By Erin Pinkerton—
MUNCIE, Ind. — It’s no secret that having a baby permanently changes a woman’s body. The secret might be that, even after having a baby, a woman’s body should still function well.
Women are often told that incontinence, pelvic pain and other pelvic health issues are the price they pay for having carried or delivered a baby. Women believe these issues are normal, so they wait to seek treatment or don’t seek treatment at all.
“If you have incontinence, or leaking, after childbirth, that’s considered normal. In reality, it’s common, but it’s not optimal. It’s something that can be addressed. It’s not something that you just have to live with,” said Brianne Kelly, a physical therapist who recently opened Pivotal Physical Therapy, a physical therapy clinic focused on helping patients with pelvic floor muscle dysfunction.
“You’re postpartum forever, so it doesn’t matter if the issue started last week or if you’ve had the issue for 20 years. You can still see improvement,” she said.
The pelvic floor is made up of many intricate layers of muscles and ligaments that connect in all directions. When working properly, these muscles support internal organs, control the release of the bladder and bowels, impact sexual health and arousal, and are even involved in breathing. When pelvic floor muscles aren’t functioning well, it can be difficult to do normal tasks. Unfortunately, primary care doctors and obstetricians don’t always screen for pelvic floor disorders and sometimes don’t even know that those disorders can be addressed with pelvic health physical therapy.
“The OBs know how to keep you and the baby safe while you’re pregnant and delivering, but they’re not musculoskeletal experts. That’s where physical therapists come in,” Brianne said. “Everybody after labor and delivery — no matter how it ends, cesarean or vaginal — should probably follow up with a pelvic health physical therapist.”
Pivotal Physical Therapy celebrated its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 2, 2021, and is now accepting new patients. Although both men and women can experience myriad pelvic floor disorders, Pivotal Physical Therapy will focus on serving women who experience urinary and fecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain, and vaginismus, which is pain with sex, tampon use or gynecological exams.
Of course, women who have not carried or delivered a baby can also experience these issues and potentially benefit from physical therapy. One study found that nearly 24% of U.S. women will have at least one pelvic floor disorder.
After working as an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist for eight years, Brianne completed postdoctoral training in pelvic health and opened Pivotal Physical Therapy because she saw a need and wanted to meet that need by providing personalized, potentially life-changing care for patients with pelvic muscle dysfunction.
“There is a huge need for the services that pelvic health physical therapists can provide, and there’s a shortage of them, especially in rural communities,” Brianne said. “I think that people in Delaware County or more rural communities deserve the same care you can get in bigger cities.”
About Pivotal Physical Therapy
Pivotal Physical Therapy is a physical therapy clinic dedicated to serving patients with pelvic muscle dysfunction through individualized, one-on-one care using evidence-based treatment techniques, empowering them to improve their pelvic health and quality of life. To make an appointment, call (765) 703-0520 or book online at https://www.pivotal-physicaltherapy.com. Pivotal Physical Therapy is located at 2809 W. Godman Ave., Suite 8, Muncie, IN 47304.