What is Get PT 1st?

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By Stephanie Prendergast

 

Last fall, I began seeing the logo you see above, appear in my Twitter feed and on Facebook. As a physical therapist, I was happy to see an organization committing to improving awareness about our field. It’s safe to say that most of the world has no idea what a pelvic floor physical therapist is or what we do. This includes the suffering people who need us the most AND their physicians. This is very important because most people go to a physical therapist because their doctors tell them to. If their physician doesn’t know about pelvic floor dysfunction the patient who needs it doesn’t get sent to physical therapy. This is a HUGE problem and one of the many reasons we at PHRC support the GetPT1st Movement.

 

GetPT1st is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to increase awareness in the general public, as well as in the medical community, about the benefits of Physical Therapy. Here is what the founders have to say:

 

GetPT1st is a website just for YOU, the healthcare consumer. We promise to bring the best information possible to help you, whatever your journey. And don’t worry, you won’t have to have a medical dictionary handy or know all the latest research to follow along. This is 100% for you.

 

Physical therapy is so much more than the pictures you see in a Google search! We take care of every step of the lifespan, from pediatrics to geriatrics, from babies with torticollis to 90 year-olds with balance problems. We work with clients from the ICU, to the pool, to the sports field, to your very own home. Physical therapists truly are movement specialists, but that’s not all. For many people, their first thought may be sports and orthopedics, but we also play a huge part in men’s and women’s health, chronic pain, progressive disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease, stroke and cardiac rehab, and hospice care.”

 

On March 1, 2016, GetPt1st is organizing a social media event as part of their physical therapy awareness campaign. PHRC wants to contribute by talking about the role physical therapy plays in pelvic floor disorders and informing people that they can GetPT1st. Many people are unaware they can go to a pelvic floor physical therapist without a physician referral. We created this blog to help people identify the signs and symptoms of pelvic floor disorders. If you answer yes to any of the questions below you will benefit from a physical therapy evaluation.

 

So, what do you need to know about pelvic pt?

 

Here are the basics:

 

Your pelvic floor muscles are responsible for urinary, bowel, and sexual functioning:

  • they keep you from leaking urine
  • they are responsible for orgasm
  • they allow you to pee and poop
  • they help women deliver babies
  • they keep your organs in your pelvis

When they are not functioning properly:

  • you leak urine or feces
  • you have trouble or cannot orgasm
  • you may have to urinate more often than you want to or have trouble starting your stream
  • you have trouble or can’t poop
  • your organs descend into your pelvis
  • sex hurts, sitting hurts, exercise can cause genital pain, clothing may be uncomfortable, normal day to day things are just not possible or painful

Pelvic floor disorders are prevalent and the range of symptoms can range from bothersome to disabling. (For more information on the stats, read our December GetPT1st Blog: https://www.pelvicpainrehab.com/female-pelvic-pain/3448/get-pt-1st-facts/).

 

Do these symptoms sound familiar to you? If you answer yes to any of the following questions you will benefit from an evaluation with a pelvic floor physical therapist.

 

Men:

Urinary function:

 

  • Do you void more than 6-8 times in a 24-hour period or wake more than one time per night to void?
  • Do you have trouble starting your stream and is it interrupted?
  • Do you leak urine when you cough, sneeze, or laugh?
  • Have you had more than 3 urinary tract infections in the last year?
  • Do you feel like you have an infection and your cultures are negative?

Bowel function:

  •    Do you experience constipation?
  •    Do you have difficulty with bowel movements, or pain during a bowel movement?

Male Pain/Sexual function:

 

  • Do you have trouble achieving or maintaining an erection?
  • Do you experience penile, scrotal, perineal, or anal pain with sitting, after exercise, or after ejaculating?

 

Women:

Bowel function:

  •    Do you experience constipation?
  •    Do you have difficulty with bowel movements, or pain during a bowel movement?

Female Pain/Sexual function:

  •  Do you experience pain with intercourse?
  •  Has your quality or ability to orgasm changed?
  • Do you ever experience pain/itching/burning in the clitoris, labia, vulva, vagina, perineum, or rectum?
  • Have you had more than 3 yeast infections in the last year?

Prepartum/postpartum women:

  •    Do you have low back, hip or pelvic pain?
  •    Do you have pain radiating down one or both of your legs?
  •    Do you leak urine?
  •       Do you have vaginal, anal, or perineal pain?
  •    Do you experience pain with intercourse?
  •    Has your bladder function changed since pregnancy/delivery?
  •    Do you have a hard time controlling gas?
  •    Do you leak urine when your cough or sneeze?

 

These symptoms commonly drive people to a urologist, gynecologist, or colorectal physician. These physicians can help rule out infections, disease, and other pathology. If the tests return negative the pelvic floor muscles may be involved and physical therapy can help!

 

How to find a pelvic floor physical therapist near you:

 

Resources are available through the American Physical Therapy Association’s section on Women’s Health (http://www.womenshealthapta.org/pt-locator/) and the International Pelvic Pain Society (http://pelvicpain.org/patients/find-a-medical-provider.aspx).

 

 

 

Best,

Stephanie Prendergast, MPT

 

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Stephanie grew up in South Jersey, and currently sees patients in our Los Angeles office. She received her bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from Rutgers University, and her master’s in physical therapy at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. For balance, Steph turns to yoga, music, and her calm and loving King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Abbie. For adventure, she gets her fix from scuba diving and global travel.

 


4 thoughts on “What is Get PT 1st?

  1. Pingback:The #GetPT1st Movement – PT-Undergrad

  2. Love your posts!
    It seems like all the best pelvic floor therapists are in California.
    Wish you lived in the Phoenix, Mesa Arizona area.
    Do you know of any in this area who have the same philosophy as you do and especially for men as there are so few that do it for us.
    Thanks for all you do for us and your efforts in getting the word out on Pelvic Pain.

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