Monthly Archives: March 2013

App of The Week

Tummy Trends: Constipation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome Tracker

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Tummy Trends is your personal guide designed to track symptoms associated with constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Easily enter symptoms and select factors that may affect you. You can review your symptoms and factors at any time or view them in a graph. This App also lets you share reports with your doctor if you’d like to do so. Better information about your symptoms, treatments, diet, and activities may be helpful in discussions with your doctor.

Keep track of:
• Symptoms
• Severity of symptoms
• Medications and treatments
• Stress levels
• Exercise
• Fiber intake
• Water intake
• Stool form and appearance
• Days you were traveling
• Habits that may improve your symptoms
• What to discuss with your doctor

Proaxis Therapy at Baby Town!

Proaxis Therapy at Baby Town!

Kim & Jessica represented the Pelvic Health team at Baby Town this past Saturday! What a great opportunity to meet hundreds of pregnant and postpartum women and their families and to get the word out about Pelvic Health!

What To Expect AFTER You’re Expecting

This weekend we had the great opportunity to share our services with over 200 pregnant women at the annual Babytown event where we discussed how to treat pregnancy related pain and post-partum problems. Unfortunately, many women are under the assumption that leaking a little urine (or a lot!) when they cough or sneeze is just a “normal” consequence of having babies. Because of this, some women may go for years with these bothersome symptoms before they seek help. But I’m here to tell you, it’s not something that you just have to “live with”! I can’t tell you how many women we see who have been suffering in silence who tell us “I wish I would’ve known about you guys 20 years ago after I had my kids!”. So, along those lines in case you are expecting a baby, have recently given birth, or had your “babies” years ago, here is a little summary of what’s “normal” and what’s not when it comes to post-partum problems. If any of them sound familiar to you, consider speaking with your doctor about them and making an appointment with a pelvic floor physical therapist who can help to address your needs. Whether you’ve been experiencing symptoms for 10 days or 10 years, it’s never too late to make a difference and get your life back!

Urine leakage/Incontinence:
Having a baby can cause trauma to the nerves and muscles of the pelvic floor, the group of muscles responsible for supporting your bladder, uterus and rectum. Because of this, small amounts of urine leakage may occur for a few weeks following the birth of your baby, which you may notice particularly when you cough, laugh or sneeze. However, leakage that persists for more than a few weeks following childbirth is not normal, and may signal underlying weakness in your pelvic floor muscles. If you experience urine leakage, speak with your doctor and consider seeing a pelvic floor therapist to teach you correct exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor. The sooner you address the leakage, the easier it will be to correct. Remember it is not something that you “just have to live with”!

Painful Intercourse:
After you have your baby your doctor will likely have you refrain from intercourse for 6 weeks until you have time to fully heal. Some women find once they get around to resuming sexual relations again that sex is painful, and no longer as enjoyable. Pain with sex is not normal and can happen for a variety of reasons. Hormonal changes to the tissues (lack of estrogen, especially while you are nursing), scarring from tearing or episiotomies, muscle spasm, and just a general lack of desire (chalk it up to not sleeping through the night and caring for an infant all day long!) can all be factors which contribute to pain with intercourse. If you find that you are experiencing painful intercourse, speak with your doctor and consider seeing a pelvic floor therapist who can address the source of your pain, making intercourse enjoyable again.

Low Back and Pelvic Pain:
Many factors can contribute to low back and pelvic pain post-partum. Hormones that circulated during pregnancy causing loosening of joints and ligaments may still be present post-partum. Your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor may be stretched and weakened from pregnancy and not able to provide appropriate support to your low back and pelvis. In addition, you are likely lifting and carrying a new infant constantly during the day which may also place strain on your low backs and hips, especially if not done correctly. If you are experiencing discomfort, consider seeing a physical therapist to address your pain. She can instruct you in proper body mechanics for lifting and carrying your child which can help decrease pain, and give you safe exercises to strengthen your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor.

Any Windows 8 Users?
Check out the Mayo Clinic Pregnancy App

Written by: Kim Osler PT, DPT, WCS, LCEE

App of the Week

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In our practice we spend a large amount of time educating patients on bladder health. We often find that our patients are going to the bathroom too frequently, or in some cases, unnecessarily holding back urine for prolonged periods of time. Run Pee is a great app that allows you to discretely sneak out of the movie theater for a quick potty break (without missing any of the action).

I Think I Have a Problem… Part 2

Part 2: Be Prepared to Talk to Your Health Care Provider

So, you’ve decided you are finally going to ask for help? Great! It’s very important to try to be prepared before you go to see your provider. Try these steps to get prepared for your appointment.

1) Write down all of the symptoms you are experiencing so you can help them understand your problem.

2) Write down any questions you have for your doctor or physical therapist.

3) Call ahead to get a copy of the paper work to fill out before your first visit. Often times, this paper work is fairly extensive. Filling it out ahead of time will save you time at your appointment and get you in sooner.

4) If you have done any research on your own, feel free to ask your provider about what you found. Most of us are very open to your ideas, and will help you sift through what will be most helpful to you.

5) If you are worried about what to expect at your appointment, feel free to call ahead and ask to speak with someone about what the appointment will entail.

How do you get prepared for your doctor’s visits? Leave your comments and suggestions below!

App of The Week

Chronic Pain Tracker Lite

Pain Tracker

If you are suffering with pain, you know it can be difficult to describe your pain history to a medical professional. With this application you can effectively communicate your daily symptoms, send a PDF report via e-mail from within the app, and assist in managing your pain to improve your quality of life.

I Think I Have a Problem, What Do I Do?

Part 1: How do I know when to seek help?  

Every new patient I examine is asked a series of questions. “What brings you in today?”  “How bad is your pain?” and the most interesting question of “How long has this been going on?” This is where it gets really interesting… I hear a spectrum of answers from my patients. 2 weeks. 6 months–  And my favorite answer—15 years.  Can you believe that? 15 years. That’s 180 months. 5475 days. Shocking, really, that a person would deal with having problems with her body for that long. But the problem is, most people have no idea when is the right time to seek help. So, the next few posts will help to answer that.

The basic bottom line is this: It’s always better to seek help sooner rather than later. Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying you should run to your doctor every time you have the tiniest little problem. What I am saying is this: If there is something that doesn’t feel right and it doesn’t seem to be responding normally(i.e. getting better in the right amount of time), then it is in your best interest to get it checked out.  That being said, I have a few myths/fears to dispel about going to see your doctor:

Myth #1: If I tell my doctor, she’s going to want to do surgery. I don’t want to have surgery.

I hear this close to once each week. And I always say the same thing. First, just because you see a surgeon, does not mean he will even recommend surgery. I’m being totally honest.  Most of my referrals come from surgeons—and that means that they are recommending something other than surgery. Remember that there are many options to help with whatever problem you are experiencing. If you are seeing a good physician, he should be able to help you understand all of your options. Second, just because a physician recommends surgery does not mean that you have to have surgery. You can choose not to. You can choose to wait. So, that brings me back to the main point: It’s always better to seek help sooner rather than later.

 

Myth #2: After you have babies, it’s normal to _________________. (Fill in the blank: Have pain, leak when you cough and sneeze, hurt during sex, etc.)

I could go on and on and on about this one. I hate hearing this. It is one of my biggest pet peeves.

Common ≠ Normal

It is common to have all of these problems after you have babies. BUT, that doesn’t mean it’s normal. That doesn’t mean you have to live with it. Many times people can do really well in a short amount of time and really regain their function if they receive the right treatment. (See my future posts of what that treatment will look like).

So, that all being said, go get help if you are having a problem. Working together with a physical therapist or a physician can really help you get the most out of your body. Whether you are 25 or 95, you shouldn’t have to “just deal” with a problem.

Please feel free to leave any questions or concerns!!

Written By: Jessica Powley PT, DPT

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