#PTonICE Daily Show – Monday, July 31st, 2023 – Virtual pelvic floor PT, part 1: the subjective exam

In today’s episode of the PT on ICE Daily Show, #ICEPelvic Division Leader Alexis Morgan discusses how virtual pelvic floor care can prove beneficial for physical therapists in both virtual and in-person settings. Alexis shares that engaging in virtual pelvic floor care has significantly improved her overall abilities as a physical therapist, particularly in asking questions and gathering necessary information. She also notes that virtual care seamlessly integrates into both virtual and in-person worlds. Alexis highly recommends physical therapists to explore virtual pelvic floor care as it can be incredibly helpful. Furthermore, she mentions that a future podcast episode will delve into objective exams for pelvic floor virtual PT, indicating the importance of further exploring virtual care.

Take a listen to learn how to better serve this population of patients & athletes.

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00:00 INTRO
What’s up everybody? We are back with another episode of the PT on Ice Daily Show. Before we jump in, let’s chat about Jane for a moment as they are our sure sponsor and they make this thing possible. The team at Jane understands that payment processing can be complex, so they built in an integrated payment solution called Jane Payments to help make things as simple as possible so you can get paid. If you’re looking for an easy way to navigate payments, here’s what we recommend. Head over to jane.app slash payments, book a one-on-one demo with a member of Jane’s support team. This can give you a better sense of how Jane Payments can integrate with your practice several other popular features that Jane Payments supports, like memberships with the option to automatically invoice and process your membership payments online. If you know you’re ready to get started, you can sign up for Jane and make sure when you do, you use the code ICEPT1MO as that gives you a one-month grace period while you settle in. Once you’re in your new Jane account, you can flip the switch for Jane Payments at any time. Let the Jane team know if you need a hand with anything. They offer unlimited support and are always happy to jump in. Thanks everybody. Enjoy today’s PT on ICE Daily Show

Good morning, Instagram. Good morning, PT on ICE Daily Show. My name is Dr. Alexis Morgan. I am one of the faculty with the Ice Pelvic Division. Really happy to have you all here joining me this Monday morning. My voice is a little raw from the weekend. We were just in Denver, Colorado, right outside of Denver at Onward Denver in Parker. This whole weekend, April and I spent with an awesome, awesome group of individuals and we were going through all of our material in our live course. We did our internal exams, supine and standing, and dove into all issues of pelvic floor dysfunction. We of course didn’t stop there. We progressed through everything that our athletes are doing at the gym. So talking about how pelvic floor dysfunction fits into weightlifting and Valsalva and using a weightlifting belt and jumping and running and doing gymnastics. We had an absolute blast with this last weekend and we hope that you all will join us in the future for not only our live course but also our online course. I want to talk with you all today about virtual pelvic floor PT. We get a lot of questions asked over Instagram and on our Ice Students Facebook page. Sometimes we answer you all directly with some help. A lot of times we like to use your questions to teach everyone else about the topic that you asked.

This particular topic actually came from an Ice student who was wanting to know some more information about how to really apply what we talk about in our live and online courses into the virtual setting. And so that’s exactly what I want to dive into today. Kind of similar to what we talk about really in all of our courses is that our subjective exam should be very detailed. It should be specific and we should be taking a while to do our subjective exams. I will say that when it comes to doing an assessment virtually, the subjective becomes huge. Not everything but a vast majority of especially that initial assessment. I’ll talk through some ways that we do some objective exams but I want to before we even get there really emphasize to you all the importance of that subjective exam particularly in the virtual setting. So when I say be specific, there’s a couple of things I mean with this. Depending on the issue that they may be coming to you for, whether that’s leaking urine, whether that’s pelvic organ prolapse or feelings of heaviness or vaginal bulge, that might be leaking bowels, whether that’s anal incontinence with stool or potentially with flatulence. Maybe it’s constipation. Whatever that may be, we want to get very specific on their problem. Again, this is true in person and in virtual but it really does become extremely important in this setting because all you’ve got to track changes are your words. By you having conversations and by asking questions, that’s how you track the person’s change. So it’s not in session, which sometimes we can gather on that first virtual, but definitely between sessions. It’s really, really important. So maybe you use the patient specific functional scale where they fill this out ahead of time or maybe you help them out and ask them further questions when they tell you they leak with double unders.

When I hear I’m leaking with double unders, that is not enough information for me to help you just yet. I’ve got a lot more questions and you should too because depending on how they answer, it could really change how you’re going to treat them for that leaking. Not all leaking with jump rope is treated in the same way. And we’ve talked about this so much yesterday in our live course as we were going through jumping rope. But what we need to do is ask questions. So when does the leaking occur? When in that workout? And tell me what jumping rope looks like to you. Is it single unders? Is it double unders? If it’s double unders, is it always doubles? Did you just gain that skill or is that an old skill for you? At what point during the workout? If it’s early on, that’s going to be different than if it’s later on, right? I’m starting to think fatigue plays a role in their leaking. If it’s later on in a workout, does it matter about which exact workout it is? What is the volume with that? That’s going to be different, right? If it’s 50 double unders versus 500 double unders, that’s going to be different. And so we need to figure that out and we need to ask those questions. So you can use the patient specific functional scale and make that work for you. You can also use the PFDI, a specific to pelvic floor questionnaire. Now that is not an open box. That is marking, marking symptoms on a questionnaire. But what we’ve got to do is we’ve got to get information about their specific number one problem that they have. And moving forward, we need to understand what is their entire pelvic floor environment like. So we’re going to ask questions and see if they have issues in other pelvic floor realms. Realizing we understand the number one reason why you came to me and I promise you I’m going to help you with that. But sometimes some of these other issues kind of play into your main leaking problem. Or as we’re addressing your leaking, we can also address these other issues and together everything within your pelvic floor is going to function better. So a couple of those questions, again, depending on what they’re coming in for, whether that’s vaginal or bowel issues, you’re going to ask, are you experiencing any leaking with maybe coughing or laughing, sneezing? And even with that, sometimes people are like, no, I don’t leak with sneezing, but I do have to cross my legs together aggressively in order not to pee. OK, that’s a problem, right? We’re going to add that to our list. Do you feel like you can fully void? How frequently are you peeing? This one’s a hard question for people to answer, but I generally want to know like, is it every 5, 10, 15 minutes or is it more like every hour or two? If it’s very frequent, like every 15 minutes, that’s going to be something that we note down and address early on. If it’s every hour or two, we’re going to lower that on our list. We may get to that if it’s every hour and bothersome, we may not get to that. If there is high frequency, we’re going to send them with a bladder diary and that’s going to be one of our first trial treatments that we do with them.

We want to actually pull up the Bristol stool chart. I always laugh when I pull this up. I’m like, OK, listen, I’m going to ask you a weird question. I promise it’s relevant. And then I pull up the Bristol stool chart and I say, give me a range like where do your poops normally fall within this Bristol stool chart? Looking at that to see, we want to see around that three or four that are relatively normal. But if it’s above or below that, we’re thinking, what does diet and hydration look like? And that may lead us into more questions. How frequently are we having a bowel movement? Is it every one to three days? Because that’s normal. Or is it six times a day or every six days? Those are not normal. And so we can dive into that. Do you feel like you have to strain really hard in order to have your bowel movement? We have evidence and plenty of it on straining to poop. And we need to be teaching people not to do that for their pelvic floor health. It’s a very simple and effective intervention. Do you use a squatty potty or do you use something under your feet to bring your knees up higher than your hips? For most cases, that’s going to dramatically improve the ability to go have a bowel movement. And that’s really, really helpful. And again, is there any leaking, any anal incontinence that is, again, flatulence or potentially stool? All of these, again, are good questions to ask, even if they’re not coming in with bowel problems for you to resolve. We want to go through this with them. And then vaginally, we’re going to ask some questions as well. Do you have any pain with insertion? So that insertion could be anything from a tampon to a penis, sex toy, or speculum exams. Do you have any pain with that insertion? And asking, do you have any loss of air, especially with our active individuals who might be going upside down, whether that’s in yoga, Pilates, CrossFit? Sometimes people can have loss of air or queefing. And we want to know about that because all of these things really paint a picture for us. Now, usually, this takes up quite a bit of time. I mean, I’ve been talking about what questions to ask for the last 10 minutes with absolutely no answers behind them. So this typically is a really good starting point and often is the vast majority of my first virtual pelvic floor assessment. However, I like to leave time for a few more questions and then getting into education as my trial treatment. So the few other questions that we always want to know is what is exercise or movement look like, how is sleep, and what do you do for stress management? Some of these questions you can ask in your intake paperwork. You may want to go over that with them as well. But looking at them as a whole person and looking at their pelvic floor issues as a whole. And then from here, we do trial treatments as education. So depending on how they answer any of these questions, typically, and it’s beyond the scope of this podcast to really talk about various education pieces for each of those questions, but I’m going to educate and I’m going to intervene. So maybe that is let’s start hydrating. Get yourself a favorite water bottle and I actually want you to hydrate. Or potentially it’s the opposite if they’re over hydrating. Maybe it’s can we decrease that intake throughout the day or right before bed? Maybe it’s get a squatty potty or get your toddler’s stool that’s right in front of the sink and slide that under your feet for when you need to have bowel movement. Going back to our initial example of the leaking with double unders, perhaps it is I want you to video yourself doing double unders from the side view and the front view and send it back to me. But between now and then, I want you to make sure that we are videoing it at the end of you’re having that leaking. And after we get that, I’m going to have you take more rest breaks if that’s what they need. Or maybe it’s go into your single unders since double unders are always causing leaking and throughout our plan of care, we are going to dive into that. I try to find some piece of education and something that we know will help them resolve a little bit of their issue and get us rolling with this. We talk about it in our live course, but we have good evidence for education actually improving pelvic floor symptoms. And I think there’s no better place to really feel that as a practitioner to feel the difference in the amount of education that you can provide and the amount of change that can occur. There’s no better place than in this virtual care where truly we are guides. I can do nothing with my hands. I can do nothing with my body to change how that individual is functioning. I purely have to use my voice and teach and ask questions. If you have not done virtual pelvic floor care, I would highly recommend it. It has made me a much better physical therapist altogether, much better at asking these questions and getting the information that I need. And it blends into both worlds, both virtual and in person. So if you haven’t done it, I highly recommend getting some patients in that virtual care because it can be really helpful. That needs to be all for today. I have a lot more that I could say, especially if we dive into the objective exam and how to do that. But I think that’s going to need to be a podcast part two for virtual care. So I will do that the next time I hop on to the daily show and talk with you all about how we do objective exams for pelvic floor virtual PT. Thank you all so much for joining me and listening in this Monday morning. Or if you’re listening later on the podcast, thank you for listening. One quick note, it is CrossFit Games Week and we are so, so excited to be cheering on our very own Kelly Bimpy at the Games with her team this year. So tune in to the Games. If you’re going to be there, let us know. There’s several of us ICE faculty that are going to be at the Games. We would love to see you and say hello. And I don’t know, maybe we can snag a workout in or something. But we are so excited. It is Games Week. Have an awesome week. Hopefully we’ll see you up north. If not, catch you later. Have a good one.

19:26 OUTRO
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