Login
Register

Home

About Us

Diagnoses

Treatments

Classes

Resources

Media

Testimonials

Blog

Account

Blog
Register

A 101 on the credentials, training, and skills of pelvic floor therapists

Two recently published articles, in the International Urogynecology Journal and in Neurourology and Urodynamics talk about the positive outcomes of treatment with trained pelvic floor therapists. Today is a basic rundown of what kinds of credentials, training, and skills pelvic floor therapists have to offer you.

Credentials

Pelvic floor therapists are often physical therapists (PT) or occupational therapists (OT). Both of these disciplines require academically rigorous coursework that covers topics from anatomy and kinesiology, to neuroscience, and the evaluation, treatment, and management of common diagnoses. They are also trained in a medical system, and are aware of "red flags" in signs and symptoms that patients may present with. These "red flags" will typically require additional medical referral to rule in or out (i.e. suspected masses, infection, etc).

You will often find a jumble of letters after your pelvic floor therapist’s name. Here is a breakdown of what those letters mean:

PT, MPT, MSPT, or DPT: These letters represent the degree that your physical therapist earned. For many years, physical therapists earned a bachelor's degree prior to becoming licensed. Later, schools transitioned to master's degree programs. The letters MPT or MSPT indicates a master's degree in physical therapy. Most programs today now train therapists for a DPT degree, which stands for doctorate of physical therapy.

OT, MOT, MSOT, or OTD: These letters represent the degree that your occupational therapist earned. Like physical therapy, occupational therapy programs have evolved over time, requiring at first bachelor’s degrees, then master’s degrees, and now transitioning towards doctorate degrees. MOT or MSOT indicates a master’s degree in occupational therapy. OTD indicates a doctorate of occupational therapy.

Training

In addition to the academics that go into getting a PT or OT degree, pelvic floor therapists have advanced training in everything about the pelvis: the bone structure, muscles, nerves, tissues, and organs of the pelvic area. This knowledge extends to the other systems that may affect the pelvis: movement patterns, neurological pain perception patterns, constipation and motility issues, water intake, etc.

With all of this extra training, pelvic floor therapists are better able to understand the complexities of your body and your symptoms. With such a holistic and all-encompassing view of everything “pelvis,” pelvic floor therapists can then design a treatment plan that is totally personalized to you and what you need in the moment.

Diagnoses Treated

Pelvic floor dysfunction is complex, with many dovetailing issues contributing to symptoms and pain. Pelvic floor therapists treat conditions including:

Some clients often see a multidisciplinary team to treat their conditions. These teams often include a pelvic floor PT/OT, other specialists including OB/GYN, pain specialists, massage therapists, yoga therapists, dieticians, and others.  

Be wary of “Pelvic Floor Therapists” Without Proper Licensure or Training
There are some practitioners who claim to do pelvic floor therapy, but their practices may not be science based or medically sound. It is good to make sure that their licensure, credentials, training, and practices are up to par with the care that you deserve.

How to find a pelvic floor therapist
The best first step in getting care for your pelvic floor issues is to see your doctor. Pelvic floor therapists work in most major hospitals, large clinics, and in smaller outpatient clinics like Fusion Wellness PT/ Femina PT. In some states a doctor’s referral is required, so be prepared with some articles about pelvic floor therapy to show your doctor, in case they don’t know what it is (a surprising amount of practitioners do not know about pelvic floor therapy).

Resources

American Physical Therapy Association. Appropriate use of designations. Accessed on 10/17/18 at http://www.apta.org/Designations/

Berghmans, B. (2018). Physiotherapy for pelvic pain and female sexual dysfunction: an untapped resource. International Urogynecology Journal29(5), 631–638. http://doi.org/10.1007/s00192-017-3536-8

Sun, et al. Comparison of outcomes between postpartum and non-postpartum women with stress urinary incontinence treated with conservative therapy: A prospective cohort study. [Neurourol Urodyn] 2018 Apr; Vol. 37 (4), pp. 1426-1433. Date of Electronic Publication: 2017 Dec 11.

**This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor.

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active
 

As Featured In

ABC News
cosmo-square
womens-health
Shape Magazine
huffpo-as-featured
livestrong
hello-giggles
sex-with-emily
popsugar
bustle
kroq
health
ny-mag
logo-mom.me
loveline_listen_live
considerable

What They Say About Us

  • Testimonials

    • Testimonial by Jackie W.

      I was in multiple car accidents a decade ago, and I have been to many physical therapists through the years without success. They found the root of my lower back pain problems and after nearly a decade of barely being able to walk I finally can again without pain. They are also the best pelvic floor pts and the only ones who found the connection between my pelvic floor and lower back problems. If you need help with physical pain, they are your answer. -- Jackie W., 1/19/17 via Yelp!

  • Testimonials

    • Testimonial by S.P., Age 26

      I would like to start off by thanking Heather Jeffcoat for educating me and curing me of Vaginismus. I had been married for almost three years before I was referred to Heather. I never knew about Vaginismus until almost three years into my marriage. I knew something was wrong when I went on my honeymoon and came back a Virgin. I had always imagined how magical my first night would be but boy was I wrong.

Newsletter