LifeMark Physiotherapy Welland
555 Prince Charles Drive North, Unit 108
Welland, ON L3C 6B5
We have chosen Karen Tausendfreund to be our first featured therapist for the Professional Spotlight. She was in the first graduating class from our inaugural Level one course with Pelvic Health Solutions, and has diligently taken every course that she had access to since then. Instead of finishing up the last ten years of her career in what she had been comfortably doing for the past 36 years, Karen has embraced this significant shift in her practice, and has gone above and beyond in her training and pursuit of excellence. Karen has an incredible passion for pelvic health and her profession, and has been involved on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Physiotherapy Association. Karen takes every opportunity to educate her colleagues and is an excellent role model for younger physiotherapists. Thank you Karen for your passion and for all that you have done to give back to your profession!
How long have you been practicing pelvic health physiotherapy?
January 2010, 5 1/2 years ago I took my first pelvic health course, and I have never looked back.
What lead you into the specialty of pelvic health?
I naively took my first course thinking I would learn more about how the pelvic floor contributed to low back pain and core stability. What I learned was the pelvic floor does so much more than simply contribute to stabilization of the spine, pelvis and the hips. It is also has an important role in maintaining continence, supporting the internal organs, sexual function and the lymphatic system for the pelvis. It is intrinsically tied to our emotions and our fears making it essential to our total wellbeing. When the pelvic floor does not function properly it has a systemic impact on many bodily functions. Pelvic Health is an integrated practice that addresses the whole person and that is what really interests me. This is why I love the practice of pelvic health and this is what drives me to keep learning more.
What do you love most about your profession?
I want to make a difference. As I physiotherapist I love using the skills I have to help people overcome their particular issue and improve the quality of their life. What I love about our profession is the opportunity to continually grow and learn. I am passionate about what I do and in this profession there are so many options to find your niche.
Which course did you enjoy the most/what course has changed your clinical practice the most?
Level I (Incontinence) & II (Pelvic Pain) were key to learning to assess and treat pelvic floor dysfunction but it was really level III (Treating Pain: A New Model Of Care) & The Pelvic Floor Without Borders that has really changed my practice. It helped me to understand how I could integrate what I knew about pain science with other alternative /complimentary practices such as Yoga, Qi Gong, and Eric Franklin exercises in order to help re-map the sensors-motor cortex, and to change the upregulated nervous system.
What has been your most rewarding experience?
One of my very first pelvic health clients was a 33-year-old married woman, with vaginismus. She desperately wanted to have children. Eventually through pelvic health physiotherapy she was able to have pain free intercourse and was able to deliver a beautiful baby girl. She subsequently went on to have a second child and I am now assisting her in her postpartum recovery since she developed a rectus diastasis, or separation of the abdominal wall muscles. Vaginismus was something I had never heard of until I started practicing pelvic health. Now I have been able to help many women of various ages restore this important aspect of their life. Pain free intercourse is a basic physiological need.
What advice would you provide to new physiotherapists getting started in pelvic health?
Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy is an incredibly rewarding area of practice. Not only can you improve the person’s function but you can change the quality of people’s lives. The pelvic floor has long been overlooked and often shrouded with guilt and shame. When I graduated from University of Toronto in 1979, there was no anatomy or discussion on pelvic floor function. It is time to bring the pelvic floor back into the body and treat every patient as a whole, addressing all of their concerns. Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy should be part of undergraduate education as most pelvic floor issues are neuromuscular in origin and respond very well to neuromuscular solutions. Physiotherapists have the skills to effectively treat pelvic floor dysfunction and research supports this approach before embarking on medication and/or surgery. Don’t be shy, “Embrace the Pelvic Floor”. These courses will give you the knowledge and skills you need. Resources are available so that you can make this transition to pelvic health practice seamlessly. You are not alone.