Updated: Feb 4, 2022
Upon moving to Midland, I found it difficult to filter through and find qualified medical providers for specialty services. Pelvic Physical Therapy is a HIGHLY skilled specialty service and finding a qualified Pelvic Physical Therapist (PT) can be a difficult task no matter where you live! The goal of this post today is to direct you towards online directories and resources that can expedite the search process as well as give you some local options for Pelvic PT!
Resources to find a local Pelvic PT
Listed below are SIX different resources to utilize when looking for a local Pelvic PT. I find that I don’t have to typically go any further than #1 and #2 but just know these are available to assist in expediting the process!
1. Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute
H&W is the leading provider of education in the field of Pelvic Rehabilitation. The only requirement to be listed in this directory is that you have taken at least one course. This directory allows you to search by zip code and each provider listed typically has a bio with their experience level, practice setting, etc. Board/specialty certified pelvic practitioners are reported/easy to identify when searching! This is my favorite and go to resource! Click Here for Pelvic Rehab Directory Link!
2. Pelvic Guru Directory
This is a newer pelvic directory launched in 2019 however I find it to be comprehensive as it lists different specialists in the field of pelvic health (Pelvic PTs, Nutritionists, Doulas, Sex Therapists, etc.). Free/inclusive to all providers to be listed, however practitioners can pay a yearly fee to add a picture/display more clinic information. Click Here for Pelvic Guru Directory Link!
3. APTA Specialist Search
American Physical Therapy Association oversees the licensing and specialty exams for PTs. While I do like to utilize this as a resource, PTs must be an annual paying member to be listed which is not always ideal for smaller or more independent PT practices. Click Here for Specialist Search!
4. Local Physician
This is an underutilized resources in my book! Ask your local physician who they refer to. If they don’t have a specific Pelvic PT in mind, ask if any other practitioner in their practice has experience/refers to Pelvic PT.
Google it! Search for ‘Pelvic Physical Therapy in (location).’ From that list, narrow it down based on Pelvic PT location, experience, price, or other factors you would like to consider. Call or email the Pelvic PT and inquire about their training, experience, insurance status, or ask any of the “prior to searching questions below” to see if they would be a good fit for you!
6. Social Media
This is becoming big lately----IG and Fbook can also be good resources in finding a local pelvic practitioner. Because I myself am not overly active on IG/Facebook-- this is not my go to for finding a local provider. I do however find it is a nice place to get a sense of a Pelvic PTs “niche,” “their vibe,” or what patients they typically see. Most professionals in the field have some type of business IG/Facebook/Linked-In so be sure to check this out and inquired more!
Now that you have a list of “where” to expedite your search process, I want to provide you with the “why” to choose a certain Pelvic PT.
Questions to think about PRIOR TO/DURING your search for a local Pelvic PT
There can be a wide range of experience and expertise within the field of pelvic health. I am here to tell you it is OK to seek a second opinion or go with a therapist who may have more experience treating “your complaints or condition.” On that note---EVERY Pelvic PT has to start somewhere and even I practice much differently than I did 10+ years ago when starting in pelvic PT. To aid in your search, it is helpful to have some preparatory questions ready to see if the (local) Pelvic PT you find will be a good fit for you. Here are some examples of questions to ask your potential Pelvic PT:
1. Have you gone through advanced training in the field of pelvic health? Board/Specialty Certified?
Traditional DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) Programs will introduce pelvic health. In the majority of DPT programs, the advanced training to practice proficiently in Pelvic PT is done AFTER you receive your PT License. Clinical rotations (done typically during the 3rd year of PT school) in the field of Pelvic PT can provide beginning level training in the field of pelvic health as well.
There are several institutes that provide advanced training in pelvic health physical therapy. The two main institutes are American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and Herman & Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute (H&W). Both the APTA and H&W provide a “core” pelvic coursework schedule consisting of levels 1, 2 (A&B or parts 1&2), 3 as well as OB Specific Coursework (typically 1-3 levels). Herman & Wallace and the APTA also offer MANY other pelvic specialty courses such as those geared towards treating men and pediatrics, bowel/bladder specific conditions, chronic pelvic pain, and so much more! Check out each websites course links to see all the specialized training courses for Pelvic PTs.
With that being said---not all Pelvic PTs need to have taken all these courses prior to seeing patients! If your PT is treating prenatal or post-partum patients, then personally I would recommend that OB levels 1-3 should be taken as well as (preferred) level 1 of the pelvic coursework. If you are treating women only, then a men’s pelvic course may not be needed. If you are seeing pediatric pelvic patients, then you would want training specifically in pelvic PT for the pediatric population. There are also several other specialized courses through independent companies (not listed) that may also be a good option when treating specific patients/specialized niches within Pelvic PT. When looking for a local PT feel free to ask about which coursework they have taken, what clinical settings they have worked in, and their expertise to see if they’d be a good fit! Check out our Pelvic Health PT Staff bio for a quick look at our Pelvic PT's experience level!
Board/Specialty Certified Pelvic PTs also delineate advanced training in the field of Pelvic Health. There are two “main” entities who offer this specialty certification—the APTA and H&W. The APTA’s board certification is identified as “WCS” or “Women’s Certification Specialist” (delineating you as a skilled practitioner in treating Women of all ages). Herman and Wallace’s board certification is identified as “PRPC” or “Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification” (delineating you are a skilled practitioner in treating any gender or age relating to the pelvis and pelvic girdle structures). The PRPC does not encompass breast cancer or lymphedema whereas the WCS does. The WCS does not encompass pelvic care in relation to men or children whereas the PRPC does. If possible, picking a Pelvic PT with “WCS” or “PRPC” credentials after their name will insure advanced training.
2. What is your typical PT frequency/duration based on my diagnosis?
This can be a tough question to answer as a Pelvic PT but we should be able to give you a “guestimate” on the frequency and duration based on a brief description of your complaints and referring diagnosis. With that being said, this may change based on the evaluation findings, but the guestimate shouldn’t be far off based on the PTs clinical experience.
3. Where will I be treated (PT facility vs home)?
There are several options as far as WHERE you can be treated for Pelvic PT. Typically PT treatment options are at a hospital or facility (such as COM-PT), “concierge” type of visits (in-home visits), or telehealth.
At COM-PT we provide Pelvic PT services at our physical location primarily (3003 North A St in Midland) and DO NOT offer “concierge” visits. We occasionally offer telehealth visits for those who are travelling from far away and or patients that we are not able to find a local qualified pelvic PT. We will aid in finding a local Pelvic PT provider who can provide a hands-on assessment vs telehealth which can be limited by the nature of communication medium. However, our goal is to find you the best care from a convenient location!
With that being said-- I would like to recommend a local Pelvic PT not affiliated with COM-PT. Lindsey Coulter is a “concierge” Pelvic PT who does in-home visits. She is the founder of “Empower Every Mama” and her primary patient population is pregnant and post-partum moms. If you prefer the convenience of in-home therapy, she is a fantastic resource----please reach out to her for more information. Additionally, Lindsey is a trained and certified doula which can be a great service for pregnant mommas!
4. Are you in network with insurance?
This is an important question to ask a local Pelvic PT if you are looking to utilize your insurance. Physical Therapy is considered a specialized service HOWEVER all insurance companies are different! Some insurance companies cover PT services no matter what your deductible is, some insurance companies will cover a percentage of your PT services AFTER your deductible is met, some insurance companies will cover your PT services and instead you will pay a co-pay each PT visit, sometimes PT interventions are “adjusted down” and you will be responsible for the “adjusted rate” for each intervention, etc. When finding a local Pelvic PT be sure to ask the following:
Are they in network with your insurance company?
Remember, not all BCBS plans are the same. Just because your friend had BCBS and her PT services were not covered, does NOT mean yours will be as follows.
A sad example of this is a patient I recently saw who was told by another PT that her deductible was not met and that she would need to pay cash for her PT visits. At a frequency of 3x/wk (per the other therapist) and over $150/session this was not feasible. She called our office and we ran her benefits. Low and behold she had NO deductible, and her PT visits would cost her a mere $15 co-pay per visit!!
Dig deeper and speak with the PT billing department and have them actually run your benefits to give you an up-to-date cost-estimate per visit based on the charges typically billed.
Go even further and double check with your insurance company to make sure the quote/guestimate you were given is accurate.
Ask if the provider will be billing the insurance company or if you will be given a superbill?
Typically, if given a superbill, it will be your responsibility to contact your insurance company for potential reimbursement. A lot of times this superbill is applied to your deductible. However, if the PT is not in network with your insurance company, you may not be given an adjusted rate and instead be responsible for the full cost of PT services.
As mentioned earlier, every insurance company is different so do your research and speak with your insurance company to see if you will get all interventions reimbursed or if the PT services/superbill will just go towards your deductible.
At COM-PT we are in network with most major insurance companies (BCBS, Aetna, Cigna, UHC, UMR, Medicare, Tricare, and many more). Pelvic PT services are run through your insurance company just as “traditional” PT service are and thus should be “covered” as traditional services would be (specific to your insurance company/plan, deductible, etc.). Feel free to reach out to our office/billing department for insurance questions or directly to your “potential Pelvic PT’s” billing department for cost estimates.
If you don’t have insurance, we do have good news! Our cash rate is affordable (IMO) and costs $90/eval and $50-90 for follow up visits (depending on time spent). **This is subject to change on a yearly basis but up to date as of Jan 2022.
5. What type of therapy services are provided (typical interventions, land or aquatic based interventions, specialized equipment available, etc.)?
This is an involved question however I think it is necessary to find the best local Pelvic PT fit! There are MANY different approaches to Pelvic PT with no “one-size-fits all” determining the best treatment approach. Below are some things to consider when looking at type of therapy services/interventions provided in Pelvic PT.
Ask what types of interventions are typically used to treat your complaints (this includes manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, coordination training, breathing, biofeedback, postural education, etc.).
You can also ask about modalities such as TENS, cold/heat, Ultrasound, dry needling, and e-stim to see if the provider has access to this/would be available to utilize.
Not all modalities are necessary for patients however they can be very helpful depending on patients’ diagnosis (i.e., research shows significant improvements using ultrasound on a male with Peyronie's Disease).
Pelvic PT typically does not treat the pelvic floor in isolation, so inquire about a “full body” or comprehensive pelvic girdle approach.
Many times, pelvic complaints have spinal drivers and can be fixed with functional movement assessment and treatment.
Not all Pelvic PT patients need internal assessment/treatment!
Specialized Services or Equipment
Access to specialized services or equipment is not necessary but often can be very helpful in treating patients. Listed below (also linked) is some of the specialized services or equipment we have available at COM-PT.
Patients have free- access to while a patient at COM-PT
Pelvic PT can give aquatic specific exercises for patients to do outside of land-based PT interventions
Includes free use of underwater treadmills for safe return to running/activity after birth or surgery
6’ Deep section of pool for treading water or providing gentle traction to lumbar spine
Underwater Bicycles, Water Weights, and other equipment to be used based on patients’ diagnosis
Patients have free-access to while a patient at COM-PT
Promotes aerobic activity and generalized strengthening of patients outside of Pelvic PT services
Altered G Treadmill
Differential Air Pressure Treadmill that can be customized to patients to reduce ground reaction force from body weight (off-loading the body) optimizing strength, cardiovascular fitness, and improving overall functional mobility
Blood Flow Restriction Training
Blood flow occlusion can be utilized during low intensity exercise to expedite recovery of strength and enhance muscle hypertrophy
Often utilized in conjunction with other Pelvic PT interventions to address a variety of patient complaints
COM-PT has access to numerous modalities including Biofeedback, TENS, E-stim, heat/cold packs, dry needling, Kinesiotaping, and Ultrasound (both therapeutic and real-time) to name a few!
Good luck in your search for a local Pelvic PT! I hope this post has aided you in finding the best fit for your pelvic needs!
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