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Herman & Wallace Blog

The OT's Path to Pelvic Rehab

Tiffany Ellsworth Lee MA, OTR, BCB-PMD joined the Herman & Wallace faculty to teach a course on biofeedback along with Jane Kaufman, PT, M.Ed, BCB-PMD. The month of April is Occupational Therapy month, and we are celebrating by highlighting the role that Occupational Therapists play in pelvic floor rehabilitation. Tiffany founded a biofeedback program at Central Texas Medical Center in San Marcos in 2004, and currently runs her a pelvic rehab private practice .

Working in this area of biofeedback is extremely rewarding and fulfilling to help change peoples’ lives. I have a private practice now exclusively dedicated to treating patients with pelvic floor dysfunction. I became involved in working with patients with incontinence and pelvic floor disorders because of many opportunities along my career path. I have been an Occupational Therapist since 1994. Both of my parents are also OTs, so I think I was born to do this!

Erica Vitek, MOT, OTR, BCB-PMD, PRPC wrote a blog recently about the role of OTs in pelvic health. She writes:

“As we look closer at the framework and the definition of OT (Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process, 3rd edition 2014), there is clear evidence that the occupational therapist (OT) has a role in the treatment of pelvic health conditions. Importantly, occupations are defined by this document as ‘…various kinds of life activities in which individuals, groups, or populations engage, including activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), rest and sleep, education, work, play, leisure, and social participation.”

The clearest examples of the OT’s role in pelvic health occupations within this section include:

  1. ADL section: toileting and hygiene (continence needs, intentional control of bowel movements and urination) and sexual activity.
  2. IADLs section: sleep participation (sustaining sleep without disruption, performing nighttime care of toileting needs).
  3. Achieving full participation in work, play, leisure, and social activities, requires one to be able to maintain continence in a socially acceptable manner in which they can feel confident and comfortable to fulfill their roles and duties.

"We believe that the great patient need that exists can be better served by having trained OTs able to treat pelvic health conditions"

How to get started as an OT

Occupational therapists wishing to pursue pelvic floor have a few options. The first thing is to find a pelvic floor clinical setting or work with their respective settings to check to see if they can start a women's health program with a strong focus on pelvic floor. OTs quite often do not start out in pelvic health directly after school and since this is a newer area as compared to other certifications such as the NDT and PNF it takes a little bit of research, time and effort to find one’s exact niche. To get started, an OT should seek out courses that teach the basics of bladder and bowel management. It is important to understand the anatomy and physiology of the bladder, bowel, and sexual systems.

Incontinence and pelvic floor disorders have a profound impact on occupation, the daily activities that give life meaning! OTs should have a larger role in treating this patient population. Offering hope to our patients is imperative when he/she is dealing with pelvic floor dysfunction!

Keep an eye out for an upcoming post from Tiffany with some inspiring clinical case studies. You can join Tiffany and Jane Kaufman in Biofeedback for Pelvic Muscle Dysfunction to get lots of hands-on time with surface eletromyography, and to work toward BCIA certification!

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Upcoming Continuing Education Courses

Pregnancy Rehabilitation - Remote Course (SOLD OUT)

Jan 23, 2021 - Jan 24, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Yoga for Pelvic Pain - Remote Course

Jan 23, 2021 - Jan 24, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Self-Hosted\ (SOLD OUT)

Jan 23, 2021 - Jan 24, 2021
Location: Self-Hosted Course

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Portland, OR Satellite Location

Jan 23, 2021 - Jan 24, 2021
Location: Benchmark Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Truckee, CA Satellite Location- RESCHEDULED

Jan 23, 2021 - Jan 24, 2021
Location: Tahoe Forest Center for Health and Sports Performance / Alliance Therapy Partners

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Freehold, NJ Satellite Location

Jan 23, 2021 - Jan 24, 2021
Location: Atlantic PT Center

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Somerset, NJ Satellite Location

Jan 23, 2021 - Jan 24, 2021
Location: Sports Medicine Institute

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - New York, NY Satellite Location

Jan 23, 2021 - Jan 24, 2021
Location: 5 Point Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Phoenix, AZ Satellite Location

Jan 23, 2021 - Jan 24, 2021
Location: Spooner Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - Richmond, VA Satellite Location

Jan 23, 2021 - Jan 24, 2021
Location: Pivot Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 2A - St George, UT Satellite Location

Jan 23, 2021 - Jan 24, 2021
Location: Unity Health & Wellness Llc

Nutrition Perspectives for the Pelvic Rehab Therapist - Remote Course

Jan 29, 2021 - Jan 30, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Postpartum Rehabilitation - Remote Course (SOLD OUT)

Jan 30, 2021 - Jan 31, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Satellite Lab Course

Jan 30, 2021 - Jan 31, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Oklahoma City, OK Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Jan 30, 2021 - Jan 31, 2021
Location: Oklahoma Physical Therapy

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Greenville, SC Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Jan 30, 2021 - Jan 31, 2021
Location: Restore Pelvic Health and Wellness

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Doylestown, PA Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Jan 30, 2021 - Jan 31, 2021
Location: Central Bucks Physical Therapy LLC

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Annapolis, MD Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Jan 30, 2021 - Jan 31, 2021
Location: Encompass PT

Oncology of the Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Remote Course

Jan 30, 2021 - Jan 31, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Marietta, GA Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Jan 30, 2021 - Jan 31, 2021
Location: Southern Pelvic Health

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Torrance, CA Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Jan 30, 2021 - Jan 31, 2021
Location: Women's Advantage Inc

Lumbar Nerve Manual Assessment and Treatment - Remote Course

Jan 30, 2021 - Jan 31, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

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

Jan 30, 2021 - Jan 31, 2021
Location: PT of the City

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Self-Hosted

Jan 30, 2021 - Jan 31, 2021
Location: Self-Hosted Course

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - New Orleans, LA Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Jan 30, 2021 - Jan 31, 2021
Location: Ochsner Therapy and Wellness/Ochsner Health System

Pelvic Floor Level 1 - Metairie, LA Satellite Location (SOLD OUT)

Jan 30, 2021 - Jan 31, 2021
Location: East Jefferson General Hospital

Sexual Medicine in Pelvic Rehab - Remote Course

Feb 6, 2021 - Feb 7, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Osteoporosis Management - Remote Course

Feb 6, 2021 - Feb 7, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course

Manual Therapy for the Abdominal Wall - Remote Course

Feb 7, 2021
Location: Short Form Remote Course

Pregnancy Rehabilitation - Remote Course (SOLD OUT)

Feb 20, 2021 - Feb 21, 2021
Location: Replacement Remote Course