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Connecting Breath and the Pelvic Floor

Aparna Rajagopal, PT, MHS is the lead therapist at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital's pelvic dysfunction program, where she treats pelvic rehab patients and consults with the sports therapy team. Her interests in treating peripartum patients and athletes allowed her to recognize the role that breathing plays in pelvic dysfunction. She has just joined the Herman & Wallace faculty and co-authored the new course, "Breathing and the Diaphragm: Pelvic and Orthopedic Therapists", which helps clinicians understand breathing mechanics and their relationship to the pelvic floor.
Aparna was kind enough to introduce herself to us here on The Pelvic Rehab Report.

Aparna Rajagopal, PT, MHSThank you for your time Aparna! To start, tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Aparna. I’ve been a physical therapist for 22 years. About 16 years ago I switched focus from orthopedics to treating pregnancy and postpartum patients and that’s where my initial interest in pelvic care started. In 2006 following my pregnancy and birth of my daughter, my interest in pelvic care grew with my special interest becoming pelvic pain.

I teach and mentor the pelvic health therapists within the fairly large hospital system that I work at and collaborate with our spine center team and our sports team.

What can you tell us about this new breathing course that is not mentioned in the “course description” and “objectives” that are posted online?
Physical therapy has evolved and continues to evolve as we speak. Regional inter dependence, wherein the different systems interplay, and one structure influences another, is fascinating. No longer is the body considered and treated as independent fragmented pieces. The ‘core’ with the contribution of the Diaphragm and the pelvic floor is so much more than just the Transverse Abdominis and the Multifidus working together. Fascial restrictions of the lower abdomen and the pelvis can influence how the low back feels, thoracic stiffness can influence the interplay between the various abdominal muscles by way on their insertion into the lower ribs, musculo- skeletal pain and postural deviations can stem from incorrect breathing patterns etc.

Normal breathing rate is about 10 times every minute. Breathing incorrectly reinforces wrong movement patterns tens of thousand times a day with negative consequences on the musculoskeletal system.

This course offers an in depth look at the diaphragm from the perspective of both orthopedic and pelvic therapists and attempts to tie in the diaphragm to the thoracic spine, the ribs, the pelvic floor, the core, posture and finally the athlete.

What essential skills does the breath course add to a practitioner’s toolkit?
The practitioner will walk away with the ability to view the patient as a “whole”. It offers a different perspective on neck and back pain, posture/ alignment along with the ability to assess for and connect breathing and the diaphragm to stability/ the core, continence issues and the Autonomic Nervous System.

As therapists we already do a great job of addressing strength issues, assessing and correcting posture, mobilizing etc. You can add to your treatment options by learning how the diaphragm works in concert with other muscles (especially the abdominals) and systems, identifying breathing pattern dysfunctions and postures, and movement patterns which may be linked to breathing pattern dysfunctions. This understanding is beneficial for both orthopedic and pelvic patients.

What inspired you to create this course? What void does this new offering fill?
I have used breathing and evaluation of the diaphragm as a part of pelvic care for several years now. As the mentor for the pelvic program at my hospital, and as a part of the spine team and sports team, I work with pelvic therapists, orthopedic therapists, manual certified therapists, and sports certified therapists. Through my interactions I have come to realize that although many of the therapists are aware that the Diaphragm and breathing are important, they are unsure of how to assess for dysfunctions and address those dysfunctions. I initially started conducting classes within the hospital system. At the same time Leeann who is a sports certified therapist and holds a manual therapy certificate and I started collaborating on our patients. Using a combination of her knowledge and effective manual techniques with my pelvic care and breathing techniques we realized that along with my pelvic patients; our back and neck patients, and her sports patients were all benefitting from this combined approach. We realized along the way that we had information worth sharing with our colleagues that would benefit them in treating their patients, and started classes within the hospital system and that is how this class was born!

What was your process like creating this course?
As a trained pelvic therapist, I have incorporated and used breath and the diaphragm in my treatment for over a decade. Leeann and I have created this course using a combination of our clinical experiences, our education in our respective chosen paths of patient care, and most importantly using recent and relevant research articles from journals to guide us extensively in creating this course.

Breathing and the Diaphragm: Pelvic and Orthopedic Therapists is a new course being offered next March 27-29, 2020 in Sterling Heights, MI, and again on December 11-13, 2020 in Princeton, NJ. It is created and taught by Aparna Rajagopal, PT, MHS and Leeann Taptich, PT, DPT. Come learn how the diaphragm and breathing can affect core and postural stability through intra-abdominal pressure changes. As an integrated approach, the course looks at structures from the glottis and the cervical region to the pelvic floor and helps in understanding a multi component system that works together.

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Interview with Tony Rodriguez, COTA

The following is our interview with Jose Antonio (Tony) Rodriguez Jr, COTA. Tony practices in Laredo, TX where he is also studying Athletic Training at the Texas A & M University. He recently attended Pelvic Floor Level 1 and plans to continue pursuing pelvic rehabilitation with Herman & Wallace. He was kind enoguh to share some thoughts about his experiences with us. Thank you, Tony!

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I am a COTA in Laredo where I was born and raised. My goal is to provide pelvic floor therapy to my community. I have been in school for quite some time. I have associate's degrees as a paramedic and occupational therapy assistant. I studied nursing briefly (finished my junior year). My bachelors is in psychology. I’m currently studying athletic training in Texas A & M International University in Laredo. My ultimate academic goal is acquiring my doctorate in physical therapy.Tony with instructors Dustienne Miller and Heather Rader

What/who inspired you to become involved in pelvic rehabilitation?
I first came across pelvic floor when reading the description of a CE course where it mentions its relation to SI joint dysfunction so I figured I could use this as a trouble shooting tool for those athletes that had recurrent low back pain or suspected SI problems. I figured at the very least I would know when I was confronted with something that I needed to refer. Little did I know how important of a “puzzle piece” this type of knowledge would become in helping me see a more complete picture of the human body. I was often confronted with athletes that would have recurring lower back pain, hip pain, glute tightness, sciatic nerve pain, adductor tightness or pain, and felt I was missing something to be able to help them. Even with a basic understanding of pelvic floor rehab I was able to help athletes with the previously mentioned complaints. As my understanding grew, I felt it was necessary I take these Herman & Wallace courses so that I could actually treat my patients in a holistic manner.

What is your clinical environment like, and how can you implement pelvic rehab into your practice?
My clinical environment varies between outpatient pediatrics, outpatient geriatrics, and D2 university athletics. I use my pelvic rehabilitation tool box at the university. Mostly I am still learning but I try to screen for and educate my athletes on the important role the pelvic floor muscles play in every activity they carry through out the day. I try to convey the importance not just in sports but also in activities of daily living such as any difficulty with going to the bathroom to pain during sex. I figure the more young people I educate about pelvic floor therapy the better they’ll be to make an informed decision today or later on in life.

Do you feel your background and training as a COTA brings anything unique to your pelvic rehab patients?
I could probably say that my COTA training makes it easier to pick up on some of the behaviors people might be relying on to carry out their day while dealing with pelvic floor issues. They may or may not be aware they have a pelvic floor dysfunction but simply think that’s just how they are. Behaviors such as avoiding social events because such activities don’t fit well with their voiding schedule.

How does your background as a COTA influence your approach to patient care?
My approach as a COTA would force me to see a balance in life. I would have to ask myself all the ways pelvic floor dysfunction may affect my client's daily activities from the basics like voiding, resting, sleep, to enjoying their leisure activities. A person cannot rest adequately if they’re in pain. He or she cannot enjoy social activities being worried of an urge.

What patients or conditions are you hoping to start treating as you continue learning pelvic rehab?
I wish to continue learning and exposing myself to different areas pelvic floor rehabilitation may take me. I wish to look at this therapy through a wide lens. This way I can learn, help many, and keep myself a well-rounded therapist. If in the future I feel more drawn to a specific area I wish to pull from all the different areas I should have learned by then.

What role do you see pelvic health playing in general well-being?
I often tell my athletes that there is probably not a single gross motor movement that doesn’t cross the pelvic region directly or through fascia connection. It is simply how we are built. To try and pretend or ignore the importance of the pelvic floor is just leaving our patients out of the appropriate care they need. And now that I know about the role pelvic floor muscles have in our body it would be unethical not to advocate for my patients’ COMPLETE well-being, pelvic floor muscles included.

What's next for you and your practice?
My short-term goal is acquiring my athletic training state license. After that continue with the last four or five prerequisite classes I need to apply to a DPT program. The DPT is my ultimate goal within the next five or six years.

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An Interview with Featured Practitioner Adina Leifer, PT, DPT, PRPC

Adina Leifer, PT, DPT, PRPC recently passed the Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification exam and was kind enough to discuss her career with us. Adina Leifer, PT, DPT, PRPC practices at ABLe Pelvic Physical Therapy in Atlanta, GA. Thank you for the interview, Dr. Leifer, and congratulations on earning your certification!

Adina Leifer, PT, DPT, PRPCHow did you get involved in the pelvic rehabilitation field?
After graduating from Touro College, and receiving my Doctorate of Physical Therapy. I began to work in an outpatient sports rehab setting. While looking for continuing education courses, I happened upon Herman and Wallace through the Touro College website. They were hosting PF1 at their New York City campus. I knew nothing about pelvic health and rehabilitation at that time. Holly Herman and Tracy Sher taught that first class, after 3 days of class, I was hooked. I knew that pelvic health and wellness was my calling. It has been 9 years since I took that first course and I could not be happier.

What patient population do you find most rewarding in treating and why?
Not sure I can pick one diagnosis or patient population as my favorite. I feel that with each patient that comes to see me, they have either lost ability or do not have normal function of their bladder, bowel or sexual functioning. When I can treat them successfully and educate patients in proper strength and mobility of their pelvic muscles. When I can provide them with the tools so that they can function in their lives, there is nothing more rewarding then that.

Describe your clinical practice:
I currently have my own outpatient practice in Atlanta, GA. I treat adult men and women with any and all pelvic muscle dysfunction and diagnoses.

What has been your favorite Herman & Wallace Course and why?
My favorite course from Herman & Wallace was the capstone course given by Nari Clemons and Jennafer Vande Vegte. I felt this course was informative with practical hands on information for everyday patient treatment. As well as, really helping me to prepare for the PRPC exam.

What motivated you to earn PRPC?
Having practiced for over 9 years and taken many courses through Herman & Wallace, I felt my knowledge and experience made me a specialist. As I was building my own practice, I felt that I wanted the credentials and letters after my name to prove that I was truly a specialist in this field.

What advice would you give to physical therapists interested in earning PRPC?
Go for it! Study the coursework and anatomy. Trust in the knowledge that you have and take the test! You will be very happy that you did.

Certified Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioners have experience treating a wide variety of pelvic floor dysfunction conditions in men and women throughout the lifecycle. Each certified practitioner has passed a comprehensive exam, and has directly treated pelvic patients for more than 2,000 hours. To learn more about the Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification, visit our certification page.

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Beth Anne Travis: Certified Practitioner

Today we are excited to share an interview with Beth Anne Travis, PT, DPT, PRPC! While Dr. Travis became a certified practitioner in November 2016, she has been plying her trade with pelvic rehab patients specifically since March of 2015, practicing in North Little Rock, AR. Thank you for talking with us, Dr. Travis, and congratulations on the certification!!

Tell us about your practice
Advanced Physical Therapy is an outpatient clinic in North Little Rock, AR where I treat women, men and children with pelvic floor dysfunction and associated orthopedic conditions.

How did you get involved in the pelvic rehabilitation field?
I thought about the pelvic floor rehabilitation in school but took my first job in pediatrics. Soon after accepting the position, I realized it was not what I envisioned and a pelvic floor career opportunity was presented to me. I took Pelvic Floor Level 2B after accepting the pelvic floor position and began treating my first patients a week later. I know this is what the Lord called me to do.

What/who inspired you to become involved in pelvic rehabilitation?
I was inspired by my mentors and how quickly their patients improved within weeks.

What patient population do you find most rewarding in treating?
I truly enjoy treating individuals with pelvic pain. Relieving them of chronic pain they have endured for years and giving them their life back is what I find rewarding.

What has been your favorite Herman & Wallace Course?
Pelvic Floor Level 2B. This was my first course and I took it with very little knowledge of the subject. I had an instructor who helped me the entire time during lab so I could receive the full benefit of the course. It was very important to the instructor that I had complete confidence in what I was learning and doing.

What lesson have you learned from a Herman & Wallace instructor that has stayed with you?
Stacy Futterman advised me during her course to not only focus on the pelvis. So many times we tend to forget to look at the motor control aspect of the body in its entirety.

What do you find is the most useful resource for your practice?
My mentors. I worked with a group of women who have been practicing pelvic floor therapy since 1992. Their knowledge has been incredibly beneficial to me. It’s always comforting to know I have other professionals to brainstorm with.


What motivated you to earn PRPC?
I am continually striving to better myself as a clinician. There was only one certified practitioner in Arkansas who I gratefully had the opportunity to work with. It was my goal to obtain more credibility to improve patient rapport.

What makes you the most proud to have earned PRPC?
Many times in pelvic floor therapy, we are presented with skeptical patients. I use this opportunity to talk with the patient about the course and what it took to gain the certification. I have found that after talking with them, they have more confidence in me. With a lot of studying, hard work and dedication, I have complete faith that I became a better clinician. I am now one of two clinicians with PRPC in the state of Arkansas.

What advice would you give to physical therapists interested in earning PRPC?
It is incredibly beneficial. Studying the information allows you to reflect on information your may have forgotten from PT school


If you could get a message out to physical therapists about pelvic rehabilitation what would it be?
Ask questions! Incontinence and pain with sexual intercourse are very common. If your patient has hip, low back pain or abdominal pain that isn’t improving with orthopedic therapy, refer them to a pelvic floor therapist.

What is in store for you in the future?
It is my goal to become a teaching assistant in the Herman & Wallace courses. I would be honored to teach and inspire others to embrace pelvic floor therapy and what it does to help patients get their life back.

What role do you see pelvic health playing in general well-being?
Pelvic health is vital for our bodies and well-being. Pelvic floor therapy improves the quality of life for so many people. I have personally watched patients get back to the things they loved most before their pelvic health deteriorated.

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An Interview with Lee Sowada, PT, DPT, PRPC

Lee Sowada, PT, DPT, PRPC is a newly minted Certified Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner (PRPC) who treats patients in rural Wyoming. Within her community, she relishes the chance to bring pelvic rehab to a more rural environment and provide care that many people in the community didn't know existed. Dr. Sowada was kind enough to share her story with us. Thanks, Lee, and congratulations on earning your certification!

 

How did you get involved in the pelvic rehabilitation field?
I fell into pelvic health rehab by accident as a student when I was placed in a “Women’s Health” rotation at the last minute. Initially I was disappointed as this was my last clinical rotation and among the longest. However, I fell in love with this line of work almost right away. It was evident from the start that pelvic rehab makes an enormous impact on a person’s life in a way that most outpatient rehab doesn’t. The impairments were private and sometimes embarrassing and they often resulted in social isolation and loneliness with the inability to share it and the assumption that nothing could be done. It was so rewarding to provide support, information and much needed treatment. After that, I never looked back.

What patient population do you find most rewarding in treating and why?
While I’m continually fascinated and challenged by nearly all pelvic rehabilitation, I really love treating pelvic pain. I love the problem solving and detective work with a required knowledge of urology, gynecology and gastro-intestinal health (along with the musculoskeletal system). I always look at the body as a whole and study functional alignment, myofascial restriction, strength and tone asymmetries, and try to connect the patient with the other appropriate health care providers. I work in a rural area with little access to pelvic health and these patients are always so grateful for any help.

What has been your favorite Herman & Wallace course?
I really enjoyed the Capstone course. I was blown away by all the great minds attending and teaching the course. The discussions were extremely beneficial and the material addressed many of the questions that had developed, including thorough education regarding diet, hormones, inflammation and chronic disease processes. It was very helpful and I left all the more inspired to treat complicated patients.

What motivated you to earn PRPC?
I was motivated to earn the Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification (PRPC) for a few reasons. First, there were details about the anatomy, physiology and pharmacology that I had to research, even after thousands of patient care hours. I wanted those details to be very accessible to me in treatments. I found that studying always improved my patient care. I was able to deliver information about current research that I’d forgotten along the way. Secondly, I wanted to be the clear choice for my referral sources. I was proud of my knowledge base and experience but, to many of them, nothing separated me from other PTs who dabbled in pelvic health. I wanted my commitment to this line of work to be obvious.

 

Interested in becoming a certified pelvic rehabilitation practitioner? The next testing window is May 1 - May 15, 2017. Learn more at https://www.hermanwallace.com/pelvic-rehabilitation-practitioner-certification.

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An Interview with Certified Practitioner Andrea Wood, PT, DPT, PRPC

On November 15th, 2016 a new class of Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification was crowned! Today we get to celebrate with Andrea Wood, PT, DPT, PRPC from New York. Andrea was kind enough to share some of her thoughts on pelvic rehabilitation and what certification means to her. Thank you Andrea, and congratulations on earning your PRPC credential!

Describe your clinical practice:

I work in an orthopedic clinical practice that has one on one care which I think is valuable. I joined my practice to help offer another view that included pelvic floor knowledge to various patient cases. My coworkers and I collaborate a lot because we both may see things differently, and exchanging ideas is always invaluable for optimal patient outcomes. I really believe the best health care practitioners can admit when they don’t know everything and seek out other viewpoints to learn.
 
How did you get involved in the pelvic rehabilitation field?
I actually had no idea I originally wanted to do pelvic floor rehab. I was lucky to fall into it right out of graduate school up in Boston at a wonderful place called Marathon Physical Therapy. I found it fascinating how important it was to consider in a lot of patients, especially those presenting with hip, back, or pelvic pain. Two years into working, I found out I had mild congenital hip dysplasia in my left hip and underwent a periacetabular osteotomy to correct it. Going through the rehab on the other side as a patient and having to experience what it means to practice a lot of the principles I teach patients made me excited to continue to help people overcome obstacles. I’m a better physical therapist now because of my personal history. It taught me to always give patients the means to keep moving within their means and not provide only passive treatments. My two physical therapists that helped me through that became my biggest role models on how to approach complicated patient problems.
 
What patient population do you find most rewarding in treating and why?
I find it most rewarding to work with pelvic pain patients. I like to think of them as a puzzle. With those patients, I’m an orthopedic physical therapist first, because of how much influence other parts of the body can have on the pelvis. I also am a big advocate of collaborative health care with those patients, and when you bring a team of different views together (i.e. medical doctor, physical therapy, nutritionist, and psychologist to name a few) I find I learn something new each time.
 
If you could get a message out to physical therapists about pelvic rehabilitation what would it be?
It is not just about 3 layers of muscles in your pelvic floor and Kegels. Your pelvis is a center of your body with various biomechanical, vascular, and neurological influences. For example, erectile dysfunction in males can be influenced by pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, cardiovascular health, and psychological or neurological conditions. A woman with painful intercourse could have various contributing factors ranging from a back or hip problem to a dermatological skin issue. I think physical therapists not properly educated on pelvic floor rehab oversimplify it unknowingly.
 
 
What has been your favorite Herman & Wallace Course and why?
My favorite Herman & Wallace course was the Pudendal Neuralgia and Nerve Entrapment. That course opened my eyes up to pain science and how much we really don’t know about pain as a medical community.
 
What lesson have you learned from a Herman & Wallace instructor that has stayed with you?
That the amount of pain a patient may have does not always signify the amount of damage that is present. When patients realize this, they feel a lot more hopeful and in control.
 
What do you find is the most useful resource for your practice?
I love learning from other physical therapy blogs. Blog About Pelvic Pain by Sara Saunder and Julie Weibe’s blogs are two of my favorites to follow. I lend the book Pelvic Pain Explained to a lot of my patients.
 
What motivated you to earn PRPC?
I like to challenge myself, and I felt it was a good test to access areas I need improvement in and should study more or seek out further continuing education.
 
What makes you the proudest to have earned PRPC?
I’m proud to have earned the PRPC because I earned something that I am passionate about. Some people don’t get that blessing.
 
What advice would you give to physical therapists interested in earning PRPC?
Just being passionate and asking a lot of questions about what I don’t know in clinical practice provided me with best tools to prepare for the exam.
 
What is in store for you in the future?
Continuing to learn as much as I can. I plan on seeking out some continuing education in areas of physical therapy like neurology or cardiovascular issues that can all still influence the pelvic floor. I think its important to be a well rounded physical therapist.

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Congratulations to Danielle Knippenberg, PT, MPT, GCS, PRPC on Earning Certification!

Danielle is among the latest class of Certified Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioners! Her experience treating patients and owning Core 3 Physical Therapy prepared her to pass the exam in flying colors. Read her bio here and check out our interview below. Congratulations, Danielle!

What/who inspired you to become involved in pelvic rehabilitation?
A patient was the first one to inspire me to improve my knowledge and treatment abilities in pelvic rehabilitation. I was working with a postpartum patient, while carrying my first child, and she felt that my guidance had been so helpful in her care that it made me interested learning more about the pelvic floor. Most of my fellow colleagues could discuss my orthopedic questions but I didn’t have any mentors that could offer advice in more advanced pelvic floor cases so I started attending the Herman and Wallace classes. They have been an invaluable at improving my ability to care for patients with pelvic pain which has even improved my treatment of orthopedic patients with low back pain and sacroiliac dysfunction.

What patient population do you find most rewarding in treating and why?
I enjoy working with chronic pelvic pain patients because it's rewarding to be able to bring relief to someone who has been living with pain, limited quality of life or even social anxiety and has not received any benefit with other treatment options. Being able to help this patient population understand the pelvic floor muscles and function as well as providing justification to why they are in pain and then help them progress through various treatment approaches makes my job rewarding.

If you could get a message out to physical therapists about pelvic rehabilitation what would it be?
PT's are uniquely trained to provided internal pelvic floor muscle release. This is something that no other health care professional is licensed or has the schedule/time to perform. This technique can provide relief and feedback to your patients that is possible in no other way. If you do not want to address this region or feel comfortable providing this treatment, find a therapist local to you who has experience with pelvic floor and refer when appropriate. Additionally, we as physical therapists are often the first line of defense in recognizing and educating patients about the ability to address a wide variety of symptoms that they believe is "just a normal part of life". Asking the in-depth questions and providing a multimodal approach to their symptoms is not only a boon to the patient but to our profession.

What lesson have you learned from a Herman & Wallace instructor that has stayed with you?
"Your most valuable tool is your finger." It is rare to treat an orthopedic patient without incorporating any hands on approach and the same holds true for the pelvic floor. With an internal exam you can make your most accurate assessment while providing valuable feedback to the patient.

What makes you the most proud to have earned PRPC?
I think it has helped me gain respect with my fellow health care professionals for my expertise in the area of pelvic floor treatment. It has broadened my knowledge base and provided me a strong guide for furthering my ability to treat patients with pelvic pain and dysfunction.

What is in store for you in the future?
I would like to become involved in research to further evidence based evaluation and treatment of pelvic conditions. I hope to facilitate the effectiveness and value in pelvic floor rehabilitation via physical therapy.

What role do you see pelvic health playing in general well-being?
It should become a staple for all pelvic floor surgeries just like a physical therapy is the staple post total knee surgery. Currently in my region I find it very underutilized despite the research behind our treatment. This is largely due to the general population not being aware of the treatment benefits physical therapy can play in pelvic dysfunction. European countries make it a standard of care in this area and I hope we progress to adopt a similar view of treatment.

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Jane Blair Johe is Our Featured Practitioner!

Congratulations to Jane Blair Johe, PT, PRPC on becoming one of the newest Certified Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioners! Read our interview with Blair below.

Tell us about your clinical practice
I work in a free standing outpatient PT center of a large 4 hospital affiliation. 70% lymphedema 30% pelvic floor rehab.

How did you get involved in the pelvic rehabilitation field?
I was already the lymphedema PT (LANA cert.) when I moved to WV. The women's health PT was moving to another state and asked me to please pick up her bladder incontinence patients.

What patient population do you find most rewarding in treating and why?
I do like pelvic pain clients as I can work with other PT’s on staff to problem solve . Both patients and their doctors are so grateful.

If you could get a message out to physical therapists about pelvic rehabilitation what would it be?
That you cannot ignore a very important group of muscles (PF) whether you are treating backs, hips etc. or pain and weakness or balance issues…. it plays such a vital role in wellbeing. Any of these clients should be questioned about bowel and bladder issues.

What has been your favorite Herman & Wallace Course and why?
I took my first course from them in September and was so impressed (compared to other courses)

What lesson have you learned from a Herman & Wallace instructor that has stayed with you?
the PT pelvic floor assessment. Correct postures , breathing and “safe” effort of bowel movements.

What do you find is the most useful resource for your practice?
MedBridge Courses

What motivated you to earn PRPC?
If I only had one pelvic floor referral, I would like to give the best service possible to that client. My referring MD’s are very happy too.

What makes you the most proud to have earned PRPC?
I thought it was a many faceted subject and combined many aspects of my 45 years of physical therapy practice. It made me feel that I do know my profession that I love.

What advice would you give to physical therapists interested in earning PRPC?
Have a broad back ground in multiple areas of PT then I highly recommend Herman and Wallace courses as the best path.

What is in store for you in the future?
A urologist in town contacted me today to set up referring for pre surgery PT (prostate surgery).

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This Week's Featured Practitioner is Kelley Thibault, PT, NCS!

Kelley Thibault PT, NCS is an outpatient rehabilitation pro, having more than two decades of experience in that setting. She is a recent convert to Pelvic Rehabilitation, however, and she's jumped in head first! Her practice has shifted in that direction and she has four Herman & Wallace courses under her belt in just the last two years. We reached out to see what lessons she could share with us, and she was kind enough to give us her time today. Welcome to the field, Kelley!

Tell us a bit about your clinical experience:
I have been a physical therapist for 22 years and spent much of my career working in a hospital based outpatient clinic treating primarily neurologic diagnoses. I have worked in a transdisciplinary neurologic program for much of this time. I received my NCS from the APTA in 2004 and recertified in 2014. Over my career I have had an interest in Women’s Health Physical Therapy and attended a course with Holly Herman in the early 1990’s. I began treating more Women’s Health clients about 2 years ago to cover a maternity leave. 75% of my practice now is Women's and Men’s Health. I attended the pelvic floor level 1, 2A, 2B and 3 courses over the past year and have found them to be invaluable!!! I also have taken many of the pelvic courses on MedBridge.

What/who inspired you to become involved in pelvic rehabilitation?
I find it most rewarding to work with women who are postmenopausal and are experiencing dyspareunia and stress and/ or urge incontinence. I find with some education and behavioral modifications these clients can experience gains after the first visit. I also have enjoyed working with the chronic pelvic pain clients who require internal pelvic floor and myofascial work and seeing them return to function with less pain and more confidence.

What has been your favorite Herman & Wallace Course and why?
Pelvic floor rehabilitation works!!! There is so much that can be preventative as well as rehabilitative. I look forward to learning more and more!!! I think my favorite course thus far has been 2A mainly due to the fact that was the last course in the series that I took this past December 2015. The information on constipation and fecal incontinence as well as male pelvic anatomy, physiology and treatment was the piece I so felt I was missing in helping my clients.

What lesson have you learned from a Herman & Wallace instructor that has stayed with you?
I have found the “clinical pearls” given in each course to be invaluable!!! I have reviewed my manuals several times and will continue to do so.

What is in store for you in the future?
I hope to obtain my PRPC or WCS in the next several years and plan to continue to attend courses to improve my practice. I have been able to use my knowledge of pelvic health and treatment with my neurologic clients as well.

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Nancy Suarez, MS, PT, BCB-PMD, PRPC - Today's Featured Practitioner!

This week we end with a fantastic interview with our featured pelvic rehab practitioner. Nancy Suarez, MS, PT, BCB-PMD, PRPC just joined the ranks of the elite Certified Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioners! Check out our interview below:

Nancy Suarez, MS, PT, BCB-PMD, PRPCDescribe your clinical practice:
I work in a private practice specializing in women’s and men’s pelvic floor disorders including bowel and bladder issues, prolapse and sexual dysfunction, prenatal and postpartum rehabilitation, pre and postprostatectomy care, and lumbopelvic pain.

How did you get involved in the pelvic rehabilitation field?
As a physical therapist who regularly took continuing education courses following PT school, I happened to be looking for a course that might give me more knowledge to help some of my geriatric patients improve their urinary incontinence. I took my first Pelvic Floor course given by Hollis Herman and Kathe Wallace in 2000, and immediately began to make a difference in many of my patient’s lives.

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

Really it was my patients that inspired me to become involved in pelvic floor rehabilitation; I knew embarassingly little about it on my own until my first course! I was very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to join a pelvic floor specialty practice a few years after that first course, and there I honed my skills and began adding more pelvic floor courses to improve my practice.

What patient population do you find most rewarding in treating and why?

It is honestly difficult for me to choose one type of patient that I find MOST rewarding; it is such a privilege to see patients getting better when they may have thought there was no hope. I do find that I love helping middle aged and older women learn about their pelvic floor and learn how to overcome their incontinence, prolapse and pain.

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Upcoming Continuing Education Courses

Dec 6, 2019 - Dec 7, 2019
Location: Swedish Covenant Hospital

Dec 6, 2019 - Dec 8, 2019
Location: Swedish Covenant Hospital

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Dec 6, 2019 - Dec 8, 2019
Location: Florida Hospital - Wesley Chapel

Jan 10, 2020 - Jan 12, 2020
Location: Dominican Hospital - Physical Therapy

Jan 17, 2020 - Jan 19, 2020
Location: Spooner Physical Therapy

Jan 17, 2020 - Jan 19, 2020
Location: Banner Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

Jan 17, 2020 - Jan 19, 2020
Location: Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital

Jan 24, 2020 - Jan 26, 2020
Location: Nova Southeastern University

Jan 24, 2020 - Jan 26, 2020
Location: UCLA Health

Feb 1, 2020 - Feb 2, 2020
Location: Evergreen Hospital Medical Center

Feb 1, 2020 - Feb 2, 2020
Location: Ochsner Health System

Feb 7, 2020 - Feb 9, 2020
Location: FunctionSmart Physical Therapy

Feb 22, 2020 - Feb 23, 2020
Location: Pacific Medical Centers

Feb 28, 2020 - Mar 1, 2020
Location: Inova Physical Therapy Center

Feb 28, 2020 - Mar 1, 2020
Location: University of North Texas Health Science Center

Feb 28, 2020 - Mar 1, 2020
Location: Novant Health

Feb 28, 2020 - Mar 1, 2020
Location: Rex Hospital

Feb 28, 2020 - Feb 29, 2020
Location: Rex Hospital

Mar 6, 2020 - Mar 8, 2020
Location: 360 Sports Medicine & Aquatic Rehabilitation Centers

Mar 6, 2020 - Mar 8, 2020
Location: Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center

Mar 6, 2020 - Mar 8, 2020
Location: University of Missouri-Smiley Lane Therapy Services

Mar 6, 2020 - Mar 8, 2020
Location: Princeton Healthcare System

Mar 6, 2020 - Mar 8, 2020
Location: Ochsner Health System

Mar 7, 2020 - Mar 8, 2020
Location: Veterans Administration - Salt Lake City

Mar 7, 2020 - Mar 8, 2020
Location: GWUH Outpatient Rehabilitation Center

Mar 13, 2020 - Mar 15, 2020
Location: Sentara Therapy Center - Princess Anne

Mar 13, 2020 - Mar 15, 2020
Location: Thomas Jefferson University

Mar 13, 2020 - Mar 15, 2020
Location: Franklin Pierce University

Mar 14, 2020 - Mar 15, 2020
Location: Park Nicollet Clinic--St. Louis Park