On September 18th, at 7pm we will be kicking off our fall semester of pelvic health education class, we call Pelvic Health 101 (PH101). In our first class we will be introducing you to the pelvic floor muscles, where they are, what they do, and how they relate to the health and function of your bowel, bladder, and sexual functioning. We will also be covering how things such as alignment, posture, muscle tone and nerves can affect your symptoms. This course is a great starting point to help you understand your pelvic floor and pelvic floor symptoms.
Have you noticed an increase in the amount of pink on just about everything the last couple of days? The increase of pink everything is because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast Cancer is an extremely common cancer. According to the Nation Breast Cancer Foundation, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Men can also get breast cancer, however, it is much rarer for men to develop breast cancer. Luckily with early detection and treatment of early stage and localized cancer, the 5-year relative survival rate is 100%. That being said, early detection is crucial and it is important to catch breast cancer early to ensure the best possible outcome. Let’s take some time to review the signs of breast cancer and recommended screening protocols.
Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Change of Sensation/ texture of the Breast or Nipples
Lumps, change in texture in the breast, nipple, or underarm area
Change in appearance of Breast or Nipple
Change of nipple orientation
Discharge from nipple
Recommended every 1-2 years for women who are 40 years old or older.
May be recommended for women who are under 40, but have increased risk of breast cancer.
For some types of breast cancer, there is a very specific link to a person’s genes and her or his risk of developing breast cancer. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that are responsible for the production of certain tumor-suppressing proteins. In some populations, there are mutations in these genes that disable their tumor-fighting properties. These gene mutations are relatively rare and currently, screening is recommended just for individuals with increased risk of harboring these mutations. According to the National Cancer Institute, individuals who are at higher risk and should consider genetic testing are:
Individuals who have a male relative who has developed breast cancer
History of BRCA related cancers within family history
People of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish ancestry
Breast Cancer diagnosed before age 50 in family
Multiple cases of breast cancer in family
Individuals that test positive for BRCA mutations may consider increased screening, prophylactic surgery or chemoprevention.
Mastectomy and Physical Therapy
Mastectomy, removal of the breast is currently the most common treatment for breast cancer. Some women chose to have their breasts reconstructed after their mastectomy and others do not. It is obviously a very personal choice. Like any surgery, mastectomies require close postoperative care to ensure maximal function and recovery.
You may have read the last sentence, and thought, “What is the function of the breast, besides breastfeeding and for sexual pleasure?” The breast lies in an important intersection in the body. The armpit (axilla) contains bundles of nerves, blood vessels, and lymph vessels that course through it, serving the arm down to the fingers. After a mastectomy, their course can be interrupted by scar tissue, radiation damage (if your treatment included radiation), causing painful conditions such as nerve entrapments, frozen shoulder, and lymphedema, ( a backup of lymph fluid, if left unchecked can cause permanent damage and deformation of the arm).
Victoria LaManna, DPT, CLT, is our lymphedema expert. If you have had a mastectomy and are unsure about lymphedema care, she is an excellent resource. She will be able to instruct you in self- care and lymphedema prevention measures. Physical therapy can also help to release scar tissue in the breast and upper arm area, regain strength in the arm, and ultimately improve your function. Visit us, and read up on Victoria’s bio here, as well ask on our website at: www.beyondbasicspt.com/lymphedema
Like doctors, nurses, and many other practitioners, physical therapists are required to do clinical rotations in order to gain experience and graduate from their program. Every year, Beyond Basics participates in hosting a final year physical therapy doctoral student to complete his or her clinical. This year is no different, except this year we took two! Both of our students Monica and Julia are in their final year of their doctoral program at Columbia University. They were selected to join us because of their high academic achievement, interest in pelvic floor rehabilitation, and completion of pelvic floor continuing education classes. We are honored to have them and we want to take some time to introduce them to you. Our first profile is that of Monica.
1.) Where are you from, if you are from somewhere else, what brought you to NYC?
I was born here in New York City and then raised in Central New Jersey. For undergrad, I went to New York University where I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama and have stayed in New York to complete my doctorate at Columbia University.
2.) Did you work before PT school, if so what did you do?
I was a fitness trainer for 10 years before physical therapy school school, working as a master trainer and spokesperson for New York Sports Clubs, as well as the Official Trainer for Subway Restaurants. I was also a contributing editor for Fitness Magazine. Currently, I train and teach yoga privately.
3.) What made you want to be a PT?
Although I loved working with healthy clients as a trainer, I always wished that I could help people more when they were injured. Physical therapy allows me to help people on that deeper level. Plus, I also always loved learning about the human body and wanted to go beyond the advanced personal training certifications I was collecting. Working with people has always been a part of my life and physical therapy allows me to continue connecting with individuals while I’m given an opportunity to improve their lives.
4.) What made you want to intern at Beyond Basics?
When I was volunteering at PT clinics before I began PT school, I had THREE different friends who needed pelvic PT at the same time. One friend needed rehab after surgery for endometriosis and also had dyspareunia. The second person had severe back and pelvic pain post-partum. The third friend was having urinary incontinence issues during the second trimester of her pregnancy. Fortunately, these friends invited me to come to their PT sessions to observe their treatments. I saw how much pelvic health rehabilitation improved my friends’ lives first hand. This helped me realize my desire to become a Pelvic Health therapist. Beyond Basics’ reputation for quality patient care is well known and I want to learn from the best. After attending seminars at Beyond Basics and experiencing the warm, welcoming, professional atmosphere, I had no doubt as to where I’d want to complete my final internship.
5.) What do you do for fun?
I’m the principal director for the Class of 2017 for Fairytale Physical Therapy, a group of physical therapy students that brings musical theatre to children in hospitals. Each show teaches the kids two choreographed dances that are composed of therapeutic exercises. Last week, I played Elsa at Blythedale Children’s Hospital and LOVED it (My husband jumped in and played Kristoff too!). My 4 year old dog Lola and I also compete in agility (think: jumping over hurdles and through tunnels). I also teach Pet CPR/First Aid and am a Reiki Master Teacher.
6.) What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting in PT school?
Physical therapy school is like trying to drink out of a fire hydrant. There’s only so much you can drink at once and that’s okay. You’ll have a whole career ahead of you to understand absolutely everything. Schedule time for yourself. Make time for your loved ones. Even if it’s only 30 minutes. You will be refreshed and efficient for school if you allow yourself to take breaks every once in awhile. Breathe. Focus. Believe in yourself.
Do you find yourself with a full map of every public restroom along your daily commute in your head? Do you find yourself competing for the aisle seat at movies so you can sneak away to the bathroom? Does it hurt to go? Do you get up multiple times a night? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this week’s Pelvic Health 101 is for you.
On Thursday, March 23 at 7pm, join Stephanie Stamas, physical therapist at Beyond Basics Physical Therapy, for all of the ins and outs of bladder health. Learn how the bladder works, common bladder disorders, and practical tips for helping your bladder symptoms. Light refreshments will be served.
On March 16, 2017 at 7pm we will be kicking off our spring semester of pelvic health education class, we call Pelvic Health 101 (PH101). In our first class we will be introducing you to the pelvic floor muscles, where they are, what they do, and how they relate to the health and function of your bowel, bladder, and sexual functioning. We will also be covering how things such as alignment, posture, muscle tone and nerves can affect your symptoms. This course is a great starting point to help you understand your pelvic floor and pelvic floor symptoms.
Gluten free, soy free, low FODMAP. It’s amazing how many diets there are out there that really can provide people with symptom relief. If you are suffering with chronic pain you may be confused on where to start, or what is right for you. You also may have tried out a bunch of different ways of eating, not seen results and have gotten really frustrated. If this is the case for you, I highly encourage you to come to our next pelvic health seminar on October 27th at 7pm, “Does my diet really matter”.
This seminar will be hosted by a special guest speaker, nutritionist Jessica Drummond. Jessica Drummond is a former pelvic floor physical therapist who now specializes in nutrition for those suffering with pelvic floor dysfunction. This seminar was a hit last year and is a great starting point for those considering adding nutrition as part of their healing journey.
Earlier this summer, we discussed the nature of pain. In Putting Pain Into Context, We discussed how pain is comprised of two distinct components: the physical stimulus and how our brain interprets that stimulus. Both meditation and yoga are helpful techniques to help retrain how your brain responds to pain.
Join us on October 13th at 7pm for an introduction to both restorative yoga and meditation. Learn more about the science and try it out yourself with Anne Taylor, yoga instructor specializing in chronic pain and Ryanne Glasper, Physical Therapist and yoga instructor. Come find out how these techniques may be helpful for you!