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The OT's Path to Pelvic Rehab

Tiffany Ellsworth Lee MA, OTR, BCB-PMD joined the Herman & Wallace faculty to teach a course on biofeedback along with Jane Kaufman, PT, M.Ed, BCB-PMD. The month of April is Occupational Therapy month, and we are celebrating by highlighting the role that Occupational Therapists play in pelvic floor rehabilitation. Tiffany founded a biofeedback program at Central Texas Medical Center in San Marcos in 2004, and currently runs her a pelvic rehab private practice .

Working in this area of biofeedback is extremely rewarding and fulfilling to help change peoples’ lives. I have a private practice now exclusively dedicated to treating patients with pelvic floor dysfunction. I became involved in working with patients with incontinence and pelvic floor disorders because of many opportunities along my career path. I have been an Occupational Therapist since 1994. Both of my parents are also OTs, so I think I was born to do this!

Erica Vitek, MOT, OTR, BCB-PMD, PRPC wrote a blog recently about the role of OTs in pelvic health. She writes:

“As we look closer at the framework and the definition of OT (Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process, 3rd edition 2014), there is clear evidence that the occupational therapist (OT) has a role in the treatment of pelvic health conditions. Importantly, occupations are defined by this document as ‘…various kinds of life activities in which individuals, groups, or populations engage, including activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), rest and sleep, education, work, play, leisure, and social participation.”

The clearest examples of the OT’s role in pelvic health occupations within this section include:

  1. ADL section: toileting and hygiene (continence needs, intentional control of bowel movements and urination) and sexual activity.
  2. IADLs section: sleep participation (sustaining sleep without disruption, performing nighttime care of toileting needs).
  3. Achieving full participation in work, play, leisure, and social activities, requires one to be able to maintain continence in a socially acceptable manner in which they can feel confident and comfortable to fulfill their roles and duties.

"We believe that the great patient need that exists can be better served by having trained OTs able to treat pelvic health conditions"

How to get started as an OT

Occupational therapists wishing to pursue pelvic floor have a few options. The first thing is to find a pelvic floor clinical setting or work with their respective settings to check to see if they can start a women's health program with a strong focus on pelvic floor. OTs quite often do not start out in pelvic health directly after school and since this is a newer area as compared to other certifications such as the NDT and PNF it takes a little bit of research, time and effort to find one’s exact niche. To get started, an OT should seek out courses that teach the basics of bladder and bowel management. It is important to understand the anatomy and physiology of the bladder, bowel, and sexual systems.

Incontinence and pelvic floor disorders have a profound impact on occupation, the daily activities that give life meaning! OTs should have a larger role in treating this patient population. Offering hope to our patients is imperative when he/she is dealing with pelvic floor dysfunction!

Keep an eye out for an upcoming post from Tiffany with some inspiring clinical case studies. You can join Tiffany and Jane Kaufman in Biofeedback for Pelvic Muscle Dysfunction to get lots of hands-on time with surface eletromyography, and to work toward BCIA certification!

Pudendal Nerve: Caught in the Space Between
Neurophysiology and Sexual Function

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Upcoming Continuing Education Courses

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - Annapolis, MD Satellite Course (SOLD OUT)

Jan 29, 2022 - Jan 30, 2022
Location: Lynch Physical Therapy

Oncology of the Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Remote Course

Jan 29, 2022 - Jan 30, 2022
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Postpartum Rehabilitation - Remote Course

Jan 29, 2022 - Jan 30, 2022
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - Tampa, FL Satellite Course (SOLD OUT)

Jan 29, 2022 - Jan 30, 2022
Location: Bloom Pelvic Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - Lansdale, PA Satellite Course

Jan 29, 2022 - Jan 30, 2022
Location: Ivy Rehab (Lansdale, PA)

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - Shelby, NC Satellite Course

Jan 29, 2022 - Jan 30, 2022
Location: Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy (Shelby, NC)

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - El Paso, TX Satellite Course

Jan 29, 2022 - Jan 30, 2022
Location: Border Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - Tullahoma, TN Satellite Course

Jan 29, 2022 - Jan 30, 2022
Location: TOP Rehab

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - South Jordan, UT Satellite Course

Jan 29, 2022 - Jan 30, 2022
Location: South Jordan Health Center

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - Self-Hosted

Jan 29, 2022 - Jan 30, 2022
Location: Self-Hosted Course

Coccydynia and Painful Sitting - Remote Course

Feb 4, 2022
Location: Short Form Remote Course

Athletes & Pelvic Rehabilitation - Remote Course

Feb 5, 2022 - Feb 6, 2022
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Yoga for Pelvic Pain - Remote Course

Feb 5, 2022 - Feb 6, 2022
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pudendal Neuralgia and Nerve Entrapment - Remote Course

Feb 5, 2022 - Feb 6, 2022
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Los Angeles, CA Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Feb 5, 2022 - Feb 6, 2022
Location: Origin Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Queens, NY Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Feb 5, 2022 - Feb 6, 2022
Location: Hands of Hope Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Providence, RI Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Feb 5, 2022 - Feb 6, 2022
Location: Pappas Physical and Hand Therapy

Fertility Considerations for the Pelvic Therapist - Remote Course

Feb 5, 2022
Location: Short Form Remote Course

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Chicago, IL Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Feb 5, 2022 - Feb 6, 2022
Location: Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Newport News, VA Satellite Location - SOLD OUT

Feb 5, 2022 - Feb 6, 2022
Location: Riverside Physical Therapy - Regional Medical Center

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Guntersville, AL Satellite Location - SOLD OUT

Feb 5, 2022 - Feb 6, 2022
Location: Enhanced Therapy Services

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Leavenworth, KS Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Feb 5, 2022 - Feb 6, 2022
Location: University of Saint Mary

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Self-Hosted

Feb 5, 2022 - Feb 6, 2022
Location: Self-Hosted Course

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - San Diego, CA Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Feb 5, 2022 - Feb 6, 2022
Location: FunctionSmart Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Virginia Beach, VA Satellite Location

Feb 5, 2022 - Feb 6, 2022
Location: Ivy Rehab - Virginia Beach - Town Center

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Self-Hosted

Feb 12, 2022 - Feb 13, 2022
Location: Self-Hosted Course

Pregnancy Rehabilitation - Remote Course

Feb 12, 2022 - Feb 13, 2022
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Eagan, MN Satellite Course (SOLD OUT)

Feb 12, 2022 - Feb 13, 2022
Location: Twin Cities Orthopedics

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Houston, TX Satellite Course (SOLD OUT)

Feb 12, 2022 - Feb 13, 2022
Location: Baytown - Select Physical Therapy