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.