Megan Pribyl, PT, CMPT is a practicing physical therapist at the Olathe Medical Center in Olathe, KS treating a diverse outpatient population in orthopedics including pelvic rehabilitation. Megan’s longstanding passion for both nutritional sciences and manual therapy has culminated in the creation of her remote course, Nutrition Perspectives for the Pelvic Rehab Therapist, designed to propel understanding of human physiology as it relates to pelvic conditions, pain, healing, and therapeutic response. She harnesses her passion to continually update this course with cutting-edge discoveries creating a unique experience sure to elevate your level of appreciation for the complex and fascinating nature of clinical presentations in orthopedic manual therapy and pelvic rehabilitation.
It has been nearly 8 years since I taught my first in-person rendition of “Nutrition Perspectives for the Pelvic Rehab Therapist” in Seattle, WA through Herman & Wallace – and over a decade since I began writing the course in earnest. Creating and teaching this course has been an honor for me and truly a full-circle opportunity to share my passion for nutrition with other clinicians. The mission of the course is to create a ripple effect from one person to the next. But if there’s anything the last couple of years has taught me, it’s that we still have a long way to travel to reach the destination of fully integrated care centered on the whole person. As a guide, I tap the growing body of literature on nutrition and health to help show us the way.
I recall having taught this course on 11 occasions in-person between June 2015 and October 2019 at gracious site host clinics nationwide. I enjoyed each and every one of these experiences. Since the 2020 pivot to remote format, I have taught Nutrition Perspectives via Zoom 18 times - after we were faced with restrictions on traveling and gathering.
Having taught Nutrition Perspectives in both formats, I’d like to share with you first why I love teaching this course, and second why I love teaching it in its remote format. It truly is a class perfectly suited to this mode of delivery.
First, why I love teaching this course:
It is my passion to share nutrition information with peers in pelvic rehab. Before becoming a PT, I studied nutrition as an undergrad. After becoming a PT, and more specifically a pelvic PT, it became crystal clear that we needed to incorporate the essence of nutritional sciences into pelvic rehab– and even into general clinical practice. Nutrition Perspectives became my answer to the burning and urgent questions I had about how we could blend the worlds of rehabilitation and nutrition. I scoured the literature to find answers – and what I found was astonishing. Paradigm shifting. Compelling.
Early in my career, I would only sporadically encounter patients who would experience what I would now describe as “functional gastro-intestinal disorders with extra-intestinal manifestations”. Fast-forwarding to today, it is rare to see a patient who does not experience any conditions such as GERD, constipation, gas/abdominal pain/bloating/discomfort, anxiety, depression, and complex or chronic pain conditions. Because of this reality, it has become essential for healthcare providers to have a basic working knowledge of functional nutrition. Especially providers in pelvic rehabilitation. Having a working knowledge of these conditions and potential nutritional underpinnings can help us better understand and serve our clients.
Not only does nutrition have significant relevance to our patients – it is relevant to each of us as human beings! But be aware – the realm of nutrition appears chock-full of confusing contradictions. And our patients are now – more than ever – asking us for our thoughts on nutrition-related topics. They’re listening to podcasts. They’re reading social media posts and blogs. They’re watching short video clips to find quick answers to complex questions. And they want to run some of their questions by you – their trusted health professional ally. You want to feel confident and competent in what you’re sharing. My mission is to make evidence-informed information accessible and relevant to you, the practicing clinician so then you can, in turn, share with confidence and competence.
Now, on to why I love teaching this course remotely:
Don’t get me wrong – I love to travel. But imagine traveling alone to new cities -not as a free-spirited adventure solo traveler – but instead as an idealistic instructor who doesn’t want to be without any supplies needed for teaching a course far from home! This translates to a very heavy suitcase filled with visual aids and lab supplies. This humongous check-in bag contains items necessary to conduct the course descriptively – books, empty product containers, glass jars (yes, GLASS), carefully packaged kefir grains, a SCOBY, bowls, spoons, kitchen towels, and those hard-to-find food items that one can’t be certain to find in an unfamiliar city. And a tablecloth. Because when we’re talking about food with guests, presentation is important!
Now imagine navigating travel challenges with said heavy, giant suitcase; chucking it on and off a rental car bus during a cold rainstorm for example.. Imagine pushing it down a carpeted hotel hallway that is so plush, it prohibits the wheels from functioning properly. Imagine repacking in 15 minutes what took 3 hours to initially pack in order to catch a return flight home.
This was the reality of logistics I eagerly and enthusiastically took on to be able to teach this class. But that giant suitcase couldn’t hold even close to everything I wanted to share, and it actually was a bit cumbersome to manage. Maybe a lot cumbersome. Always plastered with the bright orange “HEAVY” sticker warning – there was a limit to what I could bring along to live course events.
When we first transitioned this course to remote format, it was a quick response to begin offering CEUs when lockdown mode began. The silver lining, we discovered, was that the remote format for this course was in fact – much better than the live event format.
Now, all the necessary supplies are right where I need them to best instruct. Plus, predictable kitchen and lecture spaces create a seamless experience for the participants. Teaching from home has been life-changing as an instructor. I can practice what I preach about nourishing the nervous system and mitigating stress with lifestyle choices. It is nourishing to be able to sleep well at home the nights before I teach. Adequate rest is a superpower that allows me to give my best well-rested self to the participants.
The remote format is not just nourishing to me, but also to the participants who can attend from the comfort of home or familiarity of a clinic. Wherever you are, you can take the course. No airports, no suitcases, nor carpeted hotel hallways. That’s accessibility. That’s getting this information into the hands and minds of providers in locations all around this country and beyond. We need this accessibility if we ever hope to reach our destination of fully integrative care of the whole person – for all.
For these reasons, Nutrition Perspectives for the Pelvic Rehab Therapist will remain in this remote format – even as our lives begin to involve travel and in-person events again. All good things. But I do hope you enjoy taking Nutrition Perspectives as much as I enjoy teaching it. I invite you to join me on the journey toward implementing more integrative care as standard practice. It’s not always an easy road, nor the popular road. And sometimes it feels as hard as dragging a giant, heavy suitcase behind you. But it’s a path worth taking – one that will be fruitful for both you and the clients you serve. Let’s travel it together.
Nutrition Perspectives for the Pelvic Rehab Therapist will be offered quarterly in 2023: January 21-22, June 10-11, September 16-17, and December 2-3.
Nutrition Perspectives for the Pelvic Rehab Therapist
Experience Level: Beginner
Contact Hours: 17.75
Description: Participants will be introduced to the latest research in nutrition through immersive lectures and hands-on labs. The course will cover essential digestion concepts, nourishment strategies, and the interconnected nature of physical and emotional health across the lifespan. Further, clinicians will delve into nutritional relevancies in bowel and bladder dysfunction, pelvic health, pain, and healing. Labs throughout include insightful demonstrations and breakout sessions. The course participant will acquire new, readily applicable tools for patient empowerment, engagement, and self-management utilizing presented principles.