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Why Practitioners Should Take An Ethics Course

Why Practitioners Should Take An Ethics Course

Faculty member, and Sr. TA, Mora Pluchino, PT, DPT, PRPC is a graduate of Stockton University with a BS in Biology (2007) and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (2009). Mora authored and instructs Ethical Concerns for Pelvic Health Professionals and  Ethical Considerations from a Legal Lens.

  • "I want to start my own practice but I'm not sure if I need to hire a lawyer to help!"
  • "I have a problematic patient that I want to discontinue seeing, but don't want to be guilty of abandonment of care."
  • "I am so confused by the types of clinical insurance that I am required to have!"
  • "I want to hire an employee and include a non-compete clause in their employment contract!"
  • "I want to start my own cash-based practice and need help with this process!"
  • "I plan to market my practice for THIS population, is it legal to exclude THAT group of people?" 

With the end of 2022 approaching, now is the perfect time to take a pelvic health-focused ethics class. For many states, licensed professionals have to fulfill an ethics continuing education requirement, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, mental health, and many other healthcare providers. 

I started writing this series a year ago. I struggled to find a class to meet my biannual ethics requirement for New Jersey that was related to my practice in pelvic health. I soon realized that as a pelvic health provider and educator, the most popular questions that come up for practitioners, secondary only to specific treatment interventions, are ethical in nature. 

  • "Is ________ ok?" 
  • "What happens if ________ happens?"
  • "Can a patient sue me for ______?"
  • "How do I do ________ legally?"

Providers want to know that they are providing services that are legal and ethical. Even if you have never considered yourself as being overly concerned with the topic of ethics, you have probably had these thoughts. That was certainly the case for me! The further I fell down the rabbit hole of ethics, the more I realized it affects our day-to-day clinical life minute by minute. Ethics is the study of right versus wrong and how we make those personal qualifying decisions. So this covers everything from cleaning procedures, scheduling, patient care, and more!

Practitioners want to know that they will not be open to any legal action for the care and services provided. This usually requires more awareness and knowledge than just purchasing an annual liability insurance policy. Each provider and clinical environment has their own ethos, policies, and procedures, but there are also larger existing rules and laws to help guide providers to provide the best possible care.

In Ethical Concerns for the Pelvic Health Professional, we discuss the basics of doing no harm to our patients, obtaining informed consent, and decision-making based on different ethical models. The goal here is to send you to work immediately following this class feeling more confident in ethical labeling and decision-making. This class is a more global and essential look at the concept of ethics as applied to pelvic health. 

The sole purpose of Ethical Considerations from a Legal Lens is to explore the ethical challenges pelvic health practitioners may experience from a health law perspective. This course is for any pelvic health professional looking to build skills for ethical evaluation, problem-solving, and derivation of solutions with a specific focus on legalities and related concepts.

This series of ethics-related classes is meant to build your clinical character and problem-solving abilities in what feels like "sticky" situations and help to guide you to clinical and business decisions that make you feel comfortable at the end of a work day. 

To sweeten up this class series, each offering has an expert join the discussion on certain topics and case studies, to offer additional perspectives and points of view to the discussion. 

I am looking forward to having an open discussion about the ethical and legal considerations for our profession at the next offered class on December 10th, 2022!


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Ethical Considerations from a Legal Lens

Course Dates:
December 10, 2022
June 3, 2023
November 12, 2023

Price: $175
Experience Level: Beginner
Contact Hours: 6

Description: This one-day remote course covers ethical considerations from a legal lens for professionals working in the area of Pelvic Health. In general, Health Care Professionals have many day-to-day ethical considerations to “do no harm.” This includes basic decisions for billingpatient caresafety, and compliance. Pelvic Rehabilitation comes with additional layers of vulnerability and ethical challenges, and the legalities of pelvic health can add further complications for patient care, business, and clinical practice decisions.

The purpose of this class is to explore the ethical challenges Pelvic Health Practitioners may experience from a health law perspective. This course is for any Pelvic Health Professional looking to build skills for ethical evaluation, problem-solving, and derivation of solutions with a specific focus on the legalities and related concepts. Prior to the live aspect of this course, participants will be asked to review the ethical framework and definitions via pre-recorded lecture and take Core Values Self Assessment. Live instruction will review applicable health laws and legal terms that converge with the pelvic health world. This will be followed by case study discussion in small groups, followed by a large group discussion with input from the instructor and a legal expert/ educator. The remainder of this course is meant to be a guided discussion through the legal and ethical struggles of the pelvic health practitioner.


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Ethical Concerns for Pelvic Health Professionals - Remote Course

Course Dates:
January 29, 2023
September 16,2023

Price: $175
Experience Level: Beginner
Contact Hours: 6

Description:  This course is for any Pelvic Health Professional looking to build skills for ethical evaluation, problem-solving, and derivation of solutions, and explores the ethical challenges practitioners may experience including consent, managing trauma and abuse, and preventing misconduct. Prior to the live aspect of this course, participants will be asked to review the ethical framework and definitions via pre-recorded lecture and take Core Values Self Assessment. Live instruction will review the ways in which patients and practitioners can be vulnerable in the pelvic health treatment setting and how to address this. This will be followed by case study discussion in small groups, followed by large group discussion with input from the instructor and an ethics expert/ educator. The remainder of this course is meant to be a guided discussion through the ethical struggles of the pelvic health practitioner 

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Pelvic Floor Dry Needling + Urinary Incontinence

Pelvic Floor Dry Needling + Urinary Incontinence

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Kelly Sammis, PT, OCS, CLT, AFDN-S is a physical therapist, educator of dry needling and all things pelvic, Pilates instructor, wife, and mama living and working in Parker, Colorado. She specializes in the treatment of male and female pelvic floor dysfunction, athletic injury/return to sport, sports performance, and persistent pain. Her formal education took place at Ohio University (2007) and The University of St Augustine for Health Sciences (2010). Kelly serves as the lead faculty developing and teaching dry needling and pelvic health courses nationwide. Kelly co-instructs the Herman & Wallace Dry Needling courses along with site fellow faculty member Tina Anderson, MS PT.

Urinary incontinence (UI) is defined as ‘any complaint of involuntary leakage or urine’ that has several different subtypes based on when this leakage occurs1.  UI is a common and relevant condition that has a profound influence on well-being and quality of life of many patients worldwide.  Millions of men and women throughout the world are affected.  According to our body of evidence, UI can affect anywhere between 5-70% of the female population2-4 and 11-32% of the male population5,6, contributing to decreased participation in preferred daily, work and recreational activities alongside an immense economic burden for some of those affected.1-7These symptoms have not only been shown to have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, but also on their mental health status.7

While UI is both common and very bothersome, it is also very treatable. I would love nothing more than to see our society and healthcare continuum recognize that UI is something that is ABNORMAL versus the typical categorization that it is a normal part of the aging, postpartum or postoperative experience.

Common, not normal.  Common, but treatable.
UI can be treated with lifestyle and behavioral interventions, bladder training, electrical stimulation, pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) with or without biofeedback, physical therapy, neuromodulation, periurethral injections and, in some cases, surgical intervention. 5,8

Understanding the continence mechanism
In a well-functioning pelvic floor, the connective tissue of the ligaments and fascia act together with the pelvic floor musculature to counteract the impact of any increase in intra-abdominal pressure and ground reaction forces, helping to maintain our continence.8-10 This is an automatic function, requiring no need to think about voluntary contraction of the pelvic floor musculature. 8 When this mechanism is not working adequately, which can undoubtedly be multifactorial, urinary incontinence may occur.

The external urethral sphincter mechanism is a complex system of striated muscle which includes fiber blends from the urogenital triangle musculature and the anterior muscle bundle of the levator ani. 11 The good news here is that we, as rehabilitative clinicians, have many different tissue targets for treatment of UI.

Dry Needling and UI
Dry needling (DN) encompasses the insertion of solid filament, non-injectate needles into, alongside or around muscles, nerves or connective tissues with or without mechanical and/or electrical stimulation for the management of pain and dysfunction in neuromusculoskeletal conditions. DN is both effective and efficient in modulating the central and peripheral nervous systems as well as the somatic tissues, including the pelvic floor.

There is a growing body of evidence that has provided us with an understanding on how to best utilize this technique in our clinical practice as it relates to UI.12-17 With the external urethral sphincter and associated tissues being a main player in our urinary continence mechanism, it provides a road map on how we can utilize DN to treat UI. This boils down to two things: (1) tissue specificity and (2) utilization of electrical stimulation. DN provides us with an avenue to directly influence a specific tissue as we are able to use an indwelling needle electrode placed strategically into a muscular or perineural tissue target. Using that tactically placed indwelling electrode we can then precisely deliver electrical stimulation, essentially speaking the language of the neuromotor system, making this technique one of the most effective tools we have as rehabilitative clinicians to treat UI.

Ultimately, we are able to stimulate the pudendal nerve alongside the targeted tissues. This can help to improve electric activation, proprioception and coordination in pelvic floor contraction during situations that contribute to UI.18,19,22 Additionally, the pudendal nerve is an efferent nerve for the external urethral sphincter, so this treatment is capable of increasing the pressure of urethral closure, improving UI. Another important factor is that electrical stimulation has been shown to increase blood flow to the urethra and pelvic floor musculature, lending towards improvements in neuromuscular connections, muscle fiber function and genital atrophy, all leading to improvements in the mechanism of urethral closure. 19-22

The power of the tissue reset that DN provides has changed clinical outcomes for the better. It has, and will continue to, positively impact and change the lives of many patients through facilitating a more balanced homeostatic baseline within the tissues, healthier motor recruitment patterns and optimal neuromuscular utility to re-establish function.  Want to add this tool to your clinical practice? Check out our Dry Needling course offerings with Herman & Wallace!

 References:

  1. Haylen BT, de Ridder D, Freeman RM, et al. An International Urogynecological Association (IUGA)/ International Continence Society (ICS) joint report on the terminology for female pelvic floor dysfunction. Int Urogynecol J. 2010;21:5–26
  2. Milson I and Gyhagen M. The prevalence of urinary incontinence. Climacteric. 2019;22(3):217-222
  3. Carryer, J, Weststrate, J, Yeung, P et al. Prevalence of key care indicators of pressure injuries, incontinence, malnutrition, and falls among older adults living in nursing homes in New Zealand. Research In nursing & Health. 2017;40(6):555–563
  4. Damian, J, Pastor-Barriuso, R, Garcia Lopez, FJ et al. Urinary incontinence and mortality among older adults residing in care homes. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2017;73(3):688–699
  5. Gacci M, Sakalis VI, Karavitakis M et al. European Association of Urology guidelines on male urinary incontinence. European Urology. 2022;82:387-398
  6. Cao C, Zhang C, Sriskandarajah C et al. Trends and racial disparities in the prevalence of urinary incontinence among men in the USA, 2001-2020. European Urology Focus. 2022; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euf.2022.04.015
  7. Krhut J, Gartner M, Mokris J et al. Effect of severity of urinary incontinence on quality of life in women. Neurourol Urodyn. 2018;37:1925–1930
  8. Bo K. Physiotherapy management of urinary incontinence in females. Journal of Physiotherapy. 2020;
  9. Ashton-Miller J, DeLancey JOL. Functional anatomy of the female pelvic floor. In: Bø K, Berghmans B, Van Kampen M, Mørkved S, eds. Evidence based physical therapy for the pelvic floor. Bridging science and clinical practice. Chapter 3. Edinburgh: Elsevier; 2015:19–34
  10. DeLancey JOL, Low LK, Miller JM et al. Graphic integration of causal factors of pelvic floor disorders: an integrated life span model. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008;199:610.e1–610.e5
  11. Suriyut J, Muro S, Baramee P et al. Various significant connections of the male pelvic floor muscles with special reference to the anal and urethral sphincter muscles. Anatomincal Science Internatiional. 2020;95:305-312
  12. Feng X, Lv J, Li M et al. Short-term efficacy and mechanism of electric pudendal nerve stimulation versus pelvic floor muscle training plus transanal electrical stimulation in treating post-radical prostatectomy urinary incontinence. Oncology. 2022;160:168-175
  13. Wang S, Zhang S. Simultaneous perineal ultrasound and vaginal pressure measurement prove the action of electrical pudendal nerve stimulation in treating female stress incontinence. BJU Int. 2012;110:1338–1343
  14. Wang S, Lv J, Feng X, Wang G, Lv T. Efficacy of electrical pudendal nerve stimulation in treating female stress incontinence. Urology. 2016;91:64–69
  15. Wang S, Lv J, Feng X, Lv T. Efficacy of electrical pudendal nerve stimulation versus transvaginal electrical stimulation in treating female idiopathic urgency urinary incontinence. J Urology. 2017;197:1496–1501
  16. Wang S, Zhang S, Zhao L. Long-term efficacy of electric pudendal nerve stimulation for urgency-frequency syndrome in women. International Urogynecology Journal. 2014;25:397-402.
  17. Li T, Feng X, Lv J et al. Short-term clinical efficacy of electric pudendal nerve stimulation of neurogenic lower urinary tract disease: a pilot research. Urology. 2018;112:69-73
  18. Monga AK, Tracey MR, Subbaroyan J. A systematic review of clinical studies of electrical stimulation for treatment of lower urinary tract dysfunction. Int Urogynecol J. 2002;23:993–1005
  19. Chai TC, Steers WD. Neurophysiology of micturition and continence in women. Int Urogynecol Urol. 1997;8:85–97
  20. Spruijt J, Vierhout M, Verstraeten R, et al. Vaginal electrical stimulation of the pelvic floor: a randomized feasibility study in urinary incontinent elderly women. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2003;82:1043–8
  21. Balcom AH, Wiatrak M, Biefeld T et al. Initial experience with home therapeutic electrical stimulation for continence in myelomenin-gocele population. J Urol. 1997;158:1272–6
  22. Correia GN, Pereira VS, Hirakawa HS et al. Effects of surface and intravaginal electrical stimulation in the treatment of women with stress urinary incontinence: randomized controlled trial. Euro J of Ob & Gyn and Reproductive Bio. 2014;173:113-118

Dry Needling and Pelvic Health - Live Course

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Course Dates:
Worcester, MA - November 12-13, 2022
Katy, TX - January 21-22, 2023
Birmingham, AL - September 16-17, 2023

Price: $995
Experience Level: Beginner
Contact Hours: 26

Description: This is the foundational dry needling course in our three course pelvic health series. Practitioners will learn an innovative approach to treating clients with pelvic floor and neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction commonly associated with lumbopelvic pain, incontinence, voiding dysfunction and/or sexual pain or dysfunction. This foundational dry needling course will instruct participants in the application of dry needling to female pelvic floor musculature and associated neuroanatomical structures including the lumbosacral spine, abdomen, pelvis, and hip joint complex. This course will provide a comprehensive review of anatomy, a strong emphasis on safety and precautions, ample lab time to optimize dry needling techniques, as well as dialogue surrounding clinical integration and relevant evidence.


Dry Needling and Pelvic Health: Advanced Concepts and Neuromodulation - Live Course

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Course Dates:
Salt Lake City, UT - November 5-6, 2022

Price: $995
Experience Level: Advanced
Contact Hours: 26

Description: Dry Needling and Pelvic Health: Advanced Concepts and Neuromodulation is a lab intensive, hybrid course designed with the pelvic health practitioner in mind. This course is an innovative approach to treating clients with pelvic floor dysfunction commonly associated with pelvic pain, incontinence, voiding dysfunction and/or sexual pain or dysfunction. This advanced dry needling course will instruct participants in the application of dry needling to female and male pelvic floor musculature and associated neuroanatomical structures including the thoracolumbar spine, trunk, abdomen, pelvis and hip joint complex. This course will also discuss and integrate the concept of and techniques associated with neuromodulation. Additionally, there will be a comprehensive review of anatomy, a strong emphasis on safety and precautions, ample lab time to optimize dry needling techniques, as well as dialogue surrounding clinical integration and relevant evidence.

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Stool Withholding And Core Activation

Stool Withholding And Core Activation

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Dawn Sandalcidi, PT, RCMT, BCB-PMD can be found online at https://kidsbowelbladder.com/. Dawn is a long time instructor with Herman & Wallace and has generously shared her recent blog with The Pelvic Rehab Report. "Stool Withholding And Core Activation" can be found in its original post on her website here: https://kidsbowelbladder.com/stool-withholding-and-core-activation/.

What do they have in common?
About 9-12% of children suffer from functional constipation, which is the vicious cycle of retained stool causing rectal distention and subsequent loss of sensation and urge to defecate, which results in further stool retention. The exact physiologic causes for functional constipation are not completely understood.

We know the bowel absorbs water constantly. The longer stool sits in the rectum, the harder it becomes. For some children, this leads to very large stools that are uncomfortable or difficult to eliminate. In turn, these children may practice something called stool withholding (which may be the reason stool was sitting in the rectum too long in the first place).

There are many other reasons a child may withhold their stools beside the standard issues that functional constipation presents. Some other reasons for stool withholding include:

  • Inability to generate intraabdominal pressure
  • Availability, likes, and dislikes of the toilet
  • Fear of having a bowel movement
  • Perineal sensation issues
  • Psychological concerns
  • Pain with defecation
  • Dietary contribution
  • Illness or infection
  • Medications
  • And more

No matter how or why a child began withholding stools, it’s vital to treat the problem as soon as possible. When withholding and constipation go untreated, they can cause lifelong issues. In this article, we will explore the relationship between constipation and core control, specifically the child’s ability to generate intraabdominal pressure.

What are the Symptoms a Child May have When Practicing Stool Withholding?
Normally, when enough stool enters the rectum and it’s time for a bowel movement, the rectum will send messages to the brain to make you aware that it’s time to have a poop. Ideally, when you receive this message and become aware of your body’s need to defecate, you find a toilet and do so.

When a child regularly withholds stools, the stool may become retained in the rectum and cause rectal distention and a subsequent loss of sensation. Because the rectum isn’t able to sense its fullness, the messages are never sent to the brain, and the sense of urge to poop disappears.

Although children who withhold stools may not have the urge to poop, they can have other physical symptoms if their stool withholding causes stool retention.

Physical symptoms of stool retention include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Offensive body odor
  • Stools that clog the toilet
  • Decreased appetite
  • Urinary incontinence or frequency
  • And more

Children who withhold stools do not always have retention, however, and sometimes will simply withhold stools due to their environment (such as being at school during the day), and poop as soon as they get home.

How Might Core Strength Relate to Stool Withholding?
I treated a 6-year-old child once who had a bowel movement every single day, but only after he fell asleep in his parents' arms. His parents hadn’t been able to transition him out of diapers because of this. His bowel movements were so predictable that his parents would wait for him to poop, then clean him up and put him back to bed.

This child was also autistic and did have issues with low tone. I discovered during examination of the child that he had a difficult time voluntarily contracting his core muscles. Rotational and balance activities were difficult for him to perform as well due to his lack of core control.

You may be wondering what the core has to do with constipation, or stool withholding specifically. For starters, you need adequate core strength in order to sit upright on the toilet. Without proper core control, children may develop poor toileting postures which can lead to difficulty with defecation.

Correct toileting posture involves first being able to have enough hip extension, back extension, and side-to-side control to balance in a seated position on the toilet seat. Seats of differing heights add to the complexity of good toileting posture.

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Proper Body Position for Toileting
Ideally, your feet should be supported, not dangling (which is a common occurrence for our children using adult-sized toilets). Forearms should be resting on the thighs, and the hips should be bent to at least 90 degrees of flexion. The spine should be in a neutral position (no posterior pelvic tilt).

This position allows for the pelvic floor muscles to relax appropriately, and for the core muscles to activate enough in order to produce appropriate intraabdominal pressure.

Without appropriate intraabdominal pressure generation, it will be difficult for a child to push out their poop. This is precisely what we discovered with my patient who was withholding until she got into bed. When in her parents' arms she was flexed, it was easier for her to generate enough intraabdominal pressure to poop, and so she did!

Knowing the reason for his withholding allowed us to target treatment planning where he needed it the most.

How to Address Core Strength in Children who Withhold Stools
Once you’ve determined that core activation is a root issue, you’ll need to address it in order to see any change with your patient’s bowel habits. Parents are usually at their wit’s end and are looking to you for answers. Your physical exam is your best tool in identifying root causes of stool withholding.

Many children attending physical and/or occupational therapy do suffer from low tone. As we’ve learned, this can compound constipation issues and even lead to stool withholding.

With the child above, we worked on core activation exercises first in supine, then in prone on an incline, and gradually added challenge to his exercises until she was able to generate enough intraabdominal pressure to poop on the toilet independently.

Even if your patient does not suffer from low tone, core activation and training may still be indicated. Some children have difficulty with coordinating or timing appropriate muscle contraction and relaxation. Be sure to evaluate the core when treating patients who suffer from constipation and stool withholding.

These children may have difficulty crossing midline as well. Age-appropriate exercises to engage the core while also incorporating diagonal and midline-crossing motions will be beneficial for those patients.

Additionally, you’ll want to assess the rib cage. Oftentimes I find children who have difficulty with core control also have a wider rib angle and hence need upper abdominal engagement exercises.

Lastly, many of the children you’ll treat will need help with rotation. This is a common finding during examination and without addressing rotation, you’ll see much slower progress.

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Treating Stool Withholding and Core Issues is Possible
So many children with constipation will not receive appropriate treatment during childhood and their problems will persist into adulthood. It’s our job as pediatric therapists to identify children in need of help. Many children with bowel and bladder problems will be seen in your clinics for other issues, and unfortunately never even bring up the bowel or bladder concerns.

I put together a list of 5 Screening Questions you can ask your patients to determine whether they might be suffering from bowel or bladder issues and not even know it. This is a quick and easy way to identify patients in need of pediatric pelvic floor therapy.

It’s a great idea to get in touch with your local pediatric pelvic floor specialist to be able to easily refer these patients. You can also become a pediatric pelvic floor therapist yourself by taking my online courses! I believe this patient population is severely underserved and have made it easier than ever to learn how to best support these children.

My courses are held live in various locations around the world throughout the year, but I also offer online options for you to be able to work at your own pace from the comfort of home. Inside my online courses, there is space in every module to leave comments or ask questions and they go directly to me.

Sign Up For the Pediatric Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Remote Course.

I’ve also created a group online where those who have taken my courses can collaborate, receive my mentorship, and discuss any issues that come up along their pediatric pelvic floor therapy journey. The group is called KBB Professional Village.

Learn More about KBB Professional Village.

 


Pediatric Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders

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Course Dates:
November 12-13, 2022
May 20-21, 2023
November 4-5, 2023

Price: $600
Experience Level: Intermediate
Contact Hours: 15

Description:  This two-day, remote course is offered on Zoom and is the next step for therapists who focus on the pediatric pelvic floor patient population. It is designed to expand your knowledge of the development of normal bowel patterns in children, introduce the new Rome IV criteria (Zeevenhoovenet al. 2017), and review the anatomy and physiology of the GI system with emphasis on Pediatric Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (FGID).

This course will delve into the most common types of functional constipation and the tests and measures used to assess it. Special emphasis on constipation with the coexistence of fecal incontinence (Nurko, Scott. 2011) and the psychological effects of these disorders will also be presented. Additionally, participants who have not yet been trained will learn external and internal anorectal PFM evaluation of the pediatric perineum. Indications for rectal balloon training and determining the appropriate patient will be instructed with lab. Functional defecatory positions for breathing and PFM relaxation, manual therapy techniques of the abdominal wall and viscera will be taught. 

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Post-Orgasmic Illness Syndrome (POIS)

Post-Orgasmic Illness Syndrome (POIS)

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Holly Tanner is the Director of Education at Herman & Wallace and has curated and instructs the Male Pelvic Floor course. Male Pelvic Floor was first taught in 2008 and has since been expanded to include 22 contact hours. This current content includes 7 pre-recorded lectures and 2 full days of live lectures and labs, allowing more time for hands-on skills in examination and treatment. The schedule covers bladder, prostate, sexual health, and pelvic pain, and further discusses special topics like post-vasectomy syndrome, circumcision, and Peyronie’s disease.

 

Post-orgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) is a condition that encompasses a cluster of clinical symptoms. The literature most often reports this presentation in men as a response that occurs shortly after ejaculation and that lasts a period of days or even a week or longer. Symptoms may include transient, flu-like symptoms including, but not limited to headache, sore throat, general myalgia, exhaustion, and cognition that is impacted during the reaction. Understandably, people who experience post-orgasm illness often limit sexual encounters, demonstrate avoidance of sexual function, experience interference in relationships with partners, and report lost time from work and other activities. The diagnosis may be primary (occurring from first ejaculation experience) or secondary (acquired later in life.)

Despite the recognition that clinical presentation can be highly variable, diagnostic criteria have been described by Waldinger and colleagues in 2011 (Part 1) and are based on their study of 45 Dutch Caucasian men with POIS.

Preliminary diagnostic criteria for post-orgasmic illness syndrome include 1 or more of the following:

  • Flu-like symptoms, fatigue, muscle weakness, feeling feverish, sweating, mood disturbances or irritation, memory and concentration difficulties, nasal congestion, watery nose, and/or itchy eyes.
  • Symptoms occur immediately after or within hours after ejaculation
  • Symptoms occur almost always, or in more than 90% of ejaculation events
  • Symptoms last for 2-7 days
  • Symptoms disappear spontaneously

There are various theories postulating the reason for developing POIS including the autoimmune-allergy hypothesis, cytokine and neuroendocrine disruption, and endogenous m-opioid receptors (orgasm uses large quantities of endogenous opioids). One of the primary reasons that immune reaction to a patient’s own semen has been a strong theory is because sexual activities without ejaculation often do not produce the reaction. Hyposensitization with autologous semen has proven beneficial as a desensitization therapy. (Waldinger et al., 2011, Part 2) Other treatments that may be used include antihistamines, SSRIs, benzodiazepines, and NSAIDs. Comorbidities of POIS reported by Natale and colleagues (2020) include erectile dysfunction, allergies, chronic pelvic pain, autoimmune conditions, and depression and anxiety.

From the standpoint of pelvic rehabilitation, there is much to offer to alleviate symptoms and promote function in patients who have POIS. Genitopelvic pain during or after ejaculation, urinary hesitancy, and difficulty with bowel movements can accompany the syndrome - all complaints that warrant evaluation typical of any patient who has abdominopelvic dysfunction. In the men who have presented to me with this diagnosis, a period of sexual dysfunction including premature ejaculation was described prior to developing POIS. One patient, in particular, described a period of a decade or more of suppressing sexual desires, including masturbation, due to beliefs in his community. When he did masturbate for the first time, he developed post-orgasm illness immediately. I have also observed a tendency to report hypersensitivity to touch, with any palpation to the lower abdomen or groin area causing significant discomfort, and even spontaneous erection or orgasm that was difficult for the patient to manage. In the few cases I have seen, abdominal and pelvic muscle dysfunction was present, and patients responded favorably to manual therapy, education, breathing, and self-management with the use of thermal therapies and self-treatment for soft tissues. It is likely that a combination of medical management, as well as rehabilitation efforts, will provide the best recovery, as anyone who develops fear of an activity usually benefits from learning how to prepare for said activity by addressing concerns prior to, during, and after the activity. Addressing the nervous system response to ejaculation can be part of the rehabilitation process, and a referral to a mental health professional may also prove beneficial in managing the anxiety that often accompanies post-orgasm illness syndrome.


References:

  1. Abdessater, M., Elias, S., Mikhael, E., Alhammadi, A., & Beley, S. (2019). Post orgasmic illness syndrome: what do we know till now?. Basic and Clinical Andrology, 29(1), 1-6.
  2. Le, T. V., Nguyen, H. M. T., & Hellstrom, W. J. (2018). Postorgasmic Illness Syndrome: What do we know so far?. Journal of Rare Diseases Research & Treatment, 3(2).
  3. Nguyen, H. M. T., Bala, A., Gabrielson, A. T., & Hellstrom, W. J. (2018). Post-orgasmic illness syndrome: a review. Sexual Medicine Reviews, 6(1), 11-15.
  4. Waldinger, M. D., Meinardi, M. M., Zwinderman, A. H., & Schweitzer, D. H. (2011). Postorgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) in 45 Dutch Caucasian males: clinical characteristics and evidence for an immunogenic pathogenesis (part 1). The journal of sexual medicine, 8(4), 1164-1170.
  5. Waldinger MD, Meinardi MM, Schweitzer DH. Hyposensitization therapy with autologous semen in two Dutch caucasian males: beneficial effects in Postorgasmic illness syndrome (POIS; part 2). J Sex Med. 2011a;8(4):1171–6
  6. Waldinger, M. D., & Schweitzer, D. H. (2002). Postorgasmic illness syndrome: two cases. Journal of Sex &Marital Therapy, 28(3), 251-255.

Male Pelvic Floor Function, Dysfunction and Treatment - Satellite Lab Course

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Price: $695                                            Experience Level: Beginner-Intermediate                                            Contact Hours: 22

Description:  
The course introduces valuable concepts in pelvic health including urinary and prostate function, chronic pelvic pain, and sexual health. For therapists who have taken Pelvic Floor Function, Dysfunction, and Treatment Level 2A, the Men’s Pelvic Health Course expands on the men’s pelvic health topics introduced in Pelvic Floor Level 2A. This continuing education course is also created at an introductory level, covering topics such as internal rectal pelvic muscle examination, so that a therapist who has not taken prior pelvic floor muscle function coursework can attend. It is expected that participants will only register for satellites in which they are within driving distance, and adhere to all state and local COVID guidelines, including wearing a mask at all times during the course.

Urinary dysfunction such as post-prostatectomy incontinence, benign prostatic hypertrophy, urinary retention, and post-micturition dribble are discussed in this class. Because urinary incontinence is a potential consequence following prostate surgery, risk factors, pre-surgical rehabilitation, and post-surgical intervention strategies following prostatectomy are instructed. The medical aspects of prostate cancer testing are also clearly described, including prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, Gleason scores, and any recent updates in recommended medical screening.

Although most men diagnosed with prostatitis do not have a true infection, prostatitis remains a common diagnosis within chronic pelvic pain. The Men’s Pelvic Health course explains typical presentations of prostatitis-like pain, evaluation techniques, and evidence-informed intervention techniques. Other pelvic diagnoses are covered, such as Peyronie's Disease, testicular and scrotal pain, penile pain, and pelvic floor muscle-related conditions. Men who experience pelvic muscle dysfunction including pain or weakness are at risk for sexual dysfunction. Participants will be able to describe the relationships between pelvic muscle function and men’s sexual health, including the evidence that demonstrates pelvic muscle rehabilitation's positive impact on erectile function. This continuing education course includes lectures and labs, including external and internal muscle mapping and neuro-myofascial treatment techniques.

Next Course Date: October 22-23, 2022

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The Importance of PNE

The Importance of PNE
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Alyson Lowrey, PT, DPT, OCS is the co-instructor for the H&W course Pain Science for the Chronic Pelvic Pain Population - Remote Course alongside Tara Sullivan, PT, DPT, PRPC, WCS, IF. Alyson treats the pelvic floor patient population through an orthopedic approach, working closely with pelvic floor specialists.

Pain neuroscience education (PNE) is the explanation of the neurophysiological changes in the central nervous system in patients with chronic pain. It includes how the nervous system functions and factors that influence its function such as social, psychological, and environmental factors. Pain neuroscience education aims to increase the patient’s knowledge about pain, decrease the threat of pain, and allow the patient to reconceptualize pain from a biopsychosocial perspective.

As a clinician seeing a patient with chronic and complex pain, it can be very daunting trying to determine how much education you should give the patient. Patients are generally very invested in improving their quality of life and therefore invested in learning how to treat their pain. Using techniques such as motivational interviewing is one way to determine if a patient is receptive to new information about pain and how to deliver that information. Education about pain needs to be varied and tailored to each patient based on their prior knowledge and perceptions, learning styles, their language, and their health literacy.

When a patient has an increased understanding of their pain and how their nervous system works, it can change their perspective about their pain by decreasing the threat value of their pain. PNE is the first step in the process of increasing a patient’s pain thresholds during exercise and functional activity. When patients no longer fear their pain as a sign of tissue damage, they can become empowered to re-educate their nervous system and pain processing centers in their brain. As providers, we are able to do this in several ways. We can do this by helping build new coping strategies and thought processes around their pain and dispelling misconceptions about their pain and physical ailments. We can suggest lifestyle and movement modifications that allow for more functional movement that doesn’t increase their pain activation centers. We can also adjust and modify our treatment plan around the patient's needs for success at each session. Consistently being a voice of encouragement, empowerment, and validation is also a very important component of PNE and our treatment as clinicians for our patients with chronic pain.


Pain Science for the Chronic Pelvic Pain Population - Remote Course

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Course Date
October 8th-9th

Description
This course provides a thorough introduction to pain science concepts including classifications of pain mechanisms, peripheral pain generators, peripheral sensitization and central sensitization in listed chronic pelvic pain conditions; as well as treatment strategies including therapeutic pain neuroscience education, therapeutic alliance, and the current rehab interventions' influence on central sensitization. The rehab professionals who attend will be provided the understanding and tools needed to identify and treat patients with chronic pelvic pain from a pain science perspective. Lecture topics include the history of pain, pain physiology, central and peripheral sensitization, sensitization in chronic pelvic pain conditions, therapeutic alliance, pain science and trauma-informed care, therapeutic pain neuroscience education, the influence of rehab interventions on the CNS, and specific case examples for sensitization in CPP.

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Got 30 Minutes? 4 Underestimated Daily Practices to Make Your Lunch Break More Life-Giving

Got 30 Minutes? 4 Underestimated Daily Practices to Make Your Lunch Break More Life-Giving
Amanda

Amanda Davis, PT, DPT, PRPC can be found online at https://www.makeandmanifest.com/. She has generously shared her recent blog with The Pelvic Rehab Report. "Got 30 Minutes? 4 Underestimated Daily Practices to Make Your Lunch Break More Life-Giving" can be found in its original post on her website here: http://www.makeandmanifest.com/blog-lunchbreak/.

 

Hey there, I'm Amanda. Pelvic rehab therapist, endo warrior, girl mama (despite that whole endo thing), and creator of this space where I'm sharing the story of practicing what I preach and the wins and losses I gather along the way. I love early morning espresso, podcast binging, yoga pants, and scrolling Pinterest for my next obsession (heyyyy fellow libras!). My mission is to help women see the difference between "common" and "normal" and to take their physical, mental, and emotional health beyond the "that's just the way it is" mentality.

Hats off to my fellow 9-5ers who head home after a long day to jump right into their 5-9. If you’re like me, that second “career” includes (but definitely is not limited to) caregiver, dog walker, master gardener, professional organizer, chef, and housekeeper to name a few. Add in friendships that need energy, relationships that need time, those hobbies you swore you’d keep alive, and self-care you promised yourself you’d do…aaaaand the whole multi-passionate, multi-talented, multi-hyphenate thing can get overwhelming quick.

After a glorious five-month maternity leave, I’ve officially been a working mom for a year. I love my job and I love my girl, and while trying to fit both in a 24 day is challenging and exhausting, it’s what’s right for me in the season I’m in. Plus there’s something about pursuing my calling outside of the home and knowing Sloan’s watching me do it.

RELATED POST: 9 Ways to Practice Self-Love as a New Mom on Maternity Leave

We’ve all chased that ultimate goal of a *perfect* balance and ~seamless~ blend between work and home, but in full disclosure, I’ve gotta tell ya— it’s hard for me to do. I’ve found myself coming home drained, dying for a break, wishing I could just lock myself in a quiet room, and feeling guilty for all of the above.  Being with my daughter is the best part of my day, but I’m often just too depleted to enjoy it.

Maybe you can relate? Maybe you’re also trying to work to live but find those words flipping themselves around more than you care to admit.

I recently took an online course called Boundaries, Self-Care, and Meditation for the Pelvic Rehab Therapist, Part 1 (part 2 is on June 12). As a PT I’m required to take continuing education to keep my skillset relevant and knowledge fresh, but the pending burnout I shared with you above led me to [this] course instead. To put it simply, it was [insert explosion sound here] mind-blowing; and call me dramatic, but I consider my practice, my patients, and myself as a person and professional forever changed because of it.

While I could write at least ten posts on all the things I learned in this class, the concept that’s been most life-altering for me was how I spend my lunchtime. Yep!…just a few tweaks to those 30 minutes mid-day and not only are my afternoons more pleasant and productive, but I’m going home refreshed, renewed, and ready to spend my time and energy on alllllllllll the other people and things that mean the most to me.

RELATED POST: Your Day Starts at Bedtime: 25 Easy Habits for a Better Night’s Sleep

RELATED POST: Promote Health + Prevent Burnout: A Pelvic Rehab Therapist’s Guide to the ~Perfect~ Self-Care Day

What you’ll find next is how I structure my lunchtime for life-giving success— a strategy that serves me most. We all have different work environments, different physical and mental needs, and different priorities. As long as your cup feels full(er) at the end of your break, I can confirm you’re doin’ it right.

SHUT YOUR DOOR
I fully realize that not everyone has an office door they can shut during lunchtime, but as long as you can get somewhere semi-quiet and remotely alone, that should do the trick (heck…I’ve been known to go out to my car in a pinch). Creating a calm and centered environment has proven paramount to taking a true “break” from the day and will make all of my recommendations to follow that much more enjoyable.

If you’re worried about appearing “selfish” or “standoffish”…I was too. But after a week’s worth of lunches behind a closed door, I realize the positives of this practice far outweigh the negatives I was creating in my head. I’m still a team player. My coworkers still know where I am if they need me. But I’m a better colleague the other eight hours of the day when I take these 30 minutes to myself, and to my knowledge, there have been no complaints so far.

STOP TO EAT
To my fellow multi-tasking queens— if you only read one part of this post, let [this] be it as I believe this one change has made the biggest difference.

I used to spend my lunch catching up on paperwork, tending to emails, paying bills, online shopping, and then resort to scrolling social media if all of that was done. But I was eating during all of it and realized that not only was it taking me twice as long to complete tasks, but I wasn’t tasting, appreciating, or ultimately enjoying my food, all huge components of appetite, digestion, and ultimately nutrition and health.

My lunches aren’t anything fancy; in fact, 99% of the time they’re leftovers from earlier in the week (helloooooooo my trusty 3-day-old grilled chicken). But stopping to eat with intention and nothing other than a little music or podcast playing in the background has surprisingly, but positively, affected how much I consume, how my gut feels afterward, and the amount of energy I have for the rest of the day.

PS- What you eat can make a huge impact here too. I aim for whole, quality foods full of healthy fats and filling proteins to set me up for success. I’m someone who can eat the same thing again and again, so you’ll typically find my lunchbox full of that good ol’ grilled chicken, boiled eggs, fruit, cheese, and rice noodles if I’m feelin’ feisty.

LEARN
On top of that podcast I have playing while I eat, I’ve started spending ten to fifteen minutes learning during lunch. I literally set a timer, pull out a book, and read about something that fuels my brain.

In order to make these minutes a 10/10, here’s a few tips to uplevel the experience:

  • Get comfortable. Find a place to prop your feet up or lean that car seat back (this is in part why I set a timer…juuuuuuuust in case I fall asleep). Have water nearby, a blanket tucked away if it’s cold, and don’t hesitate to indulge in all the ways even if for just a short period of time.
  • Read about something unrelated to your occupation. For instance…I’m a pelvic rehab therapist but you won’t see me catching up on the latest research in anatomy and physiology. I typically grab a book on self-improvement, business and marketing, or homesteading, and my brain feels so much more recharged when it gets to focus on something that builds me up as a passionate person outside of my profession.
  • Use a physical book. Seriously…no kindle, no phone apps, no audiobooks. Chances are you’re looking at a screen, listening to people talk, or a combo of the two all day long. Digging into an actual hard copy will access other parts of your brain that you may not be tapping into as regularly and result in faaaaaaaar more feel-good-ness.

When I became a mom I went from devouring a few books a month to being able to count my yearly reads on one hand. Reading on my lunch break has made me excited to learn again and reminded me of who I am outside of motherhood too (in turn making me a better mama). Even if reading isn’t your “thing”, at least give this one a try. Bonus if you utilize your local library because their books just smell better and we’re going for indulgent here…remember?

MOVE
Eat…ten minutes. Learn…ten minutes. If you’re like me and have ten more minutes to spare, then I encourage you to move your body with that time. While the options are endless, I try to avoid sweating too much in the middle of the work day, so walking, stretching, and even deep breathing exercises are more my speed. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have the shoes, yoga mat, or whatever it is you need ready to go.

RELATED POST: Easy + Impactful Ways to Use Your Time Confetti to Improve Your Pelvic Floor Health

Not only does research show that movement improves your mood and elevates your energy, but there are also the physical benefits (duh!) and mental resilience that comes with knowing you’re taking care of yourself when you could be doing something else. Once fearful of wasting precious energy, I now consider my mid-day movement the boost I need to ensure I’m ready to go when I get home because let me tell ya…one year olds don’t quit.

One look at my Pinterest boards and you’ll see I’m a girl who has a lot she wants to accomplish (I see you dream house, list of must-reads, vacation itineraries, and yummy recipes just dyyyyyying to be made). But with a 24-hour day divided in thirds between work, sleep, and “other”, I have to use my time wisely to see success in a life where I’m more often than not choosing the option of (D) ALL OF THE ABOVE.

I don’t mean to be dramatic, but hacking my 30-minute lunch has ~literally~ changed my life and I’m a better physical therapist, caregiver, dog walker, master gardener, professional organizer, chef, and housekeeper (to name a few) because of it. There’s a saying that if you can’t go big, go home, but this is an instance where you can’t underestimate the power of a few minutes spent intentionally where it counts.

I’d love to hear in the comments what you do for work, if these strategies work for you, and ways you’ve made them your own. And don’t hesitate to share this one with a coworker who could use these strategies too! Nothing makes me happier than picturing us all spending half an hour in that 11-2 time frame-filling our cups for full-day success. I have a feeling you’ll be surprised at the impact this can have, and I can’t wait to watch you grow one lunchtime at a time.


Boundaries, Self-Care, and Meditation - Part 2 - Remote Course - June 12, 2022

This course focuses on personal and professional growth for the participant, with a deeper dive into meditation and self-care practicesYoga is introduced as a means of mindful movement and energy balance. Participants will learn to identify unhealthy relational patterns in patients and others, and skills on how to use language and boundaries to create shifts that keep the clinician grounded and prevent excessive energic and emotional disruptions. There is a lecture on using essential oils for self-care and possibly patient care. Learning new strategies to preserve energy, wellness, and passion while practicing appropriate self-care and boundaries will lead to helpful relationships with complex patients. This course also includes a discussion of energetic relationships with others as well as the concept of a "Higher Power". The discussion will also include refining life purpose, mission, and joy potential, unique to the individual participant. The goal is that the participating clinician will walk away from this experience equipped with strategies to address both oneself and one's patients with a mind, body, and spirit approach. 

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Acupressure: Holistic care for Pregnancy, Labor, and Postpartum

Acupressure: Holistic care for Pregnancy, Labor, and Postpartum

Acupuncture

Rachna Mehta PT, DPT, CIMT, OCS, PRPC, RYT 200 has a personal interest in various eastern holistic healing traditions, and she noticed that many of her chronic pain patients were using complementary health care approaches including acupuncture and yoga. Her course Acupressure for Optimal Pelvic Health brings a unique evidence-based approach and explores complementary medicine as a powerful tool for holistic management of the individual as a whole focusing on the physical, emotional, and energy body.

rachna linked in post 25 june 26 june

There is worldwide concern over the increasing rates of pharmacologically induced labor, opioid use, and operative birth. Women are seeking holistic non-pharmacologic options to avoid medical and surgical interventions in childbirth which has led to the popularity of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies. Despite CAM existing outside of conventional heath systems, a substantial number of women have been found to use CAM to manage their health during pregnancy1.

Among CAM therapies, Acupuncture and Acupressure have been found to be helpful for pregnancy-related symptoms such as nausea, breech presentation, and labor induction with post-partum recovery considerations as well. Acupressure has roots in Acupuncture and is based on more than 3000 years of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM supports Meridian theory and meridians are believed to be energy channels that are connected to the function of the visceral organs. Acupoints located along these meridians transmit Qi or the bio-electric energy through a vast network of interstitial connective tissue connecting the peripheral nervous system to the central viscera.

A systematic review published by Smith et al2 looked at the use of Acupuncture or Acupressure for pain management during labor. They noted that the pain women experience during labor can be intense, with body tension, anxiety, and fear making it worse. The data included a total of 3960 women and found that Acupressure may reduce pain intensity in women experiencing labor pain.

Another RCT published by Levett et al included 176 nulliparous women with low-risk pregnancies, attending hospital-based antenatal clinics. They incorporated six evidence-based complementary medicine techniques: Acupressure, visualization and relaxation, breathing, massage, yoga techniques, and facilitated partner support. Randomization occurred at 24–36 weeks’ gestation, and participants attended a 2-day antenatal education program plus standard care, or standard care alone.

The study found a significant difference between the two groups with the study group having decreased epidural use (23.9%) compared to the standard care group (68.7%). The study group participants also reported a reduced rate of cesarean section and length of the second stage among other measures.

An article published by Debra Betts3 discusses several key considerations for promoting physiological Labor with Acupuncture. Multiple studies have cited the effectiveness of Acupressure by stimulating these powerful Acupoints as well. The author states that the suggestion of Acupoints cited below are based on both her clinical practice and midwifery feedback and are by no means an exhaustive list. The practitioner is encouraged to explore Traditional Chinese Medicine to promote efficient physiological labor in women.

Key considerations for promoting natural physiological labor include:

Is the baby in an optimal anterior position? The author states “Women can become involved in their own treatment by learning proactive positioning. This involves a woman keeping her knees lower than her hips when sitting, in order to assist gravity in moving her baby into the best possible position. Bucket‑type seats such as car seats and comfy sofas, therefore, need to be abandoned in favor of birthing balls, sitting astride chairs (with the arms resting on the back).” Key acupuncture points that can be stimulated include Bladder 60 ( BL 60), Spleen 6 (Sp 6), and Bladder 67 (BL 67). Bladder 60 (BL 60) is considered an empirical induction point. Midwifery feedback suggests that this is a useful point for promoting an optimal position of the baby for birth. Bladder 67 (BL 67) is considered an extremely important point if the baby is not in an anterior position.

Is the woman emotionally prepared for labor? While most women have some level of underlying anxiety or fear about the approaching birth, it is essential to address any significant emotional disharmony. The hormone oxytocin is released several weeks prior to labor, initially stimulating uterine contractions at night, with increasing production then aiding the transition into labor. Stress hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenaline have a direct inhibiting effect on natural oxytocin release, and therefore play a very significant role in inhibiting contractions2. Key acupuncture points that can be stimulated include Kidney 1 (KD 1), Liver 3 (Liv 3), and Pericardium 6 (P6) among others. Kidney 1 (K1) is useful for women who are experiencing fear of induction or childbirth itself. Liver 3 (Lv 3) is helps in improving Liver chi. Pericardium 6 (P6) is helpful for nausea, regulating the heart and calming.

Is the woman physically prepared for labor? Women may be physically exhausted or have pre-existing physical conditions that, once addressed, will help to promote physiological labor2. Key acupuncture points that can be stimulated include Bladder 43 (BL 43) and Stomach 36 (St 36). Bladder 43 ( BL 43) is A point that tonifies and nourishes the Lung, Heart, Kidneys, Spleen, and Stomach. Stomach 36 (ST 36) is a useful point to reinforce if the woman is exhausted, due to its qi-tonifying and blood-nourishing properties.

Stimulating contractions:  Debra Betts also notes that key points of the Bladder meridian that are located on the sacrum are crucial in initiating contractions. While Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) does consider some Acupuncture points like Large Intestine 4 (LI 4), Gall Bladder 21 (GB 21), and Spleen 6 (Sp 6) should not be stimulated in pregnant women, the opposite is true when we want to initiate labor and these points can be additionally used to assist in stimulating contractions.

Acupressure can also be used in the post-partum period for overall generalized well-being, promoting a sense of bonding with the baby, calm, and relaxation.

Acupressure can be used to stimulate key energy points also known as Acupoints in various meridians and as hands-on musculoskeletal specialists, we can use and teach this modality to our patients. Acupressure requires no equipment, is easy for clinicians to teach and for patients to self-administer when taught correctly, and is an empowering self-care tool to promote optimal health outcomes.

The course Acupressure for Optimal Pelvic Health focuses on powerful Acupressure points in key Meridians including the Kidney, Bladder, Spleen, and Stomach meridians. It also explores Yin Yoga as an integrative intervention with Acupressure. Yin Yoga, a derivative of Hath Yoga is a wonderful complimentary practice to Acupressure. Yin Yoga is a slow and calm meditative practice that uses seated and supine poses that are held for three to five minutes with deep breathing. It stimulates the energy flow through the meridian channels by creating tension along specific meridian lines.

This course is curated and taught by Rachna Mehta. To learn how to integrate Acupressure into your clinical practice, join the next scheduled remote course on June 25- 26, 2022.


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References

  1. Steel A, Adams J, Sibbritt D, Broom A. The Outcomes of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use among Pregnant and Birthing Women: Current Trends and Future Directions. Women’s Health. May 2015:309-323. doi:10.2217/WHE.14.84.
  2. Smith CA, Collins CT, Levett KM, et al. Acupuncture or acupressure for pain management during labour. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020;2(2): CD009232.
  3. Betts, Debra. Inducing Labour with Acupuncture–Crucial Considerations. Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2009;90: 20-25.
  4. Atkins KL, Fogarty S, Feigel ML. Acupressure and Acupuncture Use in the Peripartum Period. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2021;64(3):558-571. doi:10.1097/GRF.0000000000000636.
  5. Levett, Kate M., Smith, C.A., Bensoussan, A. & Dahlen, H.G. Complementary therapies for labour and birth study: a randomized controlled trial of antenatal integrative medicine for pain management in labour.  BMJ Open, 2016 Jul 12;6(7):e010691. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010691.
  6. Schlaeger JM, Gabzdyl EM, Bussell JL, et al. Acupuncture and Acupressure in Labor. J Midwifery Women's Health. 2017;62(1):12-28. doi:10.1111/jmwh.12545.

Acupressure for Optimal Pelvic Health 
Instructor: Rachna Mehta PT, DPT, CIMT, OCS, PRPC, RYT 200

Price: $450
Experience Level: Beginner
Contact Hours: 12.5

Course Dates: June 25-26, 2022 and October 15-16, 2022

Course Description:
This continuing education course is a two-day seminar that offers participants an evidence-based perspective on the application of Acupressure for evaluating and treating a host of pelvic health conditions including bowel, bladder, and pelvic pain issues. The course explores a brief history of Acupressure, its roots in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and presents current evidence that supports the use of complementary and alternative medicine as an adjunct to western medicine. TCM concepts of Meridian theory and energy channels are presented with scientific evidence of Acupoints transmitting energy through interstitial connective tissue with potentially powerful integrative applications through multiple systems.

Lectures will present evidence on the use of potent Acupressure points and combinations of points for treating a variety of pelvic health conditions including chronic pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea, constipation, digestive disturbances, and urinary dysfunctions to name a few. Key acupoints for decreasing anxiety, and stress and bringing the body back to a state of physiological balance are integrated throughout the course.

Participants will be instructed through live lectures and demonstrations on the anatomic location and mapping of acupressure points along five major meridians including the spleen, stomach, kidney, urinary bladder, and gall bladder meridians. Key associated points in the pericardium, large intestine, small intestine, lung and liver meridians as well as the governing and conception vessels will also be introduced. The course offers a brief introduction to Yin yoga and explores Yin poses within each meridian to channel energy through neurodynamic pathways to promote healing across multiple systems. Participants will learn how to create home programs and exercise sequences and will be able to integrate acupressure and Yin yoga into their orthopedic and pelvic health interventions.

Special Considerations and Lab materials
The labs for this course will involve external whole-body palpation and mapping of acupressure points. Please wear fitted t-shirt and leggings or yoga pants for acupressure point mapping. Participants should buy a pack of 1-inch diameter white circle stickers to be used in Labs for mapping acupressure points.

Participants are encouraged to use a Yoga mat if available and any other props they may have at home including yoga blocks, small blankets, towels and pillows to be used in the guided Yin Yoga Lab portion of the course.

Recommended resources: It is recommended that participants purchase an Acupressure Point Chart for ease of following the course work and labs in this course. Since the accuracy of points and content may vary on different charts, it is recommended to buy a copy at https://acupressure.com/products/acupressure-charts/

Target Audience:
This continuing education seminar is targeted to rehabilitation professionals who use manual therapy as a treatment modality. Knowledge of acupressure points with specific anatomical landmarks will enable clinicians to add to their toolbox skills for treating a variety of pelvic health conditions related to the bowel, and bladder and treatment of pelvic pain.

Prerequisites:
It is recommended that the participants have a working knowledge of the functional anatomy of pelvic floor muscles as well as various associated pelvic health conditions. Pelvic Floor 1 through Herman & Wallace is strongly recommended.

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Dry Needling and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Dry Needling and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

DNPH 1

Kelly Sammis, PT, OCS, CLT, AFDN-S is a physical therapist, educator of dry needling and all things pelvic, Pilates instructor, wife, and mama living and working in Parker, Colorado. She specializes in the treatment of male and female pelvic floor dysfunction, athletic injury/return to sport, sports performance, and persistent pain. Her formal education took place at Ohio University (2007) and The University of St Augustine for Health Sciences (2010). Kelly serves as the lead faculty developing and teaching dry needling and pelvic health courses nationwide. Kelly co-instructs the Herman & Wallace Dry Needling courses along with site fellow faculty member Tina Anderson, MS PT.

Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) is a common and relevant condition that affects many patients worldwide.  According to our evidence, PFD can affect approximately 20-25% of women and men in the United States1, contributing to decreased participation in preferred daily, work and recreational activities due to high incidences of lumbopelvic pain, abdominopelvic pain, incontinence, prolapse, and/or other urologic and urogynecologic symptoms.2  These symptoms have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life and mental health status.2

While PFD is common, the general public has not been fully educated that these dysfunctions are not normal.  As clinicians, we have a duty to educate our patient population that PFD is not a normal, nor acceptable, part of the postpartum experience or aging process.  These dysfunctions are very debilitating but are also very treatable.

Common, not normal.  Common, but treatable.

Pelvic floor pathology comes to us as clinicians in a variety of diagnoses, etiologies, and presentations2. Patients are often referred to physical therapy with medical diagnoses such as chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), interstitial cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, endometriosis, dyspareunia, pudendal neuralgia, bowel and urinary incontinence, and chronic prostatitis.3-5 Symptom presentation is quite varied but often will include bowel, bladder, and sexual dysfunctions. That being said, a multidisciplinary approach is crucial to tailor treatment specific to each patient’s pathology, symptomatology, and clinical presentation.6  Many of these patients have seen a variety of gynecologists, urologists, and gastroenterologists without successful symptom mitigation and are being referred to pelvic health practitioners as a last resort. This is unfortunate, as a primary contributor to these symptoms is the neuromusculoskeletal system…and who better to treat the neuromusculoskeletal system than rehabilitative clinicians?!

Multimodal practice is key.

A well-rounded, multimodal treatment approach that is tailored to meet the patient’s specific goals is an important step in successfully treating PFD.  Patient education can be a very powerful modality, which many clinicians tend to overlook. Research suggests education may help to address central nervous system upregulation and may help to retrain the brain in how it is processing input.7,8 While it is incredibly powerful to be able to influence pain processing, it doesn't stop with education.  As clinicians, we also need to provide non-threatening, nourishing input to the tissues.

Manual therapies may help to desensitize the peripheral nervous system and surrounding soft tissues by providing neural input to alter the source of the pain and disruption.9,10 These techniques, including joint mobilization, soft tissue release, myofascial techniques, tool-assisted therapies, or any other manual approach, are likely addressing local tissue issues that may be perpetuating chronic pain or tissue dysfunction.

Dry needling is another effective and efficient technique that pelvic health practitioners can utilize to modulate the central nervous system, peripheral nervous systems and local tissues, including the pelvic floor directly.10  Dry needling encompasses the insertion of solid filament, non-injectate needles into, alongside or around muscles, nerves or connective tissues with or without mechanical and/or electrical stimulation for the management of pain and dysfunction in neuromusculoskeletal conditions.

While the detailed mechanisms of dry needling are not well known, we have seen more and more evidence that has provided us with an understanding on how to best utilize this technique in our clinical practice. Overall, it is thought that dry needling may address hypersensitive neural structures and spinal segments5, enhance treatment of myofascial pain and trigger points in the pelvic floor and surrounding musculature, and assist in the facilitation and/or inhibition of abnormal muscle tone and motor recruitment patterns.10-23 Dry needling has the ability to assist in addressing bladder, bowel, and sexual dysfunction alongside addressing pain syndromes in our patient population that is impacted by PFD.

Dry needling is one of the most effective tools we have as rehabilitative practitioners to reset dysfunctional tissue, providing effective and efficient functional changes for our patients.  Ultimately, we are able to facilitate a more balanced resting tone, healthy motor recruitment patterns, and optimal neuromuscular utility to re-establish ideal function in our patients. The power of the tissue reset that dry needling provides has changed my clinical outcomes for the better and has also positively impacted and changed the lives of many of my clients. Want to add this tool to your clinical practice? Check out our course offerings with Herman & Wallace:


References:

  1. Hallock JK. The epidemiology of pelvic floor disorders and childbirth: an update. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2016 March;43(1):1-13
  1. Messelink et al. Standardization of Terminology of Pelvic Floor Muscle Function and Dysfunction: Report from the Pelvic Floor Clinical Assessment Group of the International Continence Society. Neurology and Urodynamics. 2005;24:374-380
  1. Anderson R, Sawyer T, Wise D, Morey A and Nathanson B. Painful Myofascial Trigger Points and Pain Sites in Men with Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. The Journal of Urology. 2009;182:2753-2758
  1. Hahn L. Chronic Pelvic Pain in Women. Lakartidningen. 2001;98:1780-5
  1. Kotarinos R. Myofascial Pelvic Pain. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2012;16:433.438
  1. Srinivasan A, Kaye J, Moldwin R. Myofascial Dysfunction Associated with Chronic Pelvic Floor Pain: Management Strategies. Current Pain and Headache Reports. 2007;11:359-364
  1. Moseley G. Widespread Brain Activity During An Abdominal Task Markedly Reduced After Pain Physiology Eduction: fMRI Evaluation of a Single Patient with Chronic Low Back Pain. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy. 2005;51(1):49-52
  1. Moseley G. A Pain Neuromatrix Approach to Patients with Chronic Pain. Manual Therapy. Aug 2003;8(3):130-140
  1. Baron et al. Peripheral Input and Its Importance for Central Sensitization. Ann Neurol. 2013;74(5):630-6
  2. Chou L, Kao M, Lin J. Probably Mechanisms of Needling Therapies for Myofascial Pain Control. Evidence-Based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. 2012;11
  1. Chen J, Chen S, Kuan T, et al. Phentolamine Effect on the Spontaneous Electrical Activity of Active Loci in a Myofascial Trigger Spot of Rabbit Skeletal Muscle. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 1998;79(7):790-4
  1. Cummings T and White A. Needling Therapies in the Management of Myofascial Trigger Point Pain: A Systematic Review. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2001;82(7):986-992
  1. Gerber L, Shah J, Rosenberger W et al. Dry Needling Alters Triggers Points in the Upper Trapezius Muscle and Reduces Pain in Subjects with Chronic Myofascial Pain. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2015;7(7):711-718
  1. Gunn C, Milbrandt W, Little A et al. Dry Needling of Muscle Motor Points for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial with Long-Term Follow-Up. Spine. 1980;5(3):279-291
  1. Hsieh Y et al. Dry Needling to a Key Myofascial Trigger Point May Reduce Irritability of Satellite MTrPs. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2007;86(5):397-403
  1. Lewit K. The Needle Effect in the Relief of Myofascial Pain. Pain. 1979;6(1):83-90
  1. Shah J. Uncovering the Biochemical Milieu of Myofascial Trigger Points Using In Vivo Microdialysis. Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain. 2008;16(1-2):17-20
  1. Shah J, Danoff J, Desai M et al. Biochemicals Associated with Pain and Inflammation are Elevated in Sites Near to and Remote from Active Myofascial Trigger Points. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2008;89(1):16-23
  1. Sterling M, Valentin S, Vicenzino B, et al. Dry Needling and Exercise for Chronic Whiplash - A Randomized Controlled Trial. BMC Musculskeletal Disorders. 2009;10:160
  1. Tough E, White A, Cummings T, et al. Acupuncture and Dry Needling in the Management of Myofascial Trigger Point Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. European Journal of Pain. 2009;13(1):3-10
  1. Tuzun E, Gildir S, Angın E, et al. Effectiveness of Dry Needling Versus a Classical Physiotherapy Program in Patients with Chronic Low-Back Pain: A Single-Blind, Randomized, Controlled Trial. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 2017;29(9):1502-1509
  1. Hong C and Torigoe Y. Electrophysiological Characteristics of Localized Twitch Responses in Responsive Taut Bands of Rabbit Skeletal Muscle Fibers. Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain. 1994;2(2):17-43
  1. Puentedura E, Buckingham S, Morton D, et al. Immediate Changes in Resting and Contracted Thickness of Transversus Abdominis After Dry Needling of Lumbar Multifidus in Healthy Participants: A Randomized Controlled Crossover Trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 2017;40(8):615-623
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How I Went from Ortho to Pelvic Floor PT

How I Went from Ortho to Pelvic Floor PT

Sarah Clampett, PT, DPT, is Head of Clinical Operations at Origin, a leading provider of pelvic floor and whole-body physical therapy with a special focus on pregnancy and postpartum. After studying Kinesiology and Psychology at the University of California, Sarah stayed on to earn her Doctorate of Physical Therapy. As a clinical leader at Origin, she’s as passionate about helping PTs love the work they do as she is helping patients feel good in their bodies.

 

Sarah Clampett, PT, DPT

Shortly after I started physical therapy school, I realized that being a physical therapist is a fantastic conversation starter. People’s eyes tend to light up when they hear I’m a PT because almost everyone has had an experience with physical therapy — and even if they haven’t, they’ve had an injury. They want to tell me about the physical therapy they did in high school for their scoliosis or that time they tore their ACL skiing. They even seek advice for that pesky low back pain that hasn’t fully resolved since throwing their back out six months ago. 

I love to hear people’s stories and genuinely enjoy engaging in casual conversations about injuries. When I’m done explaining that core strength is important when dealing with back pain, I go on to say that while I started my career in ortho, I’m now a pelvic floor PT. That’s when one of two things happens: 1) They stare at me blankly, then quickly change the subject, or 2) Their eyes light up even brighter and they start asking questions. That’s when the conversation gets really fun. “What exactly do you do?” “What do you treat?” and “How did you get into that?”

Where My Passion for Ortho Started
I decided to go to PT school for a couple of reasons. I’ve always loved sports and consider sports a large part of my upbringing. (Fun fact: I only listened to AM sports radio until I was about 13). And, like many PTs, I discovered physical therapy as a patient. In my case, it was after injuring myself in high school playing volleyball.

I loved going to PT, not only because I was getting better — I loved seeing all the other patients getting better around me. It was a very sports-oriented PT clinic and my first and only experience with PT, so when I declared Kinesiology as my major and started my pre-PT coursework in college, I had my heart set on being a sports/ortho PT. It felt like the perfect fit at the time. I was a student athletic trainer for 2.5 years in college to learn as much as I could about the sports rehab world before heading into PT school.

Fast forward to my final semester and clinical rotation at PT school: I was at an ortho clinic with a large population of athletes. I loved it. After I graduated, I was hired as a PT at that same clinic and started my career as a working PT. I began working a few days a week to build my caseload with the plan to transition to full-time as my schedule filled. That clinic happened to also own a women’s health clinic that treated primarily prenatal and postpartum patients. A few weeks after starting, I was asked if I wanted to work additional days by filling in at the women’s health clinic. As a new grad who needed to pay rent, I said yes because more days meant more money. It was supposed to be temporary.

My Journey to Becoming a Pelvic Floor PT
As soon as I walked into the women’s health clinic, something clicked. I fell in love with the patient population and helping them feel better. I remember early on, a patient with such severe pelvic pain that they could barely walk to the bathroom. At their next visit, they said they could walk without pain again. The ability to help people going through pregnancy and postpartum felt especially meaningful. I spent a year and a half working in both clinics and then transitioned to treating women’s health full time.

After working in women’s health for a couple of years, I eventually got tired of referring my patients with pelvic floor conditions to colleagues who treated pelvic floor and decided it was time to start treating it myself. To be honest, I was hesitant at first and definitely nervous about taking my first course. But as soon as I started treating the pelvic floor, something clicked again.

Even more so than in the past, I connected deeply with my patients and their goals. Giving someone the confidence to leave the house without wearing a maxi-pad or carrying extra underwear because they’re no longer worried about leaking was amazing. So many people suffer in silence from pelvic floor disorders and are resolved to just live with them. I’m lucky enough to provide a safe space to talk about it and assure them that it can get better. How cool is that?  

Advice for an Ortho PT Curious About Pelvic floor
Take a course! Just because you take the course does not mean you are committing to a career change. Even if you decide it’s not the right time to switch or you didn’t enjoy it as much as you thought you would, you’ll still learn valuable information that you can immediately incorporate into your practice. That overworked, stressed patient with lingering hip pain might need pelvic floor lengthening to get that last bit of pain to resolve.

Most ortho PTs who make the shift are nervous they won’t be able to use their ortho skills when treating the pelvic floor, and that simply isn’t true. My time in ortho has definitely shaped the pelvic floor PT I am today.

In ortho, you treat the whole body. If your foot hurts, you look at the knee, the hip, the low back, and how everything works together to figure out what’s causing the foot pain. Pelvic floor PT is no different. You must look at the whole body and figure out how all the parts are working together to get the results you need. I continue to use many of the same exercises now that I used back when I was working as an ortho PT.

Lastly, the pelvic floor is a group of muscles. If it’s weak, it needs to strengthen. If it’s overactive, it needs to lengthen. If it’s uncoordinated, it needs to be retrained. Yes, treating pelvic floor dysfunction requires special training, but at the end of the day, muscles are muscles.

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Six Actionable Ways to Be a Better LGBTQIA2S+ Ally

Six Actionable Ways to Be a Better LGBTQIA2S+ Ally

LGBTQIA

 

This article was originally posted on the Medbridge Blog site: https://www.medbridgeeducation.com/blog/2021/11/six-actionable-ways-to-be-a-better-lgbtq-ally/.

Brianna Durand, PT, DPT earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy at Texas Woman’s University in Houston, TX. During graduate school, she led and co-founded PT Proud, a Catalyst Group within the Health Policy and Administration Section of the APTA, to improve the education, equity, and inclusion of LGBTQ+ patients, students, and clinicians. Brianna owns and operates Empower Physiotherapy, a private practice in Seattle. As a competitive powerlifter, Brianna enjoys working with strength athletes who experience pelvic floor dysfunction, especially stress incontinence. She is passionate about providing care to individuals in the LGBTQ+ community, including those undergoing hormonal/surgical transition. Brianna's additional clinical interests include prenatal/postpartum care for trans and gender-nonconforming folx and pelvic floor care for patients that are intersex. Brianna curated and teaches LGBTQ+ cultural competency for practitioners in her course - Inclusive Care for Gender and Sexual Minorities.

 

LGBTQIA2S+. Does it seem like that acronym is ever-growing? That’s because it is!

As our society evolves, more people are feeling safe and comfortable to live as their authentic selves, and every day there is more evidence to support that.

According to Gallup polls, the percentage of people in the U.S. that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender has increased to 5.6 percent.3 That is three times the entire population of Colorado! These numbers are even higher amongst younger generations—up to 20 percent in Gen Z and millennials by some estimates. In 2019, nearly 80 percent of surveyed Americans state that they personally know someone who identifies as LGBTQIA2S+ or queer.2 And while the word “queer” has a nasty history as a derogatory slur, it is increasingly used by folks in the LGBTQIA2S+ community to describe those who do not identify as cisgender or heterosexual.

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What Is the Importance of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity in Healthcare?

Recent years have provided a groundswell of awareness building around this community—from representation in entertainment, discussion about participation in athletics, and changes occurring at the legislative level. However, one area of society in which awareness is still lacking is in modern-day medicine, so let’s explore the significance of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) as it pertains to healthcare.

As a medical professional, you may wonder “Can’t I simply treat all people the same?” While this idea may be filled with good intentions, the unfortunate reality is that we do not yet have access to this utopian future. There are real, measurable differences in the health of all marginalized communities, including gender and sexual minorities (GSM).

In 2020, 1 in 10 LGBTQIA2S+ Americans faced some form of mistreatment from a healthcare professional.1 These negative experiences strongly correlate with postponing or altogether avoiding medical care in the future, further contributing to the collective LGBTQIA2S+ fear of discrimination. The statistics are even worse when specifically looking at queer and trans people of color.

 Image 2 Ally article

What Can You Do as a Healthcare Provider?

While the system and the education that trains our clinicians could benefit from a renovation, here are six actionable steps you can take now to facilitate a safer space for your LGBTQIA2S+ patients:

1. Recognize your own potential to cause harm.

As healthcare professionals, we have some degree of inherent privilege. With this privilege comes the capacity to inflict harm, intentional or not. While intentions matter, they do not supersede the impact your words or actions have on another. Assumptions matter, too. While assumption making is common and normal—an evolutionarily advantageous adaptation of the brain—they are not facts, and they are not harmless. Erroneous assumptions about a person’s gender or sexual identity by a medical professional can lead to behaviors that cause discomfort in and discrimination towards LGBTQIA2S+ patients and clients, even if inadvertently.

By recognizing the power differential that exists in the patient/provider relationship and the implications that come with it, we are likely to be more aware of our words and actions when they come up, and more willing to address them when they do. And by taking a position of genuine care and curiosity rather than assumption, we can affirm the relationship between the person whom we are helping and their body.

2. Update your language.

Always use the correct pronouns and name of the person with whom you are working. One easy way to do this is simply by mirroring the language they use when describing themself. However, if you are meeting someone for the first time, you may unintentionally use language that is not in line with your patient or client’s identity. For example, you may use someone’s dead name (the name assigned to them at birth) which may still be listed on their legal and medical documentation.

You can preempt this kind of unintentional harm by including areas for clarification on intake paperwork. This will allow you the opportunity to affirm the pronouns of the person in your care upon your first interaction. While pronoun affirmation may seem like a small action, it has shown to be effective in reducing suicidal ideation and depression.4 Another way to update your language for greater inclusivity is by using the term “spouse” or “partner” when inquiring if a patient has someone at home that can help with their activities of daily living or rehabilitation. Additionally, when referring to pregnancy, birthing, and postpartum care, practice saying “pregnant person” or “birthing parent” rather than “pregnant woman” or “mother.”

3. Speak up….even if the LGBTQIA2S+ person or target of the harm isn’t present.

Shaming someone’s behavior is unlikely to result in positive change or self-reflection. Instead, we can follow the steps of stopping, educating, and being proactive to foster learning in our colleagues. This kind of dialogue offers the opportunity for the individual to participate in the discussion by learning about their behavior, rather than feeling pushed out of the conversation which could limit their chance to grow.

  • First, STOP the discussion or action taking place by intervening with “Those words can be hurtful.”
  • Next, EDUCATE in lieu of asserting judgment. Proceed from a lens of curiosity. Asking the person “Do you know what those words mean?” or genuinely inquiring about their intention and understanding. Doing this will facilitate conversation and enhance one’s knowledge of their damaging actions, reducing the chance that they will repeat the harmful behavior.
  • Finally, BE PROACTIVE by following up with resources for further learning such as GLMAWPATH, or The Fenway Institute.

It is important to note the significance of taking this action even if the LGBTQIA2S+ person was not present for the encounter. This breaks the notion that harmful language is acceptable so long as the subject of the harm is not privy to it. If the LGBTQIA2S+ person is present for the encounter, it is best to first pull them aside to check in with them, make sure they are alright, and ask if they want your help. Some folks prefer to avoid drawing attention to themselves. It is also a skill of allyship to know when not to talk.

4. Be receptive to feedback.

When an LGBTQIA2S+ person, or a person from any marginalized group for that matter, corrects your language or behavior, practice saying “thank you” rather than “sorry” and avoid explaining yourself. It is a privilege to learn about oppression rather than to experience it for yourself. When someone corrects you, not only are they bravely honoring their authentic identities, but they are doing emotional labor on your behalf, and in the age of freely available information, it is never the responsibility of marginalized folks to educate others for free. These interactions are opportunities for personal growth—don’t let them pass you by!

5. Suggest practical changes to make the workplace more inclusive.

Does your workplace have gender-neutral bathrooms? Many LGBTQIA2S+, queer, and trans people avoid using public restrooms to avoid harassment and violence. Such aggressions can have very tangible consequences to their physical health, such as pelvic floor dysfunction. If there aren’t any inclusive restrooms in your workplace, make a suggestion to change that.

How inclusive are the brochures in your waiting room? Do the patient education materials that you provide to a patient after evaluation use language and imagery that include the LGBTQIA2S+ community? These are areas that can be improved upon with the suggested language updates we discussed above in action step two.

Are there symbols or graphics that will welcome GSM, such as safe space signs, flags depicting an upside-down rainbow triangle, or “all-gender” verbiage in lieu of gender-specific? Both would make easy additions that signal to patients they are in an inclusive space. However, it is important to distinguish the difference between saying a space is safe, and actually making a space safe. A space can only be safe if the entire team of providers and office staff are on board. Labeling a space as safe when it is not has the propensity to cause further harm. Be sure before these indicators are put up in your practice, everyone is ready to support such efforts.

6. Be prepared to mess up—but don’t let that deter you from trying.

Any etymologist will tell you that languages are living things that are constantly evolving. Developments such as these can make it challenging to stay current on which terminology is most beneficial to our growing society. Sometimes just the fear of making a mistake can be intimidating enough to discourage people from trying. What is most important is not how well you use updated language but that you are trying. Your effort matters, and it is what will move the needle in the right direction. Cultural responsiveness is not knowing every nuanced detail of every demographic group. Cultural responsiveness is being willing to reflect and modify your viewpoints when presented with information that differs from what you previously held to be true. Try to accept that just with learning any new skill, mistakes are bound to happen. When they do be prepared to learn, and then move forward with that new knowledge in mind.

Image 3 Ally article


References:

  1. Cusick Director, J., Seeberger Director, C., Woodcome, T., Oduyeru Manager, L., Gordon Director, P., Shepherd, M., Parshall, J., Santos, T., Medina, C., Gruberg, S., Mahowald, L., Bleiweis, R., Graves-Fitzsimmons, G., & Zhavoronkova, M. (2021, November 7). The State of the LGBTQ Community in 2020. Center for American Progress. Retrieved November 23, 2021, from https://www.americanprogress.org/article/state-lgbtq-community-2020/.
  2. Ellis, S. K. (2019). GLAAD Accelerating Acceptance 2019 Executive Summary. GLAAD.
  3. Jones, J. M. (2021, November 20). LGBT identification rises to 5.6% in latest U.S. estimate. Gallup.com. Retrieved November 23, 2021, from https://news.gallup.com/poll/329708/lgbt-identification-rises-latest-estimate.aspx.
  4. Russell, S. T., Pollitt, A. M., Li, G., & Grossman, A. H. (2018). Chosen name use is linked to reduced depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, and suicidal behavior among transgender youth. Journal of Adolescent Health63(4), 503–505. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2018.02.003

Additional resources:


 

Inclusive Care for Gender and Sexual Minorities

with instructor Brianna Durand, PT, DPT

When it feels overwhelming and nuanced, it can be tempting to avoid uncomfortable topics altogether. However, attendees for this course can expect to be gently guided into the sometimes confusing realm of gender and sexual orientation, and identity. This course will provide a safe space to ask all the questions about caring for LGBTQ+ patients and practicing the skills needed to help advance your practice. Although this course will cover pelvic floor physical therapy specifically, it is appropriate and useful for any medical professional as we all have patients in the LGBTQ+ community.

June 4-5

August 27-28

November 5-6

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