In our weekly feature section, Pelvic Rehab Report is proud to present this interview with Herman & Wallace instructor Holly Tanner PT, DPT, MA, OCS, WCS, PRPC, LMP, BCB-PMB, CCI
How did you get started in pelvic rehab?
I joined Apple Physical Therapy as an orthopedic outpatient clinic manager back in 2000. The previous manager had begun treating women who had urinary incontinence and we had this (huge) old biofeedback unit. I told the company owners that I would be willing to take a course in treating urinary incontinence, which I quickly did. I also quickly learned that to do a great job in pelvic rehab, and to serve the patients well, you need to keep taking classes to learn about all the other issues that make pelvic rehab so potentially complex and engaging.
What have you found most rewarding in treating this patient population?
The fact that patients are so trusting and share their most intimate issues that may be difficult to discuss. Patients with pelvic dysfunction are so profoundly grateful for the help they receive, and that in turn inspires me to want to be helpful.
What do you find most rewarding about teaching?
I love providing a groundwork upon which the therapists can build through their own practices and through other coursework and knowledge they bring to the table. There is never one approach or one course that can provide an answer for each patient, and as an instructor for Herman & Wallace, I have the privilege of standing on the platform that Holly Herman and Kathe Wallace established when they founded the Institute. I feel that I get to fast-track the therapists by sharing what I have learned through experience and all the training that I have received, and then they can keep expanding the knowledge and skills within our field. I also learn a lot myself through the generosity of the therapists who bring their knowledge and experience to the courses.
If you could get a message to all therapists about pelvic rehab, what would it be?
Shadow a pelvic rehab therapist for half a day. That's all it will take to see the world that opens up in front of you, to feel inspired by the amount of issues that go "missing" and how to address them, and also how to notice how simple and meaningful it is to offer some guidance or hope to a patient who has pelvic dysfunction.
If you could make a significant change to the field of pelvic rehab or the field of PT, what would it be?
Now that more therapists are joining the ranks of pelvic rehab, I hope that we see more of them move into treating men and children. As Dawn Sandalcidi (who teaches about pediatrics for the Institute) shares with us, many of the pelvic dysfunctions start in childhood, and we must get to the kids as soon as possible.
What is your favorite topic about which you teach?
My favorite condition to treat and lecture about is definitely scrotal pain. There is such a paucity of awareness about the potential causes of scrotal or testicular pain, and men have been suffering way too long when they have this issue. In my experience, men can respond very quickly and completely with intervention.