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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

Yoga for Pelvic Pain - Remote Course

May 15, 2021 - May 16, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Oncology of the Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Remote Course

May 15, 2021 - May 16, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pregnancy Rehabilitation - Remote Course (SOLD OUT)

May 15, 2021 - May 16, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Sacral Nerve Manual Assessment and Treatment - Remote Course

May 15, 2021 - May 16, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Male Pelvic Floor - Self Hosted

May 15, 2021 - May 16, 2021
Location: Self-Hosted Course

Male Pelvic Floor - Ann Arbor, MI Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

May 15, 2021 - May 16, 2021
Location: Probility Physical Therapy

Male Pelvic Floor - Athens, GA Satellite Location

May 15, 2021 - May 16, 2021
Location: Thrive Integrated Medicine

Male Pelvic Floor - Richmond, VA Satellite Location

May 15, 2021 - May 16, 2021
Location: Pivot Physical Therapy

Breathing and the Diaphragm - Remote Course

May 15, 2021 - May 16, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Male Pelvic Floor - Livonia, MI Satellite Location

May 15, 2021 - May 16, 2021
Location: Mendelson Kornblum Physical Therapy

Male Pelvic Floor - Oakland, CA Satellite Location

May 15, 2021 - May 16, 2021
Location: Kaiser Permanente

Male Pelvic Floor - Gilbert, AZ Satellite Location

May 15, 2021 - May 16, 2021
Location: OneAccord Physical Therapy

Athletes & Pelvic Rehabilitation - Remote Course

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Wallingford, CT Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Grand Haven, MI Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Lisle, IL Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Los Angeles, CA Satellite Location

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: Origin Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Worcester, MA Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: Central Mass PT & Wellness

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Mill Creek, WA Satellite Course

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: Premier Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Greenville, SC Satellite Course

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: His Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - Self-Hosted

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: Self-Hosted Course

Pelvic Floor Level 2B - Burlington, NC Satellite Course

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: Stewart Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Bedford, TX Satellite Course

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: Beyond Therapy and Wellness PLLC

Pediatric Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders - Remote Course

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Idyllwild, CA Satellite Course

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: Moving Lively

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Self-Hosted

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: Self-Hosted Course

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

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: Palos Community Hospital

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Belle Chasse, LA Satellite Location

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: Rehab Access Belle Chasse

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

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: Advanced Care Physical Therapy of WNY

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Manchester, NH Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

May 22, 2021 - May 23, 2021
Location: Franklin Pierce University