Pelvic Health Physiotherapy – my profession, my passion

I tried thinking of catchy titles, but the more I thought, the more I kept coming back to the fact that I’m not witty (like at all – and if I do say anything remotely witty it’s normally an accident and/or I crack up at myself and then I just look weird, so that’s that, oooohhhh weeeellllllllll) and there’s really no reason to beat around the bush this blog is all about what I do!

So most of my family and friends know that I am a physical therapist (physiotherapist to everyone outside the US) and some know that I have moved towards working almost exclusively within a speciality, but most of the time if I get that far explaining what I do I normally just get an “oh” or “okay” and the conversation ends. Unless said person recently hurt themselves and then I normally get told about it also (which don’t get me wrong, I have no problem listening and giving out advice in this case, but just know that I normally spend 60-90 minutes the first time I meet someone to hear about the said problem they’re coming in for and to figure out a plan of action to help address it, and they’ve seen a medical doctor before coming to see me, so a 5-10 minute chat is not impossible, but not the most ideal situation to get advice and give out recommendations).

 

The great thing is that pelvic health, specifically pre and postnatal health especially, is actually starting to be talked about more in the media these days so more and more people are realizing that 1)It’s something we should be addressing more within our health and fitness system and 2)It’s not so weird or taboo to talk about this stuff. The not so great thing is that it is becoming a “trendy” topic and with that there’s now lots and lots of advice and recommendations coming out from not the most qualified sources and I cringe often when I read articles, but I digress.

 

 

On that note I want to say yes, I am a health professional, but this is just a blog with general information, I am not giving out medical advice and you should definitely consult with your physician or health professional for any medical advice.

 

Continuing on… A little background on my road to Pelvic Health PT

I knew in PT school I wanted to specialize, I just do better with a more specific goal and “area” of study. Pelvic Health is actually very broad and there’s tons of areas you can delve in to specialize even more, but doing general Physical Therapy is waaaaaay broad and a speciality was more my jam. I practiced as  a PTA (Physical Therapist Assistant) for four years before starting PT school and it wasn’t until I was a year in to PT school and working at a clinic that had a pelvic health specialist that I even knew the specialty existed – which is now crazy to me – crazy sad actually. So I got interested by hearing about it from a colleague and even though I wasn’t working with those clients I decided to take the plunge and take an introductory course on pelvic health. Another very personal reason was at that point I had been dealing with my own issues of urgency/incontinence for about 3 years – I had never been pregnant or had a child, and no specific injury that caused it, but I was dealing with it as a young 20 something (and ya know it’s not that uncommon). With my own journey with these symptoms and working as a PTA I didn’t know that PT could help me – like I said above, crazy sad. The only options I was given (at first, until I advocated for myself and found the right doctor) was medications with awful side effects. No beuno. Spoiler alert PT is what helped me. So no, it’s not the answer for everyone but it’s a dang good option for a lot of people. 

 I also had to know within my first three months of PT school if I even wanted to do a speciality to start planning my clinical rotations – so that also gave me the push to take the course. Nothing like dropping almost 1K for a weekend on something I didn’t know if I would even want to do afterwards. Buuuuut thankfully I fell hard and after that weekend I was obsessed and set on becoming a pelvic health PT and haven’t looked back since.

 

The best way to study for your first pelvic health course on an airplane is with a jack and coke

I did get one 2 hour lecture on pelvic health in school but then I found a great clinic out where I was going to be moving after I got married and was able to secure my final clinical rotation at a facility that specialized in pelvic health (we saw general orthopedic patients at times, but infrequently) and learned from some really great PT’s. Shout out to Her Health PT in Columbia, MD – if you’re in the area and need a PT I highly recommend this clinic! After graduation and passing my boards (woo!), I then got a job at John Hopkins and began working with general outpatient patients and pelvic health patients 50/50 and then transitioned to all pelvic health when I went back to work after having my little guy. I have been fortunate to be able to attend more continuing education courses and also have continued to learn and be mentored by two amazing PT’s in the pelvic health world with SO much knowledge (I also highly recommend them if you’re in Baltimore!). It has been hard living so far away from family and friends in Ohio the past 3-ish years, but the friends, mentorship and experiences I’ve gained being out on the east coast and working where I have has been invaluable.

 

 

A brand new PT!

Traditionally pelvic health PT has been called women’s health PT and while this is not incorrect, it doesn’t tell the whole story of who we (as a profession) as a whole treat. Pelvic health physio’s can treat men, women, children and anyone in-between, so while the treatment and association specifically in the US may have started out with an emphasis on women patients, that’s just a part of what encompasses pelvic health physio today. I personally have only treated women within the pelvic health realm and it is my personal comfort zone to be completely honest, but there are lots of great physio’s working with men and children – but in general there are not nearly enough of us.

 

 

Some of the general diagnoses or dysfunctions that I see and treat are:

  • Incontinence (unintentional leaking of urine or feces)
  • Constipation
  • POP (pelvic organ prolapse)
  • Pelvic pain (pudendal neuralgia, vulvodynia, vaginismus, painful intercourse/penetration, vestibulitis, dyspareunia, muscle spasm, endometriosis,scar pain,etc),
  • pregnancy and postpartum dysfunctions (diastasis recti/DRA, core weakness, low back pain, tailbone/coccyx pain, c-section scar pain, etc)
  • And more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I’m continuing to work with patients and with becoming a mother myself in 2016 I have an increasing interest in the prenatal and postpartum population. It was amazing to me being a pelvic health physio and going through pregnancy and seeing just how much our system (health system, policies for working mothers, etc) is not set up to to allow mothers-to-be and especially postpartum mothers to succeed or have adequate resources. Much of the focus is on the health of the baby and getting to week 40 and then after that the mother is essentially on her own. Yes, there is a 6-week checkup but for most that appointment leaves much to be desired when it comes to checking on the overall health of the mom. I’m not saying we should not be worried and very much concentrated on the health of the baby, but the lack of resources and concern overall for the mother is lackluster and the U.S. is waaaaayyyy behind in maternal healthcare to most other developed nations. In many countries a referral to a pelvic health specialist is a required and normal part of your postpartum care. I wish, I wish, I wish this was the norm for the U.S.

 

Also, so much of what women experience postpartum is thought to be “normal”, i.e. “I pee when I laugh or jump, I had a kid, what do you expect?” – this is common yes, but common does not equal normal! If this or some variation of this comment is you I want you to know there are medical professionals who can help, research has shown that conservative methods – physical therapy specifically – is very effective in treating these symptoms and a medication or surgery is not your only option, not by a long shot. And it’s not just doing kegels, there’s so much more to pelvic floor PT than kegels, if especially after the the 6 or 8 weeks postpartum you just don’t feel “right” or “normal” in your pelvic/vaginal area – speak up and find a provider that will listen to you. Some heal slower and it may be “normal” and healing along fine, but getting yourself checked out is never bad idea. Comments like these get me very frustrated especially because it’s so normalized. I love that more people are talking about it and it’s becoming normalized in that sense, but this side needs to be shared more, that you have options and don’t have to live with your symptoms – no matter your age. To quote Brianna Battles of Everyday Battles (awesome strength coach and trainer making waves in the postpartum fitness world, I recommend checking her information out also), “Postpartum is forever”. If you are interested in learning more about PT leave a comment below or send me a message I would be happy to try and connect you or point in the direction to find a physio/PT.

 

So… yea… I have an increasing interest in this area to say the least and there are so many avenues to explore, it’s exciting and daunting at the same time – there’s so much to learn! And my continuing education class list is always growing, much to the dismay of my hubby.

 

So there is a little snip-it (in probably way too many words, brevity is not my strong suit!) of what got me in to pelvic health PT and what it is. Every day there are better and more resources on pelvic health PT and I will probably refer to them often when I post about it. I have and continue to learn from amazing and wonderful physio’s and health practitioners that are churning out great work. Here are two articles from Tracy Sher (who I learned from at my initial Pelvic Health course!) on common misconceptions about pelvic health PT and what is pelvic health PT if you want to read a little more on what it is. Also a link to Julie Wiebe’s webpage/blog. I have learned a lot from her and she focuses particularly on returning women postpartum to high level fitness (another specific interest area for me). She teaches about the “diaphragm/pelvic floor piston science concepts” that can apply across the spectrum to a variety of populations and she’s just amazing. I am going to another one of her courses in November so be prepared to read more about her in the future!

10 common misconceptions about pelvic health physical therapy

What IS pelvic health physical therapy and why doesn’t Everyone know about it?

Julie Wiebe PT blog

APTA PT locator

Herman and Wallace Pelvic Health Practitioner locator

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

<3 – Brittany

Five things Friday

Hello and Happy Friday!

If you follow me on instagram I mentioned doing a post on my job/pelvic health and I’m working on it. I wanted to get out a post though in the mean time. A lot of my posts will be on random topics and what comes up during the week, but after reading many different blogs over the past 7-8 years I personally really like how some do regular features/posts every week, so this is my kick-off of “Five things Friday”. Specifically one blog I’ve read for a while used to do a “Five things Friday” post (Fitting It All In – love her blog, check it out!) and now does a little different outline, but it sparked the idea for me, so enjoy!

 

  1. We enjoyed the eclipse on Monday. It was a bit of a fiasco to get the glasses you needed to not go blind or have issues with your eyesight, but it all worked out. I took Teddy to the park to play and got to take peeks at the moon as it was crossing in front of the sun while he got to get out some energy. It was really neat watching it and makes me excited for the eclipse in 2024 as the area of totality is going to go through my hometown so we’ll be able to visit family and have easy viewing of it.
    Photo taken through the glasses on my husbands phone

  2. I got the Beautycounter products I ordered from the 5-minute face promotion and I seriously fall more in love with the company and their products every time I get something new. I tried a couple different colors than I normally would and it has been fun to play with different combinations.
      
  3. The humidity has decreased this week and also the temperature slightly, which has made afternoon walks, outside playtime and porch playing a lot more feasible and enjoyable. Having my little guy has definitely made me get outside more this summer then probably most summers the past 5 years and I love it. He thrives so much outside (and just in general it’s boring staying inside all the time, so it’s a welcome change) and the vitamin D and fresh air is wonderful.
      
  4. I tried a matcha latte for the first time this week. I have been hearing about them a lot lately and as someone who is watching their caffeine intake in general I was intrigued. I also tend to get quite a caffeine spike with a drop in my blood sugar and quite shaky if I don’t eat just right with my coffee (and with a toddler I’m normally drinking it all morning between chasing him, and reheating it like 10x) so the comments that it has tends to be a more stable energy source was also something I was interested in. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked it and definitely think it’ll be in my regular rotation throughout the week.
          
  5. I got to meet Michelle Tam from Nom Nom Paleo last weekend! She recently came out with a new cookbook Ready or Not! and her book tour stopped close by in VA. I have been eyeing this cookbook since it was released and with her stopping by so close it was a perfect opportunity for me to get it and meet her. I ended up waiting in line almost 2 hours to have her sign my book, but it was worth it and I came away with not only the signed cookbook but a magnet, stickers and the Michelle Tam figurine! She has been with me all week helping my cook in my kitchen. I didn’t meal plan this week from the cookbook but I’m excited to dig in and am having trouble deciding with what recipe to start with.
     

Hope you enjoyed the little recap of the week for the first installment of Five things Friday!

<3 – Brittany

What’s in a name?

Two posts in two days.. who am I? A girl who’s trying to get things up and running that’s who. I wanted to give some background on my little ol’ blog name.

I’ve said that I’ve blogged in the past, and I really liked my blog name, but over the years it just didn’t seem to fit anymore. You see, my last blog name was a play on words with “run” in it, referring to going for a run but also moving through life, and while I’m definitely still running around a lot, I’m not doing much physical running as an exercise form so it just didn’t feel right or true to me. So when I decided to go forth with this adventure, a new blog name was needed.

The hard part about finding or figuring out a blog name is you can search online for inspiration but then you just see everyone else’s blog names and you think “those are so good!!… but they’re taken so it’s actually not helpful at all…” I’m also not a witty person, like at all, so I don’t have that in my favor when it comes to thinking up things. So in thinking about what I wanted to write about and my background, etc I settled on a health/lifestyle-esc theme. I intentionally made my name more all-encompassing because I know myself and I like to explore different trends and ideas and so a very specific name and purpose would not work at all for me.

So with that “theme” in mind I landed on Finding a Fine Feather. I love a good alliteration. Now the actual saying that you can google or look up is “in fine feather” or “in fine fettle”, I didn’t know what a fettle was and I love the look of feathers, so I played with the words a little bit, and it’s not the traditional saying to a tee, but I love it.

In Fine Feather: In good humor, health or form

Hopefully this makes a little more sense now. I’m certainly trying my best to find my way through this little thing called life and I’m glad to have you along for the ride

<3 – Brittany

 

5-Minute Face

Good morning! One way that I have been working to improve my life is by cleaning up my home and beauty products. As you can see I have a nice lil’ tab in the top for Beautycounter (full disclosure I am a consultant for them) and on my path to clean up my skincare products I found this company. Now I didn’t start selling right away, while many of the other bloggers I follow were raving about it (normally enough motivation for me to be all in), I wanted to make sure I was investing not only my money but my time in to a company and product that would work and be safer for me to use.

Well, spoiler alert, I started using their products and LOVED them. Truthfully I hadn’t gotten too deep in to the all natural, make your own skincare and makeup, but I had used some. And there are some companies that I absolutely love and still use their products, but in the short time I was looking up options I was also craving and wanting to stay with some of the more conventional, high-performing type stuff I was used to. Beautycounter has surpassed all my expectations and then a ton more when it comes to quality of ingredients, usability, high-performing and functionality in to my routine. Over the past almost 1.5 years that I have been using them I have been able to try many of their products and am so impressed by their business practices, mission and commitment to not only make amazing products but work to make safer beauty a possibility for all by working to help address the lack of policy change for skincare and beauty products in this country.

Whenever I get to talking about Beautycounter I could really just go on and on, but I’ll cut to the chase for today’s post…Today they launched an amazing promotion and new product!

The new product(s) are an updated lengthening mascara and a new volumizing mascara. I have been using the lengthening mascara for months now and in general love it. At times honestly it can get a little dry (really just over winter-time, I’ve had no issues in spring or summer), but you just roll it between your hands and it warms it up and it goes on soooo nicely. I love a good lengthening mascara, but volumizing is what I’m really excited about, you see I have pretty long eyelashes – so give me all the volume! Either way, they’ve re-done the lengthening and it goes on smoother doesn’t have the smudge issues that a lot of women had with the first formulation and is still lengthening as all get out. The volumizing has been getting just as good of reviews, so pick one or pick both and you won’t be disappointed!

The Volumizing Mascara

 

Now on to the 5-Minute Face. This deal. Guys, it’s good. It’s 6 products that will give you a quick routine in the morning to feel a little more put together and look great. It includes Tint skin foundation, concealer pen, brow pen, blush duo, and a lip sheer. All the colors are customizable for you and it’s a super easy and fun interactive process on the Beautycounter website.

Not only are these 6 items bundled together for a discount, $148 ($198 value), but if you order by the 18th you get a free retractable foundation brush ($35 value)! If you’ve been wanting to try Beautycounter’s makeup and especially if you love having a pre-set system this is the deal for you.

My 5-Minute Face products (plus caffeine. always.)

Also if you are not a BoB (Band of Beauty) member, this is a great deal to join it also. If you become a member and buy the five minute face, you will get the Pearl Champagne Shadow for free (current promotion), FREE shipping and a $22 product credit! BoB is a reward system for every time you make a purchase you accrue product credit to use towards your next purchase, a serious win-win.

 The “Find your Shade” tool from Beautycounter and the four lightest colors on an actual hand.

Here is a before and after of my Beautycounter 5-Minute Face! Can we just ?? at my before. I forgot to take a picture so I grabbed a screenshot from my video that I did on my Facebook group page and let’s just say I didn’t stand still and just smile at the camera like at all, so this was as good as it gets. I took my after in two different lighting situations (one in the bathroom like the before). And to note the after is literally 3-4 hours after with only a reapplication of the lip sheer since I did everything.

 If you want to check them out go to my page and give them a good once (or twice) over. If you have questions about any of the products hit-me-up about them! Like I said I love to talk about Beautycounter so I’ll gladly chat with you about them anytime.
<3- Brittany

Link for ease: Beautycounter

Getting my feet wet

The whole blogging concept is not new to me. I tried it out years ago while in college and even a resurgence not too long ago… and I was, well, inconsistent to say the least. I just blogged about my life and always had grand plans in the back of my mind to grow what I was doing, ya know, hit it “big” in the blog-o-sphere. The problem though is I’m not a creator by nature. I love to learn. I also love to teach, but a creator, someone that comes up with their own original content to share, that’s not what I consider myself. So while I may not have groundbreaking information thats brand new, I am really good at talking, and sharing and getting the word out about things I have learned from others (giving credit where it’s due) and just life lessons. So that’s what I’m here to do. As I put before, some of it may be more life/lifestyle related – specifically my quest to live a healthier and happier life by my definition. Some of it may be more practical. I have a love for physical therapy and specifically pelvic health and I can’t help but share all there is to know about it, albeit often blush inducing to many. While I can’t make promises right now on consistency of posts for the day of the week, I do plan to blog at least 1x/week with the consistency coming as I go for what day it will be and if I expand it to more. I know you’re on the edge of your seat waiting to see what I do. So don’t worry, I’ll keep you in the loop.

 

That’s all for now!

<3- Brittany