Dr Ruth Jones : A Closer Look at Pelvic Pain
Course Blog by Sundeep Nagi. MSc Physio, MCSP
Sat/Sunday 12th/13th March 2016
West Midlands , UK
After being an MSk physio for 15 yrs. I recently decided that I needed a change, a refocus in my clinical life. The unlikely direction I found myself heading towards was in fact Women’s Health and after a bit of research I knew that I wanted to adjust my skill set in order to achieve this transition. I saw the course ‘A closer look at pelvic pain’ with Dr Ruth Jones advertised and thought to myself, “Well you’ve got to start somewhere” so I booked a place with some excitement (I know, but we physios can be a nerdy lot). To be honest, when I signed up to do the course I was not entirely sure what it was all about, apart from the fact we would be centred on the topic of pelvic pain which I expected to be women’s health focused. So, it’s by a happy accident that I got more than I bargained for, and here is why:
After introductions we were straight into theory and background to pelvic floor assessment. So far so good. Ruth was really great at explaining some complex information in a no-nonsense format which suited me. This led into the practical side of internal pelvic assessment before morning coffee which, whilst nerve racking for a newbie like me, was probably the best order to do things. Ruth’s manner is very enthusiastic and inclusive which gave me so much confidence that I actually volunteered to be a model! Whilst completely out of character for me, it was worth the nerves. I gained a valuable learning experience and it was certainly a novel follow on from the usual icebreakers! The women’s health veterans were in their element and quite happy to initiate me into their ranks. Having great ‘course colleagues’ meant that I could overcome my anxieties in a supportive environment and I gained so much from their collective knowledge and expertise.
The afternoon session focused on assessment and treatment of trigger points alongside more holistic management of chronic pelvic pain. So a bit more anatomy and theory followed by practice in locating and treating trigger points in the pelvic floor. This course is absolutely jam packed so you get a lot of hands on practice and feedback on your techniques. Really great for building confidence.
By the end of day one I could definitely say that my perspective on pelvic pain and my clinical practice would be forever changed.
Everyone was now so comfortable with each other that re-assessing and practicing internal trigger point treatment techniques did not faze us. We got straight to it and practiced the essential and most reliable tests related to pelvic girdle pain to act as markers prior to treatment. It’s one thing for the course tutor to demonstrate immediate improvement following trigger point release and exercise, but Ruth assured us that it really was that simple, and amazingly we all found we could achieve the same with our symptomatic colleagues.
The rest of the day saw me back on familiar ground as the focus moved to assessment of movement dysfunction and at how to manage this externally with exercise and functional advice in order to affect pelvic pain. Ruth was really clear about linking functional rehabilitation ideas and specific retraining exercises so that the patient could take control and positively affect their own symptoms. She is very skilled at combining evidence and theory with the practical aspects of treating patients and this is is probably because she continues to spend time assessing and treating real people in real pain.
Because of the musculoskeletal elements to both assessment and treatment I really felt that Ruth was communicating in a language familiar to me. The added elements of pelvic floor examination and learning about the overlap with uro-gynae symptoms which we usually ignore (unless you are a women’s/Men’s health physio) was a real ‘eureka’ moment for me. Don’t let that deter you if you come from a women’s health background though. The feedback from my women’s health colleagues was that they had also gained a new perspective and some valuable skills to go with it.
Whether you are a women’s/men’s health physio or work in MSk I would recommend this course as being relevant and useful- you really will wonder why you didn’t link it up before now. This course is fantastic if you sit on either side of the speciality fence and it has unexpectedly helped to reconnect me to the ideals of treating patients holistically.
Women’s Health Physio
Physiotherapy Lecturer , Leicester University, UK