Today we are honored to present our featured Certified Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Jessica Dorrington, PT, MPT, OCS, PRPC, CMPT, CSCS! Jessica was kind enough to answer a few questions about her role in pelvic rehab.
Describe your clinical practice:
Our clinic practice is an outpatient orthopedic private practice. We are committed to making individual results accessible through compassionate therapeutic care. Our practice spans treating men, women and children through a realm of urologic, gynecologic, obstetric, and colorectal conditions- as well as orthopedic conditions.
How did you get involved in the pelvic rehabilitation field?
Initially, I was an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist. Within the first few months of my career, the clinic I was working at needed someone to just “teach Kegel exercises”. When I realized the impact that you could have on someone’s life, I was immediately drawn to the pelvic rehabilitation field. I saw getting someone even 75 percent improvement was a whole different success than getting a shoulder patient 75 percent better that could now throw their ball to their dog. It was restoring relationships, saving marriages, and giving women the freedom to go do things they could not do before.
What/who inspired you to become involved in pelvic rehabilitation?
My patients inspire me every day. I initially started treating incontinence patients and then gradually added chronic pain patients to my case load. Each patient that achieved such success with pelvic rehabilitation inspired me to wanting to learn more and reach out to more patient’s in need of physical therapy. This led me into treating men and children with pelvic rehabilitation issues. My favorite story that initially started me on my career path was a 95 year old women who came to me for low back pain. I asked her if she had any incontinence. After 4 visits, she removed a pessary (that she had for the past 55 years-since the birth of her last child) and was painfree and fully continent!
What patient population do you find most rewarding in treating and why?
My favorite patients are those that have seen every specialist and have complex histories. Being able to really listen to their story and give them answers in a health care setting that has not found a solution to their condition is such a wonderful experience. Our professional affords us such a great opportunity to really get to know these patients, dive deep into their history and put the puzzle pieces together for them in a way most professions do not have time for in our current medical model.
If you could get a message out to physical therapists about pelvic rehabilitation what would it be?
As I have grown as a practitioner over the years, the biggest message I have is to really listen to each story. Even a simple SI joint dysfunction patient or a seemingly straight forward stress incontinence patient can have subjective and objective information that really points to the root of the issue. We can really serve these patients the best and premier care if we are up to date on our dermatologic, hormonal influences, musculoskeletal system, and are strong orthopedic clinicians.
What has been your favorite Herman & Wallace Course and why?
Michelle Lyons Athlete and the Pelvic Floor course was wonderful. Michelle is a gifted facilitator of education, has so many pearls of valuable resources and tidbits. She also does a wonderful job combining the orthopedic and pelvic floor world together.
What lesson have you learned from a Herman & Wallace instructor that has stayed with you?
Holly has been truly inspirational to me as she is so passionate about her career and passionate about our profession. Her education on hormones really helps me to sort out for patients when I feel there is a hormonal influence.
What do you find is the most useful resource for your practice?
A pelvic model and Adrian Louw’s Explanation of Pain/Neuroscience education has been such a great resource. For most pelvic pain patient’s there is some sort of sensitive nervous system overlie and the way he educates patients has been lifechanging. The other strong resource has been motivational interviewing education. This allows to really guide these patients in a way that assesses their readiness and motivation for change. The other resource is using the rehabilitative ultrasound imaging. Jackie Whittaker has been such a wonderful mentor to me and this resource has revolutionized the way that I treat diastasis patients, local stabilization, and men and pediatric populations.
What motivated you to earn PRPC?
I am doing more speaking engagements to other medical providers and am doing a lot of mentorship. Being in these roles, I feel having credentials to back the clinical experience is really valuable.
What makes you the most proud to have earned PRPC?
I took the exam without studying, largely because I wanted to see if my skills and knowledge was antiquated (being I have been doing pelvic floor therapy x 14 years). I found the test to be really fun and challenging in an exciting way. The case studies were true examples of the complex patients we treat and so I enjoyed the process.
What advice would you give to physical therapists interested in earning PRPC?
My advice would be to really do some great critical reasoning around your current patients. We learn best by our patients and doing a practice of critically thinking and differential diagnosis around your current patients will give a platform for this. I recalled treating several patients during the examination and could picture very similar patient presentations. The other piece I would recommend is reviewing your anatomy and pharmacology.
What is in store for you in the future?
I am continually blessed to be able to lead a wonderful team of therapists at our outpatient private practice. We are launching a labor and delivery program and post-partum evaluations. Educating the medical community at large has been a focus of mine and I would like to continue to do so to get the word out about pelvic floor PT. I have been asked to speak at the United Nations next Spring and will be presenting about Pelvic Floor in relation to Motherhood Maternity. Mentorship to pelvic floor therapists and students also continues to be a focus.
What role do you see pelvic health playing in general well-being?
I strongly feel pelvic health therapists could play a role in every orthopedic patient’s care. We have so many tools to really evaluate patients from a full body spectrum and have the ability to address any lumbopelvic condition with true depth. Having this vital information about their bodies can really empower all individuals to return to what they love to do in an active healthy lifestyle!