thoracic kyphosis was about 13 degrees higher than in the 48 matched controls.1 Hodges, in the chapter titled “Chronic Low Back and Coccygeal Pain” in Clinical Reasoning for Manual Therapists, presents a case of a 39 year old woman with poor posture who has reproducible coccygeal pain, despite a coccygectomy, with palpation of her L4 segment.  This poor posture perpetuates nerve and muscle dysfunction along with decreased and inappropriate muscle firing patterns that have created this long-term condition. 


May 19, 2014

In a recently published study, an anti-inflammatory diet (AID) for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was offered to 40 patients as an adjunctive regimen. Retrospective medical chart review was utilized to assess dietary adherence and outcomes. Of the 40 patients who were offered the program, 13 patients did not attempt the diet. Of the remaining 27 patients who did attempt the AID, 24 of them had a good or very good response, 3 of them had a "mixed" response. After following the diet, all patients were able to discontinue 1 or more IBD medications, and all patients reported decreased symptoms such as improved bowel frequency. Interestingly, of the 3 patients who had an ambivalent or negative response to the AID, 2 of them were diagnosed with C-difficile, a very challenging condition to resolve.




Inflammatory bowel disease can include the diagnoses of Chrohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and each are characterized by periods of relapse. Patients are often reliant upon medications such as corticosteroids or immunomodulators during flare-ups, and surgical interventions including colectomy. As medical theories have evolved, the authors of this study point out that the gut microbiome is believed to play an importnant role in IBD, and therefore treatments directed at improving intestinal microbiome have increased. 



May 19, 2014

In our weekly feature section, Pelvic Rehab Report is proud to present this interview with newly certified practitioner Amanda Brooks-Ritchie, PT, DPT, PRPC


How did you get involved in the pelvic rehabilitation field?

As I considered a career in physical therapy, pelvic health was not anywhere on my radar, in fact I am not sure that I knew it even existed. I was certainly destined for sports medicine as all of my PT role models were in orthopedics. However, several factors steered my path in the direction of pelvic health. First being that my grandmother and mother had each seen pelvic health physical therapists who had helped them with supportive pelvic floor dysfunctions. Assuming that at some point the same conditions might be headed my way, I was inspired to learn about pelvic health to care for my own body. I was very fortunate that my DPT program had a faculty member who specialized in pelvic health and included many lectures on pelvic health related conditions. Intrigued, I chose to do my elective clinical rotation at a site specializing exclusively in pelvic health. It was there that I saw the incredible impact on quality of life of which therapists are uniquely privileged to be a part. Pelvic health was not (and is not) repulsive or gross to me; it was a fascinating, complex and nuanced patient population that I fell in love with. The opportunity to engage in one-on-one care, to build relationships, to empower individuals with knowledge and skills to care for their own well-being, to utilize my orthopedic background and to learn advanced manual and technical skills are all features of pelvic rehabilitation that make it both very appealing and rewarding.  In pelvic rehabilitation I found my calling and I am so pleased to be a part of this outstanding field.


What lesson have you learned from a Herman & Wallace instructor that has stayed with you?

May 17, 2014

Prostate removal via open, laparoscopic or robotic surgical techniques has been a treatment of choice for patients with prostate cancer. Historically, patients have been keen to inquire about "nerve-sparing" procedures for prostatectomy with a goal of reducing erectile dysfunction or urinary incontinence, two common unwanted side effects of prostate surgery. Research published in Prostate International journal proposes that exquisite knowledge of fascial anatomy is a key to minimizing negative impact from surgery caused by damage to the prostatic neurovascular bundles. The authors in this paper point out that anatomical controversy exists in the  literature and that the anatomy is still being investigated, increasing the surgical challenge for those physicians who aim to identify the structures. 



The pelvic organs are covered by pelvic, also called endopelvic, fascia, that is commonly divided into two layers: that which covers the viscera (wrapping around each organ structure), and the parietal component which covers the medial levator ani, obturator internus, and piriformis. Access to the prostate gland is gained by an anterolateral incision through the endopelvic fascia at the fusion of the visceral and parietal fascia, according to the article. Layers of prostatic fascia and the endopelvic fascia attach laterally at the tendinous arch of the pelvic fascia, and these structures attach to the puboprostatic ligaments. The puboprostatic ligaments anchor the prostate to the pubic bone, creating an important aspect of continence through fascial tension and support. 



While nerve-sparing techniques have focused on preserving pelvic plexus autonomic nerve fibers, the authors argue that there is not a definite anatomy of the periprostatic nerve fibers, possibly contributing to the variability in surgical outcomes reporting for nerve-sparing procedures. Various approaches have been detailed in the literature, and are described in this article, with emphasis on dissection plane and intra- and interfascial techniques utilized. 

May 16, 2014

In our weekly feature section, Pelvic Rehab Report is proud to present this interview with newly certified practitioner Michele Syska, PT, PRPC


Describe Your Clinic:

Orthopedic manual based.  I love figuring out how mechanical issues may be affecting the current presentation.   I would also characterize my practice as open.  I’m up for trying new ideas either from course work, other therapists or patients.  I enjoy learning from the experience of others and have an open mind to many techniques.


What/who inspired you to become involved in pelvic rehabilitation?

I spoke with the therapist who had started the program at my clinic.  She helped to bring knowledge and understanding to the world of pelvic floor dysfunction.  She helped me gain motivation to attend my first course.  Upon attending Herman and Wallace level 1, I can truly say that it was Holly and Kathe’s unique and passionate teaching that solidified my decision.

Upcoming Continuing Education Courses

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

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