Pelvic health was once an uncommon specialty in physical therapy, but that’s changing in the industry as the barriers that once existed are being broken down by innovative physical therapists.
Patients have long been neglected in this area of treatment – especially male patients! Pelvic health, to many, is known as “women’s health,” however, men have pelvises too! Pelvic floor disorders cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as urine leakage and constipation and or pain, and can lead to embarrassing and disabling limitations in daily life. Some patients are so embarrassed by these issues that they don't seek help. Many don't know that pelvic physical therapy treatments for pelvic floor disorders are highly effective and supported by evidence-based research (FYZICAL).
Additionally, getting therapists to attend training has proven challenging and for male therapists, often less welcoming. The ‘usual’ courses for pelvic health typically require therapists to examine other therapists in the other course in order to learn and this often deters both male and female therapists from attending. These barriers have prevented many therapists from providing adequate pelvic health and wellness in their communities.
Cindy Neville, Director of Pelvic Health and Wellness at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers is here to change that. Cindy has dedicated her career to pelvic health and wellness and is pioneering a better way for physical therapists (men included) to get education and training on pelvic health screening and treatment. She joined FYZICAL in August of 2017 to do just that.
“Everything I’ve done in my career thus far has been to reach this opportunity. FYZICAL is giving me the most reach. I’ve trained hundreds of therapists in pelvic health, but now I’ll be able to train so many more and help practice owners set up the programs for their businesses. It’s really exciting!” Neville says. (Listen to PT Talk Podcast with Cindy Neville here).
Neville has created more convenient continued education in pelvic health.
In the past, if a physical therapist wanted training in pelvic health, he/she would have to go to a course and examine others in the course. That is a barrier in many cases and it also excluded men entirely, unless they brought a female along to examine. Traditionally, men haven’t been welcomed into these courses.
Now, Neville has worked with FYZICAL to create pelvic health courses that work for everyone. “We’re hiring simulated patients to teach physical therapists and physical therapy assistants how to do the exams,” Neville says. She’s also delivering the courses in a much more convenient, accessible way. “We deliver a lot of information; 10 hours live and 14 hours remotely.”
With this new ease of access, more patients have access to this once under-treated area of physical therapy.
“Almost every patient I see doesn’t realize physical therapy is an option for pelvic issues. This is a first line of intervention and people don’t know that,” Neville explains. “FYZICAL is already making people aware of balance and fall risk at a national level, and I think FYZICAL is going to do a great job of bringing awareness to pelvic health.”
Neville also explains there is a direct correlation between falls and incontinence. “One of the reasons it’s so important for FYZICAL is because bladder control problems can be directly related to falls. If a person has incontinence, they are three times as likely to fall. Weakness in the bladder muscles is also linked to falls.” If your patients are rushing to the bathroom in the middle of the night, they’re more at risk for a fall. Now, FYZICAL therapists can address these issues immediately and provide solutions.
FYZICAL members are excited now to have access to Neville’s pelvic health courses through FYZICAL. “Pelvic health is the next big thing because we’re breaking down the barriers. Now there’s no reason to miss the training and there’s no reason your patients shouldn’t have access to great pelvic health!” Neville says.
Neville plans to continue educating therapists and patients on the benefits of great pelvic health and implementing programs on pregnancy and post-partum. “I hope to make it so pregnant women see a pelvic health therapist three weeks after delivery. If we can catch problems right away, their healing and futures will be better.” Neville hopes that more FYZICAL therapists will feel comfortable screening and providing interventions in their clinics.
The business side of pelvic health is easier now too.
With FYZICAL, Neville is not only providing training on the clinical side, but also on the “business side of pelvic health.” FYZICAL has the exact steps to implementing a great pelvic health program (billing, equipment, setup, marketing, etc.).
The program available through FYZICAL allows clinicians more accessible education, enhanced patient care and a more profitable business. FYZICAL members are becoming stronger together by sharing with and innovating in the industry to provide better patient care to communities all over the country.