- Jill M. Arnold, PT, DPT
Making that lemonade!
I have had many patients come in for a pelvic floor evaluation with histories of trauma. Anywhere from sexual trauma, physical abuse, eating disorders, surgical trauma, etc. Specific to the patients who have been through sexual trauma, most are timid and definitely not looking forward to a pelvic floor exam. This is when I gently volunteer that I, too, have had sexual trauma. Their eyes immediately are surprised, and they thank me so much for sharing with them. It is like a huge balloon they have held full can ease the air out now. I don't go into detail, but most of the time, simply volunteering that information to those who have been through it themselves allows them to relax those shoulders and to feel that they are not alone. I got into this profession to use what happened to me to help, motivate, strengthen, and empower others. We all have scars - be it emotional, physical, sexual. I am choosing to use my scars to ease others' stress/ anxiety, and increase their ability to relax in order to get the help they need to decrease their pain. I often heard the phrase 'If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.' This is my journey to making lemonade, creating something beautiful, making a safe haven for my patients to retreat and get the physical help that they need. I truly love what I do. While I know that not every patient comes with a traumatic history, I know that my story can help those that do. Part of my lemonade is choosing to empower and lift up every person who walks into my office; regardless of their history and what they are coming for, so that they leave feeling motivated and better than when they walked in. How are you using your scars? Are you letting them hold you back? Are you learning from them? Are you allowing them to motivate you? I challenge you not to allow your past hold you back. Get the help that you need. Something that I do in my treatment sessions is 'scar mobilization'. This is moving a scar over the underlying tissue in order to lessen the restriction. Every time I 'make my lemonade', I am performing my own scar mobilizations to myself. I challenge you to do the same! I know it is hard, and it might hurt, but it will be well worth it in the end! Mobilize those scars that hold you back both physically and emotionally! Don't allow your past, fears, anxiety stop you from trying pelvic floor physical therapy! Most of all of my patients say they wish they had not waited so long to get this type of help!