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9 reasons to see a physical therapist for your pelvic health

Clinical Excellence: Celebrating Athletico’s Clinicians to get Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification

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Co-Authors: Sarah Dawson, PT, DPT, PRPC, ATC and Hailey Colbert, PT, DPT, PRPC

Our interests in pelvic health started as students and classmates at Governors State University Physical Therapy program in 2015. We had the opportunity to take an elective course and chose to take the pelvic health elective. We learned a base level of pelvic floor anatomy and assessment and treatment techniques in this course. But most of all, we came to appreciate the growing need for providers in this specialization. We learned about the prevalence of incontinence, pelvic pain, prolapse, prostate cancer, and perinatal conditions that required greater expertise than what was covered in physical therapy school.

Hailey Colbert, PT, DPT, PRPC

When we started with Athletico in 2015, we knew we wanted to pursue continuing education in pelvic health. We took our first course with Herman and Wallace Institute, Pelvic Floor Level 1, where we learned to evaluate and treat pelvic floor dysfunction, emphasizing internal assessment and treatment of these structures and muscles. We became members of the Pelvic Health Program within Athletico, which provides a framework for its clinical members in treatment, relevant research, learning opportunities, and a sense of community among the pelvic health clinicians across the company. We also began to mentor our colleagues who were new to the specialty and started a mentorship group within the program to connect geographically close clinicians. Many clinics only have one clinician who specializes in pelvic health, so the opportunity to collaborate with other clinicians has helped us provide the best patient care possible.

Over the last several years, we have treated countless patients with pelvic floor dysfunction and learned from each patient. Pelvic health patients became the majority of our caseload in our respective clinics. As we continued to attend more courses through Herman and Wallace Institute over the years, the Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification (PRCP) started to seem like a natural next step.

Sarah Dawson, PT, DPT, PRPC, ATC

To apply for the PRPC exam, you must have 2,000 hours of direct pelvic patient care in the last five years, and 500 hours must be in the last two years. Pelvic patient care is defined as “related to conditions of pelvic pain, pelvic girdle dysfunction, conditions of bowel, bladder, and sexual dysfunction that relate, in whole or in part, to the health and function of pelvic structures and the pelvic floor. Other conditions that qualify as direct pelvic patient care may include dysfunctions of the abdomen, thoracolumbar spine, or the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex. These hours can include care for pediatric, adolescent, adult, and aged patients of any gender.”1

You do not have to take a certain number or type of courses, but it is recommended that you take at least the Herman and Wallace Level 1 course. You are offered a discount if you have taken a course with H&W. Once you apply and are approved to test, the institute will place you in a study group with other applicants at your request. Our study group consisted of 12 applicants from all over the world, and we met via Zoom twice a week for about six weeks. Our collection of various backgrounds, treatment strategies, and course attendance helped us create a well-rounded study guide and provided us with a space to discuss challenging topics. We also set aside time each week for self-study.

We both felt well prepared on exam day and went to our respective testing centers. We found out immediately upon submission that we passed! We are now among less than 400 clinicians with this distinction, and we are proud to be a part of such an accomplished group of individuals. Even with this accomplishment, we continue to learn and grow our skills every day. We learn more from each patient we encounter, and we look forward to the continued growth of this specialization and the impact we can have on our patients’ lives.

Join us in congratulating Athletico’s newest PRPC Therapists!


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