This is important… I saw three new patients in my office this week. All three had been through pelvic floor physical therapy (PFPT) before. When they called to inquire about PFPT with me, they all shared that they felt like they had failed PFPT previously because they were still navigating pelvic floor symptoms on the regular. They also asked me if I thought it was worth it for them to try PFPT again, or if they simply needed to accept their “new normal” and give up on being able to do [activity] altogether (aka their long term goal).
My response: You did NOT fail, Mama. Just because you didn’t reach your goal(s) with your previous PFPT, doesn’t automatically mean game over. Perhaps your previous PFPT helped you get as far as they could with the skills they had available? And sometimes they don’t have all the tools to help you reach all of your goals.
Then I asked, “Tell me what PFPT was like for you previously? Did your PFPT help explain the why behind your symptoms, what you were working on together to help address those challenges, and how your exercises were specifically helping you get back to your long term goals?” Often, the answer is no, and/or they tell me, “All of my previous sessions were done with me lying down and there was no mention of how our treatment sessions were helping me get back to [activity].” This was also true for all three ladies.
This further confirms you haven’t failed, Mama. This simply means you need the right PFPT for YOU who has successfully supported others in achieving similar goals to the ones you have set for yourself. Sometimes it takes working with a few different therapists to get all the way to your desired outcome, and sometimes you can find one who can support you all the way through. Please don’t give up! Instead, ask more questions.
Interview us! Yes, you can do that! And, I recommend that you do BEFORE you book your appointment so you feel confident that you have a PFPT on your team who understands your unique needs and goals from the beginning. Here are the top 5 questions I suggest you ask your future PFPT:
- How do you like to work with your patients? This helps you find out more about their treatment style and how they directly support their patients and assess if you feel comfortable and compatible with their approach to care.
- How long is each session, and do I work with the same therapist each time? This helps you find out how long the evaluation and follow-ups are (60 minutes is ideal for both) and it helps you determine if you will have consistency of care by working with the same therapist or if it varies – this is important to know!
- I would like to get back to [insert activity here]. How familiar are you with this activity? This helps you determine if the therapist understands the movement pre-reqs you need to get back to the activities you desire and assess if they have adequate experience to help you get there.
- How have you helped others successfully return to [insert activity here]? What does that look like? This helps you understand the way in which the therapist has helped others reach similar goals to the ones you’re wanting to achieve and assess if their coaching strategy feels like a good fit for you and your needs.
- Are you open to communicating with my other providers, coaches, trainers, etc…to help coordinate my care? This helps you know if they are used to working collaboratively with others on behalf of their patients and determine if they are willing and able to work alongside the other members of your health and wellness team.