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Physiotherapy
2nd December 2019  •  Read 0 times

A week in the life of a Women’s Health Physiotherapist

I love my job.

I love that I am able to help women who may have had problems and concerns for some time, and that with physiotherapy many of them will feel better and have relief from their symptoms. I also love that no week is ever the same! I see an average of 8 new patients a week and the rest of my time is spent with existing patients, teaching and presenting on health and wellbeing. 

Once I get to the clinic, I review the new patient assessment forms to give me an idea of what to expect that week. I spend an hour with new patients so there is time to really understand their issues and concerns. I then review my follow up patients for that week, schedule any calls/emails to consultants and GP’s and check my diary is up to date. 

For many of the new mums I see this is the first chance they have time to talk about their birth experience and how they are doing, not just about their little one. We talk about their sleep and energy levels, what food they’re eating to help heal and repair, their support networks at home – partner, family, friends. We discuss if they have pain or discomfort in their pelvic area, what’s normal and to be expected and how much time our bodies need to heal. I then perform a full assessment: checking standing, sitting and lying posture – looking at how my patient is moving and her muscle control. I will also check her tummy, her rectus diastasis – tummy gap, and how she breathes. If it’s appropriate I perform an internal examination to check the pelvic floor. We agree a realistic plan together that will help her get back to all of her normal activities and look after her little one. 

A lot of my time is spent talking about ‘time’. The time it takes to heal and repair; it takes 9 months to be ready to give birth and despite media, social and cultural pressure it takes more than 6 weeks to be back to ‘normal’. I see around 15 follow ups patients each week. As well as seeing new mums I also see patients with pelvic or chronic pain. Some have incontinence issues, especially with exercising. My approach is to work holistically with patients – looking at their lifestyle, work, family as well as exercise and activity. Being in pain is a huge stress on our nervous systems so we work on relaxing and breathing. It is such a great feeling when a patient who came to you worried that her pain would never go, comes back to tell you her symptoms have resolved. 

I teach yoga classes twice a week and consult with other teachers on how to work safely with their pre and post-natal students. I am endlessly fascinated by how different we all are – what works for one of us doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. 

If you would like to discuss the topics in this blog with Sarah or another member of our physiotherapy team, please contact our friendly patient services team on 01442 331 900 or fill out our contact form here

Picture of Sarah Marsh
About the author
Sarah Marsh

Women’s and Men’s Health Physiotherapist

I started my physiotherapy career working with patients with musculoskeletal injuries of all ages, from teenagers to older adults, semi-professional sports people, weekend warriors and those who picked up repetitive injuries at work, treating conditions from lower back pain, neck pain to hip and knee replacements. I worked with a local amateur triathlon team helping them to stay injury free and was on the physiotherapy team for Surrey Cricket in 2005.

During this time, I became interested in the link between musculoskeletal injuries, pelvic pain and pelvic health; and the impact this has on our activities, sports performance and health in general at many stages of our life.

Being a physiotherapist, I wanted to ensure I knew the latest evidence and research in this area, so I completed additional post-graduate training in both women’s and men’s pelvic health.

Understanding that it can be helpful to visualise what our body is doing led me to further train with ultrasound scanning for the pelvic floor, bladder and abdominal muscles. This means I can use our diagnostic ultrasound machine to provide real-time images and feedback as one of my treatment options to help you with pelvic pain, post-natal, menopause and post prostatectomy care.

My treatment approach looks at you, as a person, including your injury and pain, listening to and understanding your lifestyle and goals, this allows me to successfully help you return from injury back to the activities you love.

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