What is Women’s Health Physical Therapy?

Oprah.com recently focused on a topic that is rarely discussed…”Physical Therapy for the Lady Parts” ! In conjunction with our October celebration of PT month, we want to explore the profession of women’s health physical therapy and introduce two of our very own practitioners whose passion is helping women of all ages who might suffer from conditions that affect their daily living. Future blog articles will also address who is appropriate for treatment and what conditions can be treated using women’s health PT.

Origin of Women’s Health Physical Therapy (WHPT)

According to the APTA, “the Section on Women’s Health of the American Physical Therapy Association was formed in 1977 by Elizabeth Noble. Originally called the Section on Obstetrics and Gynecology, it was founded to serve as a resource for physical therapists interested in the healthcare of women before, during, and after pregnancy.” The popularity of Women’s Health specialty grew in 1995, when a group of orthopedic physical therapists recognized that their clinics were filling up with women whose concerns weren’t being addressed. Most women think that when they have problems like pelvic pain or incontinence that the only person who can help is their doctor. In many occasions, practitioners of women’s health physical therapy are called in to problem solve for women (and some men) who have problems with sexual intercourse, urination, fertility, pregnancy preparedness, postpartum recovery and cancer recovery.

Why is Women’s Health Rarely Talked About?

Information on this topic is not easily found so it’s no wonder why many individuals have never heard of it. “Women’s Health PT is not well publicized in the U.S. and many women are not familiar with what WHPTs can do to help them. Many issues that women face are delicate topics and not many people like to discuss their incontinence or sexual dysfunction problems with just anyone,” explains Alayna Brewer, WH PT for Therapy Center.

Fortunately though, Women’s Health PT is a growing practice. According to the APTA, many physical therapists have specialized training that can benefit women with a variety of medical conditions. Today’s emphasis on fitness and wellness has brought to women’s attention a need to pay closer attention to their bodies during recreation, work, and throughout life.

Physical Therapy is a less invasive solution

In talking with two of Therapy Center’s very own Women’s Health PTs, its remarkable the passion that both Alayana Brewer and Katherine Prevost have for this field of work. Both agree that physicians and physical therapists can work together to provide the best solution for the patient.

Many people assume surgery is the only fix for their problem.  The fact is that surgery isn’t the only solution! “Our goal as WHPTs is to treat these individuals before going under the knife. Much research has been done in the past 10 years in regards to women’s health PT and how it may be beneficial to our patient population,” Brewer says.

Doctors and Physical Therapists are trained differently in how they treat pelvic floor issues.”I also think it’s very important to have a close relationship with physicians during the course of treatment. Physical therapists evaluate the pelvic floor for mechanical or muscular issues that may be causing pain or dysfunction, but it’s important to also have patients see a physician first to rule out any alternative disease process that may be contributing to the pain,” explains Katherine Prevost, WHPT.

Physical Therapists are trained muscle specialists who know how to strengthen, stretch, and relax muscles in way that the physician may not. PT’s can teach patient’s techniques, exercises and stretches that will allow for the relief of symptoms without relying on drugs, which may have negative side effects.  Therapy can also help a client become more independent while teaching them to manage their condition and symptoms on their own.

To schedule an appointment or for more information, please contact one of the following women’s health professionals located at Therapy Center’s outpatient clinics: (Physician referrals are needed for these services)

Therapy Center-Jennings, LA: Katherine Prevost, 337-824-4547

Lemoine Therapy Services-Marksville, LA: Alayna Brewer, 318-240-7680

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Kristi Fredieu

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