For PTs growing or beginning their private practices, treating patients can be the easy part. Because we went to PT school to learn to help patients, not become business men and women, the business side of things is often much more difficult.  For therapists trying to promote their practices, using social media can be an effective and free tool for promoting oneself as a clinician.

Advance Healthcare  recently published an excellent article on physical therapy and social media, titled “PTs Going Social.”  The article touches on many of the benefits of utilizing social media as a method to generate referrals for one’s private practice.

The assumption is that social media can change how businesses advertise and remain relevant in today’s market.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Pinterest offer users the chance to quickly and easily generate content and post it on the web.  However, effectively generating content to best promote one’s practice online is no mean feat.

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Ulcerative Colitis (UC) dramatically effects a patient’s livelihood.  UC is often confused with Crohn’s Disease, another major inflammatory bowel disease.  While they do differ in origin, both diseases share similar symptoms, such as blood in a patient’s stool.  Furthermore, like Crohn’s Disease, UC tends to affect young people (those between the ages of fifteen and thirty).

Chronic and often severe, UC has no known cure and, in rare cases, can even be life-threatening to the patient.

The Daily Mail posted a news article about Manchester United’s Darren Fletcher, who recently underwent his third surgery for UC.  Over the last few years, Fletcher has frequently struggled to stay fit.  He has played just thirteen games since December 2011.

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Urinary Incontinence (UI) is about as pervasive of a condition as any.  Allegro Medical posted a blog recently on “Managing Bedtime Adult Urinary Incontinence.”  As they note in their piece, over “one-third of adults wake up at least twice during the night” to urinate.

Nearly everything that involves the uncontrolled outflow of urine is a type of urinary incontinence.  Meaning, the underlying cause of Urinary Incontinence can be anything from diet to dehydration to weak pelvic floor muscles.

While UI is most pervasive in men over forty, women of all ages, especially pregnant and postpartum women, are affected.  For patients, this can be an exhausting and embarrassing affliction so much so that many do not seek out medical professionals for treatment.

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Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ) Dysfunction is a common cause of lower-back and pelvic pain.  Although athletes suffer frequently from SIJ Dysfunction, this condition can also affect many others, including and especially pregnant women.  The SMART Clinic wrote a blog post about SIJ Dysfunction recently, explaining that, “Women during pregnancy can experience SI Joint pain due to the release of a hormone called “relaxin” that creates instability (unstableness) within the SI joint.”

Nearly 80% of Americans suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives, and lower back pain “is the most common cause of job-related disability, and a leading contributor to missed work” in the United States.  For those who suffer from persistent back pain, SIJ is the confirmed point of origin in 13% of cases.

Frequently painful and sometimes debilitating, SI joint dysfunction is surprisingly easy to develop.  Like many other pelvic conditions, everything from bending-over to sitting-down can lead to SI joint dysfunction.  Traumas like sports-related injuries and traffic collisions are other frequent precursors.  SI joint dysfunction can rarely be addressed by surgery (and, even more rarely, should it.)

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In 2011, the FDA issued a warning to patients and medical professionals that transvaginal mesh implant surgery for pelvic organ prolapse (POP) often created more problems than it solved.  The warning also noted that “there was no clear evidence transvaginal POP mesh repair was more effective than non-mesh repair” for treating POP.  Furthermore, the FDA report emphasized that the mesh itself, rather than surgical error, lead to pelvic pain in many patients.

However, transvaginal mesh implant surgery remains a commonly recommended treatment for POP.  A Justice News Flash post, titled “Don’t Wait In Vain For Pelvic Pain To Resolve After Removal of Mesh Implants”, recently discussed how this surgery often leads to the development of Pudendal Neuralgia in patients, “more often than not [requiring] complete removal of the mesh.”  In short, in lieu of sending these patients to trained physical therapists, and, in spite of FDA warnings, many medical professionals continue to recommend transvaginal mesh implant to treat POP.

Pudendal Neuralgia, already an underdiagnosed, undertreated, and underserviced illness, is noted for how few therapists and other medical professionals have the proper training to treat it.  Peripheral nerve regeneration can take up to six months for patients who developed Pudendal Neuralgia after surgery.

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Total Physical Therapy recently posted two excellent videos on the pelvic “dump”: the Pelvic “Dump” and Muscle Length and the Cure for the Pelvic “Dump”.  The first video describes how the hamstrings, abductors, and the gluteal (“glutes”) muscles affect pelvic “dump”, also known as the pelvic tilt.  The second examines stretching techniques that can ease the tightness and, thus, treat pelvic tilt.

Pelvic tilting occurs when the pelvis is not orientated correctly, and is becoming more and more common as sedentary lifestyles bceome the norm in America.  Daily activities, such as sitting at a computer for example, can often lead to a pelvic tilt.  Resting against the back of one’s chair or leaning forward to read small print can feel more supportive than utilizing the correct muscles required maintain proper posture.  To put it another way, when doing activities many Americans do daily, it is often easier to rest one’s body on another surface for extended period of time than it is to exercise proper biomechanics.

However, this behavior often leaves patients with pain and stiffness in the back, knees, and hips.  Furthermore, if left untreated, these symptoms have a tendency to become more severe over-time.

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For more than sixty years, Kegel exercises have been a common, albeit rudimentary, form of treatment to strengthen the pelvic floor.  These exercises have become so omnipresent that the pelvic floor is commonly known colloquially as the “Kegel muscle.”  Perhaps best known by the public for their ties to increased sexual function, Kegel exercises are often inappropriately considered the hallmark of pelvic floor wellness.

In a recent Chronogram article, titled “Could Your Pelvic Floor Use a Renovation?”  Wendy Kagan describes the significance of Kegel exercises: “Today they’re a first-line defense against genital prolapse and urinary stress incontinence (i.e., leakage that occurs with jarring movements like coughing, jumping, or lifting). Dreaded by some, championed by others, Kegels are the pelvic equivalent of flossing—something most women know they should do, yet often guiltily do not do.”

The biggest problem with this article is that Kegels are not the “first line of defense”.  Nor are they, necessarily, the best practice for everyone’s daily regimen.  Prescribing pelvic floor strengthening without properly assessing the pelvic floor can be harmful for patients.

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While many prenatal women practice yoga to stay healthy and fit during pregnancy, prenatal yoga is becoming a more and more popular tool to prepare women for labor.  The topic of prenatal pregnancy was recently covered in the Welland Tribune.  The article, titled “Prenatal Yoga Gets Women Ready for Birth,” follows Angela Sacco, a registered nurse and pre- and post-natal fitness specialist. Sacco has attended more than 100 births.  Her eight-week program is specially-tailored to aid pregnant women as they prepare for giving birth.

According to Sacco, “Yoga in the delivery room, be it home or hospital, is meant to relieve pain, build confidence and make it all go quicker.”

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This November, Herman & Wallace is proud to bring our Differential Diagnostics of Chronic Pelvic Pain and Dysfunction to Orlando, FL!  This three-day course is taught by Peter Philip, PT, ScD, COMT.

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Although exercise is critical for pregnant women (just as it is for everyone), few receive the appropriate amount of exercise.  This may seem intuitive, but physical symptoms of pregnancy often are a barrier to physical activity for women.

A recent Research Report article published in The Journal of Women's Health - Physical Therapy, titled “The Impact of Symptom Type and Frequency on Activity Level During Pregnancy,” studying the daily records of physical activity for “sedentary women with a history of preeclampsia,” discusses how maternal weight and gestational age affect activity levels.  For example, women who are already over-weight have lower activity levels during pregnancy.  Similarly, the further along the baby is, the less likely the mother is to be physically active.  Women, after week 28, have the greatest reduction in physical activity.

This is problematic because a healthy mom is crucial for both the health of the mother and the health of the baby.  Furthermore, symptoms like fatigue and backache decrease among more active moms.  Gestational diabetes and cardiovascular disease are less likely among active moms as well.  Over-exercise can be detrimental as well; however, the numbers of women over-exercising during pregnancy is negligible compared to the majority, who are under-active during pregnancy.  Often, these physiological problems persist after pregnancy.

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