This is an interview Amy did for her other venture, the Alliance for Pelvic Pain. Check it out!
An Interview with Amy Stein: Renowned Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist in NYC and One of the Founding Members of the Alliance for Pelvic Pain: By Roseanne Cruz, PT, DPT, LLCC
Question 1: Ms. Stein, how was the Alliance formed?
Ms. Stein: Three to four years ago, Dr. Coady, Dr. Echenberg and I were discussing how we really need to organize a patient educational retreat. There are researched-based and educational conferences geared towards health care providers, but not patient-oriented conferences or retreats. Finally, we all got together and said that we need to do this! Dr. Deborah Coady, Dr. Robert Echenberg, Nancy Fish, Alexandra Milspaw, and I are all working hard on this project and know it will be a great success!
Question 2: How did the Alliance come up with the idea for the retreat?
Ms. Stein: At least 50% of our patients and other healthcare providers have either mentioned it or suggested it in the past. They have said that we need to get the retreat going. Even the IPPS talked about doing something like that, and is still considering this for the future.
Question 3: What would be the message that you want attendants of the course to come away with? What is your objective for this weekend retreat?
Ms. Stein: First and foremost, we want to create a safe learning environment where participants feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, feelings, frustrations, and any fears. We would like to increase awareness, provide education, and give patients more control of what they can do and how they can seek help. We want them to have a better awareness towards picking the appropriate practitioner(s), as well as meeting other pelvic pain sufferers/patients. Our goal is basically to give a medical perspective, PT perspective, and mental healthcare perspective, and give techniques for home-use to help manage their pain and stress associated with their dysfunction. Alex and Nancy will go in depth on how to communicate with other providers, family, and coworkers. We will all educate everyone on how to manage pelvic pain and sexual dysfunction, as well as relay that there is help and hope out there.
Question 4: What types of treatment techniques will attendants of the retreat learn?
Ms. Stein: From a medical standpoint, individuals will learn how to approach their doctor as well as explore various treatment options. From a PT perspective, patients will learn different manual techniques using various massage tools, such as foam rollers and trigger point balls. We will also go over various stretches and relaxation/breathing techniques to assist in breaking the pain cycle. In addition, I will go over what exactly is involved in a physical therapy evaluation and treatment sessions as well as what to look for when searching for a pelvic floor physical therapist. From a mental health perspective, the attendees will be going over relaxation techniques and behavioral training, as well as how to communicate and how to manage stress and anxiety.
Question 5: Why is physical therapy so important to integrate with this patient educational retreat?
It is predicted that 85% of pelvic pain has some type of musculoskeletal involvement. The pelvic floor muscles themselves are a group of muscles that form a sling at the base of the pelvis and control bowel, bladder, and sexual function. When these muscles are tight or not working properly, it can result in issues such as bowel or bladder incontinence, retention, or pelvic pain. Pelvic floor physical therapy is an integrated hands-on treatment that works to release the pelvic floor muscles, which are often one of the main causes of chronic pelvic pain. Physical therapy treatment sessions consist of a multimodal and a multidisciplinary approach to each patient’s entire well-being.
Thank you, Ms. Stein, for your time! We wish you, and the other members of the Alliance, much success with the retreat!