Women's Health Physiotherapy works
Your lifestyle matters
What does a Women's Health Physiotherapist do?
If you haven't heard of a specialist Women's health Physio and are unsure of what they do, you are not alone, even some GPs are in the dark!
Some of the conditions assessed and treated include:
Who is 'The Power Room Physio'?
My name is Jenna Sweeney, however as a chartered Women's Health Physiotherapist I go by the name ‘The Powder Room Physio’ (TPRP). The powder room refers to the bathroom, the place us ladies frequent in groups. The reason we do it; its not that we need help to pee, it is a chance to offload and share personal and sensitive matters to your nearest and dearest confidants. This maybe sharing happy news that you have just found out you are pregnant, or asking advice on distressing and upsetting situations such as you wetting yourself when jumping on your children's trampoline. Hence the name the Powder Room.
As TPRP, I want to allow ladies to be as comfortable to approach their health professional or WH physiotherapist about sensitive feminine issues as they are discussing it with their best friend in the girls toilets. We should be open and comfortable talking about 'lady parts', 'wees' and 'poos', and the changes we find occurring to our bodies. However, these are such taboo subjects in society, and the assumption remains that it is part of being a woman and nothing can be done help, so ladies are often left feeling isolated and alone, often curtailing activities such as exercise (when leakages might happen) or sex (painful or embarrassing) leading to them not leading as full and enriched a life as they would like to. This is why I love my job; to help ladies reach their full potential, whether it be, returning to complete 10km races, or to jump on a trampoline with their children. WH physio can enrich and transform lives.
I qualified as a Chartered Physiotherapist in 2006 from Hertfordshire University, firstly working in Birmingham for several years, then moving to New Zealand where my appreciation for WH physio grew. I observed a different culture to pregnancy, with the average lady being far more active and mobile during this time with quicker recovery times afterwards. I trained in pilates and furthered my passion for 'movement' through relevant training but also achieving personal goals of completing my first half marathon, and enjoying frequent hiking, ocean swimming, kayaking and anything outdoors related.
When returning back to the UK, I married my now husband Ady and have recently had our first child. With this personal journey, I had a further natural migration to understanding the female human body and the significant changes we go through at differing stages of our lives, from puberty to menopause, and the unfortunate side effects that can come with these stages. I have completed postgraduate training in Physiotherapy to address urological issues such as stress urinary incontinence (leaking when you cough or sneeze), urge urinary incontinence (leakage preceded by urgency), pelvic organ prolapse (descent of the uterus, bladder or bowel) and pelvic pain. A key muscle involved in these issues is the pelvic floor, so sometimes us WH physios are referred to as 'Pelvic floor physios'. However, with my prior training in neurology and the musculoskeletal system, this term does not sit comfortably with me as it is naive to think that it is just this muscle alone that is to blame. My approach to assessing and treating bladder, bowel and pelvic pain issues is to see how the body is affected as a whole; therefore looking at posture, core stability, global strength and the way in which someone moves during certain activities, and how this interacts with and influences the urogynaecology support system and the pelvic floor. For example, if a lady comes in and says she leaks only when she does over a 5km run, sending her away to practice 3 sets of 10 pelvic floor squeezes when she is lying down everyday, is unlikely to make any difference. Of course she needs to start somewhere but when progressing her we need to look into the specifics of how and why she is leaking at this time?
I’ve set up TPRP to provide another option to compliment and extend the services provided by the NHS, and have specifically chosen Rowan House as a place to do this because of the continuity of care and support that is provided to pregnant ladies, new mums & their babies through the Pregnancy and Parenthood wealth of health & fitness professionals we have there. I primarily work at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston as a specialist WH physio, and love the role I have there working amongst specialist urology, gynaecology, colorectal and midwifery multidisciplinary teams.
This is the generation of ladies to make a change with; those preparing for pregnancy, through to ladies in their 70's who think that they will never see a dry day again...it is never too early or late to make a change to reduce your risk of developing issues or to improve your symptoms and quality of life. Don't suffer in silence. Your lifestyle matters.