After giving birth to her son in February 2014, Carrie Clark, 30, of Columbia couldn’t alleviate her neck and back pain. When at Mizzou Therapy Services-Rangeline for physical therapy, she began talking to Jennifer Stone, DPT, OCS, about her pelvic pain, too.
“Being a new mom, I just thought the pain I was experiencing was normal after giving birth,” Carrie said.
What Carrie hadn’t known — and what many women don’t realize — is that ongoing pelvic pain can often be eliminated or significantly reduced with physical therapy. Fortunately, Carrie had connected with a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor disorders by meeting Jennifer.
“It is similar to treating muscles in other parts of your body,” said Jennifer, the clinical supervisor of rehabilitation services at the clinic and a certified pelvic floor therapist. “Many people don’t really know what pelvic muscles do, but once they understand their function, patients are empowered in their treatment.”
For three months, Carrie attended separate weekly appointments for both neck pain and pelvic pain at the clinic with Jennifer as well as Theresa Hubbard, DPT, for some of her neck appointments. The therapy techniques for both areas were similar in Carrie’s treatment plan: myofascial release, or deep muscle massage, exercises in the clinic and exercises assigned to do at home.
Jennifer said that it is common for her to see patients who have endured pelvic pain for more than 10 years. Many patients who have lived with pain for decades didn’t learn until recently that their symptoms could be treated.
“It’s a very rewarding part of my job to see someone who has suffered with pain for so long leave here after a few weeks of therapy without pain,” Jennifer said.
For patients like Carrie, the impact is significant.
“Physical therapy has changed my life tremendously,” Carrie said. “I was in a lot of pain. It was hard for me to do my daily activities and I had a hard time taking care of my child. Once I was able to get through the day without pain, it changed the quality of my life tremendously.”