It can be challenging to find a PT that you’ll like and who can help you, especially when seeking care from a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist.
We have already shared our advice on how to find a good PT (read that article HERE!), but there are additional questions and important considerations to keep in mind when selecting a pelvic health specialist.
Why is this important?
Pelvic health is a popular and trending field of medicine. It’s amazing to see a decreased stigma surrounding pelvic health diagnoses, though it is more challenging than ever for patients to identify qualified providers and dependable information for their specific diagnosis.
Here are some questions to ask of your Physical Therapist to ensure that you receive the outstanding care that you deserve!
- Certifications and Experience
Finding a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist who has a certification is an easy way to know that they are committed to this area of expertise and have logged substantial hours treating pelvic health patients. The two primary pelvic health certifications a PT can have are the Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification (PRPC) and the Women’s Health Specialist Certification (WCS).
It is not always possible to find a certified provider in your area, and not every Pelvic Floor PT desires to go through the process of obtaining a certification, so, it is helpful to ask your PT questions to understand their experience with your diagnosis. Ask your PT how many years they have been treating pelvic health conditions, and if it is not at least 2 years of treating primarily pelvic health, make sure they have an experienced mentor who they are learning from regularly.
- Whole Body Focus – Explaining to You ‘The Why’
Though you may be going to see your Physical Therapist with a diagnosis specific to the pelvis, your PT should perform a thorough examination of your whole body to understand wholistically why your symptoms are occurring.
There is always a reason for symptoms and a great PT will help you address all aspects of your diagnosis including surrounding body parts, your daily habits, and your posture. If a PT only prescribes ‘kegels’ for urinary leakage and doesn’t also address your core, hips, posture, bladder habits, and breathing mechanics, make sure to ask questions about the other things that could be contributing to your symptoms and if there is anything else you could be working on.
- Hands on Time with Both Internal and External Treatments
Your PT should have experience and training in performing hands-on, manual therapy in and around the pelvis. Not all diagnoses require intravaginal or intrarectal treatment, however it’s important for your PT to have this capability as a potential treatment modality.
Alternatively, if you do not want internal manual therapy for any reason, a highly capable PT will also have the skills to help you through other means, and will not pressure you into performing internal manual therapy treatment.
- Adequate Appointment Length with Consistency of Provider
Your appointments with your Physical Therapist should be at least 30 minutes of 1-on-1 time with your PT providing the hands-on manual therapy you need, education, and progression of your exercise program. It is normal to utilize Physical Therapy Aides to ensure you are performing your at home exercises correctly, though you should only be doing exercises with an Aide that your PT has already taught you.
You should also be seeing the same provider at every appointment unless you and your provider have talked about a referral or second opinion from someone else. This allows your PT to track your progress closely between visits, and builds mutual trust between you and your provider.
Where to start?
Getting personal recommendations from friends or your Doctor is always a great way to start your search for a Pelvic Floor PT! You can also look at pelvicrehab.com which provides a database of providers based on location as well as Herman and Wallace’s page of certified practitioners.
When you find a provider, feel free to call the clinic and ask if they treat your specific diagnosis. You can even ask to speak to the provider directly to ensure they have experience treating a case similar to yours.
You deserve amazing care and I’m encouraging you to seek out the person best suited to help you achieve your goals! Different diagnoses require different levels of education and experience so finding the right fit is crucial to making it to the finish line.