After featuring The Functional Pelvis on The Rehab Potential show, I received multiple comments about pelvic health and got a small glimmer of how huge the need is in this practice area. If you have any questions about how to help someone on your caseload or how to get further training, definitely contact Lindsey. She is a great practitioner and a great person!
Interviewing Lindsey Vestel
When did you first become interested in pelvic health?
When I was in grad school. In our studies, I began to notice that I was really drawn to the psycho-social aspect of OT. As a side note, I was always interested in womens' health issues. When I became aware that the muscles in the pelvic floor were just like any other muscle in the body, I realized that I could make a significant on the quality of life of the people I work with. People often become very withdrawn from participating in their ADLs and IADLs when incontinence or pelvic pain becomes a struggle for them. It is so rewarding to be able to empower them to take control over the very basic function of bowel and bladder management.
How have you obtained special training in the this area?
Pelvic Health is often practiced by PTs so when I take my continuing ed coursework, I am usually the only OT present. I have begun to connect with lots of OTs in both the US and Canada who are working in this field. I really feel like it's a natural fit for OTs since within our scope of practice is both Toileting and Sexuality. In addition, our background in mental health really prepares us for some of the more significant challenges that this population faces.
Some of the coursework that I have taken includes:
- Biofeedback Training and Incontinence Solutions: Biofeedback Evaluation and Treatment for Elimination Disorders and Pelvic Floor Disorders and a Hands-On Biofeedback for Complex Pelvic Floor Case
- Marquette University: Behavioral and Rehabilitation Treatment of Bowel Disorders - An Advanced Course
- Herman & Wallace Pelvic Floor Function, Dysfunction and Treatment - PF1 and Pelvic Floor Function
- Colorectal and Coccyx Conditions, Male Pelvic Floor, Pudendal Nerve Dysfunction and finally through Maitland: Sacroiliac Joint and the Pelvis
What led you to venture into independent practice?
My private practice in unique; I am the only one in Manhattan doing it. I provide care for my patients in the privacy of their own home. I find this leads to better outcomes because they are much more comfortable being in their own space versus a more clinical or busy environment such as a gym. When I though of the home being an ideal place to treat this population, I found that no one else was doing it. That's when the idea of the Functional Pelvis was born.
What have you learned along the way?
The very taboo topic of pelvic floor muscle dysfunction which includes bowel and bladder issues and pelvic pain provides me with the opportunity to focus on some very interesting cases. I work with both men and women (which includes postpartum women and post menopausal women) and I find it such a privilege to enable people to talk about topics that can often be challenging to discuss. I enjoy helping them to feel more comfortable and at ease. Once they find pelvic rehab, I can't tell you how often I hear how comforting is it that someone finally understands some of the challenges that they have been dealing with. The topics that I discuss and treat are often overlooked by most practitioners either because they don't know how to ask the questions or the patient may be uncomfortable to bring it up. I have heard topics like incontinence described as the "hand on the doorknob" conversation. If a patient actually feels comfortable bringing it up to their gynecologist or general practitioner, it may be as they are leaving. I take great pride in that these same topics are brought up when my patients walk in the door, not when they leave.
How can we contact you?
I encourage any OTs who are interested in learning more about this specialty to reach out to me at email@example.com. I would love to help inspire more of us to be in this very rewarding field!