“It isn’t what you do but how you do it”
John Wooden said that during his tenure as UCLA ‘s most successful men’s basketball coach, leading the team to 10 NCAA championships. His quote has followed me through my career as a physical therapist. Although it was initially targeted at character, I believe strongly it applies to movement and activity. It parallels my approach to treating pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD).
Like athletes, many women with PFD need lifestyle coaching – advice on what activities will improve their symptoms and quality of life. If we want women to be champions of their pelvic floors we need to perform individual assessments, and provide the care and coaching to help them thrive, whether on the basketball court, in the gym, or on a walk with their family.
A physical therapist considers the impact of lifestyle advice on patients with PFD. A current research topic of interest for physical therapists treating PFD is the management of intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) during activity. This advice as long-term application for an active woman throughout her lifespan.
Physical therapy education (coaching) should focus on re-educating patient-specific activities to minimize large changes in IAP as a means for managing PDF symptoms. For example, a simple tweak in the technique of a lifting strategy, breathing timing or postural habit can reduce symptoms in some women. This strategy focuses on how to do activities correctly rather than avoiding movement altogether. In my PFD teaching this is the focus. I encourage people with PFD to see a pelvic health physical therapist who can help evaluate activity using lifestyle coaching combined with and exercises strategies. The focus will be on what can be done and how to do it. See you on the basketball court— or wherever your active lifestyle takes you.
If you are a pelvic health therapist interested in continuing education regarding PFD, please see my Teaching page.