Updated: Nov 16, 2021
Dr. Becca’s “ah-haa” moment seeing the big picture of Pelvic Health
“How did you get into Pelvic Health?” If I had a list of “Frequently Asked Questions”, this question would be number one! While Pelvic Health Physical Therapy has been gaining more (well deserved) attention and recognition lately, it’s not what typically comes to mind when people think of Physical Therapy. In fact,
I didn't even know it was a specialty prior to attending Physical Therapy school.
Like a lot of Physical Therapists, I became interested in pursuing a career in Physical Therapy after being a patient myself due to various sports injuries. And being a self proclaimed science nerd, I have always been fascinated by the human body, so it was a natural career choice for me. With my background in athletics, I dreamt of becoming a Physical Therapist in an orthopedic and sports setting, and that’s exactly where I started. Five years later, and I couldn’t be happier to be in the pelvic health world. So how did I get here? I’m a big believer in fate, and when I think back about my journey into the specialty of pelvic health, I like to think that pelvic health found me.
From “Pregnancy PT” to Pelvic Specialist
I started out working in an outpatient orthopedic and sports practice in New York City. There, I was able to gain exposure to a wide variety of clientele - from all ages, cultural backgrounds, weekend warriors, and professional athletes. One day, the clinic got a call from a potential client who was looking to schedule an appointment, and she also happened to be pregnant. I already had some experience working with pregnant clients, so when the front desk asked who would best be able to help this client, I excitedly volunteered.
From that day on, anytime someone called to schedule and was also pregnant, they were placed on my schedule. Eventually I became known around the office as the “Pregnancy PT”. I began taking continuing education courses in Pregnancy and Postpartum Rehabilitation, which piqued my interest in Pelvic Health. I was fortunate to have the privilege of working alongside and collaborating with Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists throughout the care of my pregnant and postpartum clients, but I could not shake the feeling that something was missing in my practice. I wanted to be able to provide well rounded care, so I decided to follow my gut feeling, and I took my first Pelvic Health course. I was HOOKED!
Bridging the Gap
Diving into the world of pelvic floor was that “a-ha moment” in my career. I felt like it was the missing piece to the puzzle that helped take my practice to the next level and gave me a deeper understanding of the human body. One of my biggest takeaways during the transition was that the pelvic floor does not exist in isolation - it works as part of the whole system. I am so grateful for my background in orthopedics because it helps me to see the bigger picture.
My boyfriend always teases me, because I tell him everything is connected to the pelvic floor, but it’s true! Often, pelvic floor dysfunction is the result of something else in the system not functioning optimally. The sneaky leakage that some people experience with jumping or running, might not just be due to weakness of the pelvic floor muscles! It also could be due to limited mobility in the rib cage, upper back, hips, or feet, affecting the body’s ability to appropriately manage the pressure and impact being placed on it.
One of the best examples of this is a client I worked with who was an avid runner, but was experiencing urine leakage during her runs. While performing a movement screen, I noticed she had limited mobility in her right ankle, as well as difficulty with balancing on her right leg. Turns out, she had a history of a fracture to that right ankle! When assessing her hip and pelvic floor strength, her muscles were STRONG! But when we looked at her running form, we could immediately see how her body was compensating for the lack of mobility in that ankle and the effect it had on her ability to appropriately utilize her gluteal muscles to stabilize her pelvis while she was running. No wonder she was experiencing leakage - her pelvic floor muscles were trying to pick up the slack, and just could not handle the load by themselves! So that very first session, we worked on proper breathing, ankle mobility, and single leg balance, as well as made a few minor adjustments to her running form. She returned to her next session a few weeks later with no more leakage during her runs!
The Big Picture
If you are just looking inside the pelvis, you are only seeing part of the picture. This has been my favorite part of being a pelvic floor therapist. I have always valued the holistic approach, and now I feel like I am truly able to take that approach! If you are seeing a PT for your shoulder, but have leakage, ask for a referral to a pelvic health PT. If you are seeing a pelvic therapist, but have foot pain, ask if it's connected? Not all pelvic therapists are created equal, however having a relationship with a pelvic therapist who sees the whole picture of you, is truly a valuable experience that can help you live an active, comfortable and confident life!
Want to bridge the gap between foot pain and pelvic pain? Make an appointment with me and let’s get started!
In the South Jersey area and want one on one care with the Breathe Life Team? Schedule an appointment for your complimentary 15 min phone call to see how pelvic therapy can help you!
Dr. Becca Jones, PT, DPT, CSCS, is a 2016 graduate of New York University with her Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Her passion for supporting people through their pregnancy and/or post partum journey inspired her to specialize in pelvic health. Dr. Becca believes in providing holistic, individualized care in order to restore comfort and build confidence to get people back to what they love.