Do Older Moms Live Longer?

By Riva Preil

According to NPR, a recent study published in the journal Menopause revealed that women who gave birth to their last child after the age of thirty three are twice as likely to live until the age of ninety five (or beyond!) when compared to women who birthed their last child before age twenty nine.

Thomas Perls, a geriatrician at Boston Medical Center, hypothesizes that the ability to conceive at more advanced ages is correlated with a SLOWLY AGING BODY, including the reproductive system.  Other research suggests that there may be a genetic connection between longevity and the ability to bear children later in life.

However you slice it, it would be incorrect to state that there is a direct cause and effect relationship between birthing at later ages and living longer.  After all, there is a degree of CHOICE involved with conception.  Older women may choose to use contraception even if they theoretically have the ability to conceive.

Therefore, a different and possibly more accurate factor to consider is the age of menopause.  This component accounts for the length of an individual’s reproductive ability, and it would be fascinating to explore whether or not there is a connection between this process (which is NOT in the woman’s control) and longevity.

Time will tell…let the research begin!  Until then, may ALL pregnant women have happy, healthy, and safe pregnancies and long happy lives!

Fancy Pants

By Mary Hughes

We all know Victoria’s Secret has always supported and lifted our “girls,” but who knew that there is a company out there to support and lift the “fellas”?  Enter Frigo RevolutionWear AKA “Tempur-Pedic Banana Hammocks.”

We just discovered an article in Market Watch reveals “the key to the product is an interior mesh pouch that separates a man’s “package,” as Matthew Butlein, president of underwear retailer, delicately puts it. (Freshpair is the exclusive online source for the $100 pair.) Not only does that help prevent sweating — by virtue of avoiding “skin on skin,” says Butlein — it also offers more support. (And its adjustable support, too — there’s an elastic band that controls the degree of lift and separation.)”

What do you think, dear readers? Would you try it? Let us know in the comments!

Live (Yesterday) from New York!

By Riva Preil

Even if you snoozed, you DIDN’T lose your chance!  If you missed yesterday’s live episode of The Pelvic Messenger, May the Floors Force Be With You with Diane Lee, you can STILL listen to it and enjoy her knowledge and wisdom. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to interview such a renowned clinician and educator, and I am pleased to share my reflections on the experience with you.

Diane opened the conversation with a description of her professional journey and telling us about her role models.  She then described the Integrated Systems Model and explained the difference between form closure, force closure, and motor control.

Diane also elaborated upon various postpartum issues that mothers may face, and she shared helpful hints with listeners regarding how to address those problems.  (I don’t want to spoiler alert y’all and ruin the excitement for you, but I WILL give you a hint: Baby Belly Belt. Listen to the show, link below, for more details!)

Diane proceeded to discuss some of her most rewarding experiences as a physical therapist, and she whet our appetite for her upcoming International Pelvic Pain Society presentation (October 22-26 in Chicago, Illinois).  She also described her upcoming exciting trip to South Africa, where she will work with other PTs to educate health care providers and treat underprivileged women. One of my favorite parts was when Diane extended a PERSONAL INVITATION to me to join her on her medical mission!

It was an honor and privilege to (virtually) meet one of MY role models, and I encourage you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.  Comments and feedback are warmly welcome- this was my first show (!) and I would love to hear your thoughts 🙂

P.S. The interview starts 1 minute and 13 seconds into the show, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t hear anything for the first minute or so. ENJOY!    

Kegels for Men?!

While Kegel exercises have typically been prescribed for women’s health, men richly benefit from them as well. Just as with women, the muscles in a man’s pelvic floor are the foundations of urinary and sexual health. As author Roni Carin Rabin writes in an article in this week’s New York Times, “Like all muscles, these weaken with age, doctors say. In order to strengthen them, men are told to tighten the muscles they might normally use to cut off the flow of urine midstream or prevent passing gas in a closed space. The contractions are held for a few seconds, then released, with the motion repeated 10 to 15 times for each workout.”

Amy discusses this phenomenon in her book, Heal Pelvic Pain. As she writes:

Men typically suffer the same two basic categories of [pelvic] disorder that women suffer—namely, those that result from muscles that are too tight and/or nerves that are irritated, and those resulting from muscles that are too weak. Not surprisingly, the disorders derive from the same basic causes as well:

Maybe it was too many Saturday afternoons at the stadium sitting too long on a hard surface. Or too many long, fast bike rides on that narrow, high-tech, Italian bicycle saddle. Maybe it was the heavy lifting you did when you helped out on your neighbor’s house renovation, or decided you’d like to split the firewood logs yourself, or hauled the summer deck furniture back into the garage in the autumn, or took up weight training at the gym and did it to excess.  The irritation and discomfort that ensue from acute prostatitis can lead to a habitual holding and tightening of the pelvic floor muscles resulting in pelvic floor dysfunction. A simple fall, especially if you landed on the tailbone, or that old sports injury from when you slid into third base last summer and hammered your sacroiliac: any and all of these can result, sooner or later, in a pelvic floor disorder.

One other cause that happens to men only is a prostatectomy—that is, the removal of the prostate—or radiation treatment for prostate cancer or any reproductive cancers. As any prostate cancer patient knows, these therapies for the disease can result in problems of incontinence and erectile dysfunction. In such cases, your oncologist may only be able to promise you that function will come back “within a year or so,” not a terribly cheerful prognosis. What your doctor may not tell you is that a specialist in pelvic floor dysfunction may be able to help.

She prescribes a variety of exercises to perform if you or someone you know is suffering from male pelvic pain, so pick up a copy of Heal Pelvic Pain today to learn more!


Research Proves Yet Again…

By Riva Preil

The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy recently published a “Perspectives for Patients” article (July 2014) about the benefits of physical therapy in pregnant and post-partum populations.

The authors of the article reviewed 1,284 articles that were published between 1992 and 2013, and they found there is abundant evidence in support of exercise as a primary tool to target pregnancy-related low back and pelvic pain. This is great news considering that anywhere between 24 to 90% of pregnant women experience pain during pregnancy (and that approximately one third of those women continue to experience pain after delivery)!

Exercise has been shown to decrease pain, improve function, and reduce sick leave amongst expectant mothers.  Furthermore, physical therapists perform manual therapy as well as patient education on proper lifting techniques and transferring techniques.  In addition, they can fit patients for braces or support belts if and when appropriate.

Are you pregnant and experiencing pain?  Or have you recently delivered a baby and your body is still feeling “off”?  An individualized home exercise program from a specialized physical therapist might be the solution for you! Fortunately, we here at Beyond Basics are trained to help women with their pregnancy and post-partum related physical challenges.  Please request a prescription from your doctor so we can help you as soon as possible!

May the Floor’s Force Be With You! (Part 2)

By Riva Preil

The theory behind The Integrated Systems Model for Disability & Pain, an approach co-developed with L-J Lee, is an evidence-based whole body/person approach to help optimize function and performance.  This approach considers regional alignment, biomechanics and control during meaningful task analysis and determines something called the ‘primary driver’ when there are multiple sites failing to transfer load well during the task being analyzed.  The primary driver is the area of the body that when treated will have the biggest impact on function and performance of the rest of the body.

Diane treats, teaches, writes, and creates.  Her enormous contributions to the world of pelvic floor physical therapy are recognized and appreciated.  Please tune in to the show on July 22 at 3 PM to experience Diane’s brilliance and creativity first hand.  For those who can’t tune in live, the show will be archived and accessible at:

Can’t wait until July 22 and thirsty for knowledge TODAY?  Previous shows are available RIGHT NOW!  Check out the links below for incredible options:

May the Floor’s Force Be With You! (Part 1)

By Riva Preil

Last week, I encouraged you to “stay tuned for more details” regarding my upcoming blog talk radio show entitled May the Floor’s Force Be With You on The Pelvic Messenger. Thank you for waiting patiently and here they are!

On the next Pelvic Messenger, Diane Lee will discuss the forces that affect the pelvic floor and how to maintain pelvic floor health.

Diane Lee has been practicing physical therapy for almost 40 years, and she is the owner and senior Therapist at Diane Lee and Associates.  Diane has been a member of the Canadian Physiotherapist Association since 1976, and she has been a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Therapy (FCAMPT) since 1981. In addition, she created the Com-pressor, a unique, patented sacroiliac support belt as well as the newly released Baby Belly Belt, a specialized pelvic support with broader applications.

Diane is internationally recognized as an expert in the field of thoracic, lumbar, sacroiliac, and pelvic disability and pain.  The fourth and latest edition of her popular book, The Pelvic Girdle, serves as a crucial guide for many practitioners.


Meet Our New Team Member: Stephanie Stamas!

By Riva Preil

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I introduce you to Stephanie Stamas, the newest member of our BBPT family!

You may remember Stephanie from her time here as a student physical therapist last spring.  You may also remember her from her previous blog post contributions (April 12 and April 17, 2013) on the connection between pelvic floor dysfunction and connective tissue disorders (see links below).  In addition, she made a guest appearance in my blog (February 14, 2014) after I attended CSM and enjoyed her research presentation.

We are all thrilled that Stephanie has returned!  Please enjoy the following interview that I conducted with Stephanie:

  • What made you decide to specialize in pelvic floor physical therapy?

Growing up my mom had a lot of medical issues. She always seemed to be dealing with a new disease and with it came more physical and emotional pain. She dealt with her pain with grace, but it was still hard to see her always feeling bad.  It left a deep impression on me and gave me a huge heart toward women dealing with chronic pain. When I first went to PT school I didn’t know that pelvic floor therapy existed. When I first learned about it, my initial impression was – “well, that’s weird, who would ever want to do that?” But slowly the desire to pursue the field grew in me and led me to take a Herman & Wallace course and do an internship at Beyond Basics PT. I LOVED IT! Not only was I able to help women, but men and children as well. The field is so rewarding and it gives me hope for so many individuals, especially my mom.

  • What are you most excited about in joining the Beyond Basics family?

There are so many things that I am looking forward to, where do I start? First off, studying and learning under Amy Stein is such an incredible opportunity. She’s a guru in the field and a highly respected clinician.  It is an honor to be at her clinic. She is very invested in the clinical growth and development of her physical therapists. Not only is she excellent, but she wants her PTs to be excellent as well and I’m excited to both rise to the challenge and grow this year clinically and experientially.  The company culture at BBPT is also another reason I’m excited to join the family. The entire staff is very supportive and values helping each other out. I also haven’t worked for a clinic that has company outings and I’m really looking forward to our beach day in August!

  • Can you tell us a little more about your background?

I am originally from Orlando, Florida and moved to New York City in 2010 to get my Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons. While in Florida I got my BS in Athletic Training at the University of Florida (Go Gators!).  I worked as an athletic trainer at a local high school for a year prior to moving to the city. It was as an athletic trainer that I started to build my evaluative and manual skills, as well as gaining exposure working with a pediatric population.  While a doctoral student at Columbia, I began participating in research focused on the relationship between a diastasis recti in pregnant women and pelvic girdle/low back pain. I have continued with the research, and we were selected to present at APTA CSM (American Physical Therapy Association – Combined Sections Meeting) in Las Vegas last February! It was a great time of meeting others in the Women’s Health section and learning what other research is being done to further our field. My research team is currently in the process of writing up our findings, so keep an eye out!

  • What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love community and bringing people together, especially when it involves good food and wine! In my free time I love to cook with friends, have people around my dinner table and enjoy good conversations until late at night. I also enjoy reading, picnics in the summer, ramen, traveling with my husband and snuggling up with my two cats (Pickles & Bella) at the end of the day.

Roseanne Schoen, Stephanie Stamas, and Dania Kafka at our office party last year!


The Pelvic Messenger

By Riva Preil

You have heard my “written voice” for many months now via my blog, and now you will have the opportunity to hear my actual voice…via our new BLOG TALK RADIO show! That’s right, my friends. The new and exciting project BBPT has undertaken is helping conduct The Pelvic Messenger blog talk radio show.

The goal of The Pelvic Messenger is to provide educational talk radio shows on various chronic pelvic pain topics and to provide hope and healing to individuals who suffer from pain related symptoms.

The Pelvic Messenger is supported by the International Pelvic Pain Society (IPPS), Beyond Basics Physical Therapy, and the Alliance for Pelvic Pain. It is devoted to promoting awareness of various pelvic floor related disorders and pelvic pain in men, women, and children. It also is committed to improving patient and healthcare providers education on chronic pelvic pain.

Elisabeth Oas is the founder and previous host of Pelvic Messenger. Current hosts include Amy Stein, Alexandra Milspaw, Stephanie Prendergast, Michelle Waterstreet, and…yours truly.

The most recent show, approximately one week ago, was fantastic! Alexandra Milspaw interviewed Dr. Gina Ogden, sex therapist, on the topic of The Heart and Soul of Sexual Healing. Missed it?   No worries…all shows are archived and accessible afterwards. To enjoy the show yourself, please refer to this link.

Furthermore, I encourage you check out The Pelvic Messenger on Facebook and to “like” the fan page.

STAY TUNED FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT UPCOMING SHOWS! I look forward to hearing YOUR voice, dear reader, when you call in with questions when I am the host.