The three main topics readers email me about is 1) pelvic alignment corrections 2) finding a therapist and 3) how to communicate with their therapist.
Well, guess what? I’m going to write about two of these.
Finding a therapist is hard. Finding the right therapist for you is even harder. Physical therapists are a dime a dozen. We are everywhere. We are in big cities, small towns, on boats, in running groups, on planes and under rocks. Our schooling is different, our mentors are different, our philosophies are different and our drive is different. This makes for great therapists and shitty therapists.
But then, you dive deeper and need to find a physical therapist that is super niche. The elusive pelvic floor physical therapist. You think you have found one, but alas! he or she only treats a pelvic floor patient once every three months. Are they appropriate for you when you are struggling with pain? Then you search harder and find a true pelvic floor physical therapist about a 45 minute drive away. You figure out how you are going to drive out there or you get someone to drive you there while you lie in the back seat and then you get a call that this therapist, this one therapist that knows how to treat your specific issue – has moved. Out of state.
What do you do in this situation?
You ask around.
Call legit pelvic floor physical therapists that work in specialty pelvic floor physical therapy clinics across the country. Ask them if they know of anyone appropriate for you in your area. The pelvic floor physical therapy world is small. So small. Too small. Not only that, it’s tight. I’ve revealed intimate parts of my life to some pelvic floor physical therapists whom I’ve established an online relationship with and have only met once so far! Ok, that does sound creepy. We aren’t dating. We are just friends. And, it’s more than one person. Pelvic floor physical therapists get along because as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we are weird. We love going to work doing what we do. Our family doesn’t understand why we love it. Our friends don’t understand why we love it. Only we get it. That’s a bond that can’t be broken easily. So, I’m saying we know each other. I know good therapists on both coasts and most of the states in between. And, if we don’t know someone in your area, because you live somewhere super remote, undesirable, not identified on a map, off the grid, in the ocean or in a country we are at war with…we have resources to help you find someone. Don’t despair.
If I don’t know someone in your area, after I email my sources, I end up looking through these resources:
- The International Pelvic Pain Society’s member directory. Go to www.pelvicpain.org, click on PATIENTS tab and click on Find a Provider. You’ll find people by state (and country). I love this organization, So why do I love the International Pelvic Pain Society? I love it because the conferences cover material for male and female pain. I love it because the focus is on pelvic pain. I love it because a variety of disciplines give their take on why pain occurs and how to treat it.
- The International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. Go to www.isswsh.org and click on Find a Provider. This is a good resource even if you are a man in pain because if a provider understand’s female sexual pain, then they likely understand the pelvic floor quite well. I love this organization because they get into the nitty gritty details and they are super specific. I like variety and I like specificity. I like it all.
- The American Physical Therapy Association’s Section of Women’s Health: Go to www.womenshealthapta.org and click on PT Locator at the top right side of the page. You will find physical therapists who are members of the Section of Women’s Health and you will find their self-proclaimed specialties.
My two cents: Finding a therapist that actually goes to conferences with physicians and nurses is incredibly important. This means that they are seasoned enough to want to move beyond educating themselves via only pelvic floor physical therapy classes alone. It means that they are in a place to be able to analyze a wider breadth of information that isn’t necessarily in their scope of care. It means they can talk to other providers and have a solid foundation on which to have an effective conversation.
When I go to their conferences (or any conference, really), I wear camo because I am on the attack. Anyone who has ever been attacked by me knows exactly what I’m talking about. Dr. Irwin Goldstein was attacked at IPPS years ago. I lingered awkwardly as a swarm of physicians came to shake his hand. When they left, I leapt toward him. Dr. Andrew Goldstein was accosted by me on the phone just prior to that. Dr. Lee Dellon was stormed while he waited outside of the bathroom for Dr. Jerome Weiss. Dr. Jen Gunter was charged at the end of a day while she took last minute notes on her lab top. I dawdled, then pounced! It didn’t leave much of an impression on her, I’m sure, because she is a bit of a tigress herself. I take my tough patient cases and find someone that can give me some ideas. I get their email and then I attack! attack! attack! them with more questions. I pick their brain. I do this with tons of people. I need to hear all ideas before I decide how to proceed. Through this military technique I’ve really been able to dig deeper in figuring out the why’s of patient issues and the how’s of addressing them. And on the plus side, I’ve developed wonderful professional mentors through this type of warfare.
You need to vet anyone you consider going to, regardless of what organization they are a member of. Let me tell you why. Being a member of an organization means you write a check and nothing more. Being active in an organization is different. Attending conferences is different. But writing a check is merely writing a check. It is a resume booster and it looks like you are way more knowledgeable than you might actually be. Learn how to talk to your therapist in part two.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them anonymously in the comment section below or email me at Sara@Sullivanphysicaltherapy.com If you’d like to be added to Alcove Education’s list serve, let me know!