We have all been a student at some point in our lives. And truth be told, most of us on the journey of self-improvement, are constantly in “student-mode” in our personal and professional lives. Here in London, we have great institutions of higher learning, like Western University and Fanshawe College. We enjoy meeting keen students and inspiring the next generation of physiotherapists and leaders.
Megan is a Western pre-physiotherapy student volunteered at our office last semester. Her understanding of pelvic health and what we do was refreshing and insightful. If you’re curious to hear about The Mama’s Physio from the perspective of a post-secondary student, then have a read.
Having the opportunity to observe a pelvic floor physiotherapist has been the highlight of my semester. I have learned so many new things while also recognizing many concepts applied in practice that I have been introduced to through my studies as a Health Sciences student.
Just like any other muscle, many problems that occur in the pelvic floor are a result of muscles being either too lax and stretched, too tight and immobile, or not making the right brain-body connection. It was interesting however, to see the ways that various conditions are treated regarding pelvic health compared to orthopaedic physiotherapy.
For example, when providing exercises to strengthen muscles and improve function in orthopaedic physiotherapy, it is often easy to demonstrate gross motor movement exercises, such as squats or lunges. In contrast, it may not be possible to directly show a client what a movement, such as a kegel, looks like in the pelvic health setting.
As such, it is important to note that imagery is an essential tool for pelvic floor physiotherapists to use with their clients in order to build a brain-body connection. The use of imagery is also a way to tailor a treatment program to a client as it is important to ensure the imagery used resonates with them and elicits the response that the physiotherapist is looking for.
I think that one of the most interesting things that I took away from observing pelvic floor physiotherapy was the emphasis placed on reducing the pressure that is exerted on the pelvic floor, not only for the treatment of certain conditions, but also the preventative maintenance for overall pelvic health.
Pressure can be put on the system in a variety of ways, including sneezing, coughing, lifting, or through bowel and bladder movements. Understanding how this pressure can be managed can prove useful for patients to improve their symptom management.
I learned that breathing practices can be incorporated into daily activities to help manage pressure on the system, such as ensuring to breath and refrain from breath holding with exerting effort to lift items, or when having a bowel movement. Additionally, proper toilet posture can help to reduce or eliminate the amount of straining necessary for bowel movements and therefore help reduce the effort and pressure required.
I have come to appreciate the of the need for health care professionals to be able to demonstrate empathy and good communication skills, especially when addressing conditions that are typically very personal. Pelvic health physiotherapists must be able to communicate with clients in a sensitive way while still providing support, education and realistic expectations regarding their condition and goal setting.
This experience has also allowed me to understand and respect the varying needs of unique patients in order to provide effective and personalized care. I enjoyed being able to see the cooperation between a physiotherapist and client in creating goals and tailored treatment to empower them on their journey to health and well-being.
I observed aspects of Motivational Interviewing, where clients were guided to explore options on when and how to incorporate various aspects of their treatment into their daily routine. As I have learned in courses such as Health Promotion, this approach can be very effective for promoting lasting self-management.
I am truly impressed with the exemplary patient-directed care that I observed at The Mama’s Physio as a whole, beginning with the welcoming atmosphere and extending to the focus on a client’s goals, desires, intentions and how their condition is impacting their life as a whole and not just in isolation.
Altogether, The Mama’s Physio is a place where clients can feel confident that their voices will be heard and that their health and well-being is of top priority.
I am so thankful for the opportunity that you have provided me in being able observe the interactions of a unique sphere of practice within physiotherapy. I have been able to take away a lot of key lessons from my short time spent with team and look forward to building on these experiences as a foundation for my own career in health care.