Saturday, March 19, 2016

Physical Therapy for Women's Health - The Nebraska Medical Center

Women's Health. We steam at women that are basically in the same situation that you are and they have gotten better. So we get women on both sides who might be in their 20's and their child-bearing age and they're either experiencing pain or they're experiencing leakage and it can be very mortifying, very embarrassing. Unfortunately, in our society, we don't really talk about this region unless something's not going correct or we're having some sort of issue. And our doctors are becoming more and more enlightened as to asking various questions to help people feel more comfortable to come on it. But it's very common that our gals that are on the lower end can be quite embarrassed just coming in. I would to tell them that Kelly and I have jobs because it is such a common thing that we have both young women and older women. 

We've had women in their 80s and 90s come in and really improve their function. And have been quite pleased and didn't realize. We often hear, "Why didn't I know about this 20 years ago, or 30 years ago, when I had my kids?"So it can be quite delightful to take that woman and help her reach her own personal goal. It's important to know the diagnoses that we commonly treat, which would be urinary incontinence or fecal incontinence, pelvic pain (and that can be from various different origins), pregnancy-related pain (which can be anything from abdominal, low back, sacroiliac joint, as well as constipation). 

And I think that patients that come in to see us often times think that these things are normal part of aging or normal part of pregnancy, and Liz (whom you'll meet in a second) and myself like to tell patients that, "No, there are things that can be done to make it better."What's important to you? We want to make it so that your body and your function match your goals. We're not going to push you anywhere you don't want to go, but we also want to work very very hard so that you're happy with how your own body works. So essentially what we'll do when you come into physical therapy, is we'll collect a very detailed subjective history and figure out how often you're going to the bathroom, how much you're leaking, what it is you're consuming for your fluid, those types of things. Then we will usually do an internal muscle assessment. And that's different when you go to your physician for your normal pelvic exam. 

We are basically concerned with how your muscles are responding with a strengthening contraction and trying to figure out where they're at on a strength scale and an endurance scale. We give each person an individualized exercise program. It's easy to read in a magazine or on a website; you're supposed to squeeze this many times for this long, for this entire time and most of the time that doesn't match up to each individual patients. So they go home and they're really frustrated; "I tried that and it didn't work."But it was because it wasn't individualized to their own body. Women do really really great with therapy. I think that that, even as they're coming in, we can provide them with that encouragement to say, "We've seen that women that are basically in the same situation that you are and they have gotten better."For them, that's just basically kind of like seeing the sun rise; "Oh my goodness, I don't have to leak urine, I don't have to have back pain with pregnancy, I can have intercourse with my husband and not be in horrific pain."I think that hope is good for them.

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