January 14, 2015
After announcing December’s finalists this past Friday we’re happy to announce our second qualification winner, Lindsey Vestal founder of the Functional Pelvis.
Read on to learn more about Lindsey and what her company does.
WN: For those that aren’t familiar with your line of business, would you mind providing a short summary of what the Functional Pelvis is?
LV: The Functional Pelvis is a private physical and occupational therapy practice dedicated to improving the lives of women and men who suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction and complications.
Though an embarrassing dinner topic for some, pelvic floor dysfunction affects millions of people (43 million people suffer from incontinence, ranking higher than other chronic diseases such as diabetes, which affects 21 million.) Many don’t know that proven therapeutic exercises and non-surgical treatments are available, which can drastically improve their quality of life when suffering from urinary and bowel urgency, frequency, chronic constipation, pelvic organ prolapse and pelvic pain.
The Functional pelvis empowers people to regain control of the most basic human functions. And we offer this in the privacy and convenience of people’s own homes. My clientele includes pre- and postnatal women, post-menopausal women, men with prostate issues, and both men and women with gastrointestinal issues and pelvic pain.
I find it such a privilege to enable people to talk about topics that can often be challenging to discuss; I enjoy helping them to feel comfortable and at ease. Once they find pelvic rehab, I often hear how comforting is it that someone finally understands the challenges that they have been dealing with for often many years. The topics that I discuss and treat are often overlooked by most practitioners either because they don’t know how to ask the right questions or the patient may be uncomfortable to bring it up. I have heard topics like incontinence described as the “hand on the doorknob” conversation. If a patient actually feels comfortable bringing it up to their gynecologist or general practitioner, it may be as they are leaving. I take great pride in that these same topics are brought up when my patients walk in the door, not when they leave.
WN: What first made you want to become an Occupational Therapist?
LV: Occupational therapy (OT) focuses on getting clients back to being able to participate and enjoy life again. What’s even better is that OTs roots are in mental health – this means that OTs treat the whole person, whether the primary dysfunction relates to physical or mental health, or as is more than likely the case, a combination of both. This holistic viewpoint is what first fascinated me with the profession; I loved looking at all the factors that contributed to a person’s ailment. This viewpoint significantly helps people with pelvic floor muscle dysfunction because while it’s a physical dysfunction, it greatly impacts psychosocial issues.
When I became aware that the muscles in the pelvic floor were just like any other muscle in the body, I realized that I could make a significant on the quality of life of the people I work with. People often become very withdrawn from participating fully their lives when incontinence or pelvic pain becomes a struggle for them. It is so rewarding to be able to empower them to take control over the very basic function of bowel and bladder management.
WN:Do you find clients are more willing to ask for help when they can receive treatment from the privacy of their own home?
LV: By providing care in the privacy of my patient’s home, it directly leads to better outcomes because they are much more comfortable being in their own space versus a more clinical or busy environment such as a gym. Also, it’s a privilege to treat them in their own space because I can suggest home modifications that help promote their healing such as assessing their toilet height or their bed and sleeping positions. For new mothers, we look at body mechanics such as crib and changing table height, holding the baby, best breast feeding positions, etc. My clients don’t need to worry about travel or even finding childcare. When you experience urinary or bowel issues, it can be hard to even just leave the house. The concept of providing therapy in-home for pelvic floor dysfunction is practical and sensitive to the problem their experiencing.
Here’s an example. One of my patients is a writer who spends 10 hours a day sitting at his home office. He was experiencing pain in his rectum with sitting and with defecation.
While at his home, I assessed the chair he uses to write, his dining room chair and couch, and his toilet height (a contributing factor to pelvic floor dysfunction). I was able to suggest home modifications and could tailor it specifically for his environment while I was in his apartment. This model of specialized, specific care is exactly what I needed when I had my own pelvic floor muscle dysfunction.
WN: Is any medication required during the treatment process?
LV: No, the wonderful thing about this type of rehab is its conservative nature. There is no surgical intervention or medication requirement. It really is just rehab for your private muscles. It is not so different than if you injured your knee and you sought therapy to regain function. My goal is to get help my clients stronger, reduce pain, and go to the bathroom with ease.
WN: Any plans to expand your practice outside of the New York City Region?
LV: My mobile rehab model includes Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. My expansion plan includes hiring a large staff of Occupational and Physical Therapists to further serve the greater NY city region whose population is nearly 20 million people! For the foreseeable future, we may be quite busy reaching as many of these people as we can : )
As always, thank you for reading! Remember we award a grant every month – if interested, here’s the link to apply!
If you’d like to vote for Lindsey to win the $2,000 Amber Grant you can vote for her here.