Rehab Services Keep Women on the Move
Memorial Women’s Health & Rehab Physical Therapists Debi Schneider and Kelley McClinton are available to help women with a number of muscular issues they may encounter throughout life.
Some common issues that women face include regaining strength after breast surgery, dealing with lymphedema, and overcoming incontinence. As physical therapists, they are here to help women focus on the muscular aspects of their conditions.
Post-operative breast surgery rehab screenings
Memorial has recently started offering women free post-op breast surgery rehab screenings twice a month for women who have had any kind of breast surgery at any time in their lives. These screenings take place at the Rehab Services Department in Memorial’s Orthopedic and Neurosciences Center. “People who have had cancer with either a lumpectomy or mastectomy, you’re invading into a huge muscle there,” Debi said. “So we need to treat that in a muscular aspect.”
“Woman after breast cancer, even 15 years later, may say, ‘I’m no longer doing this or that, which I was able to do prior to surgery,’” Debi continued. “So we’re going to address issues such as posture, mobility, strength, and scar adhesions.”
During this screening, patients spend 30 minutes with a physical therapist and can learn about exercises they can do at home.
“If we see that there may be a need for physical therapy, we need to get a referral from the doctor,” Debi said.
Lymphedema is the accumulation of fluids in the arms or legs, Debi and Kelley typically treat women dealing with lymphedema in the arm. Some symptoms include swelling in the arm you had surgery on, clothes not fitting symmetrically, and tightness in the affected arm.
“Our aim is to educate early on,” said Kelley. “We’re trying to get to people before they even have surgery, so we can educate to find those little signs.”
Some of the treatments Debi and Kelley utilize to treat lymphedema include gentle massage, exercise, and compression wrapping.
Urinary incontinence rehab
Urinary incontinence is the loss of control over urinating. It involves a muscle control function that Debi and Kelley can help female patients out with.
As many women know, pregnancy can be a precursor to incontinence. “Pregnancy is a very natural process, but in the process of having a child, the muscles of the pelvis are stretched beyond belief, and the muscles are no longer what we would consider normal,” said Kelley. “So our job is to re-educate those muscles and to assist the mothers in being continent as part of postpartum recovery.”
“A lot of women suffer from incontinence starting at a very young age but have difficulty talking to their doctor or bringing this up,” said Debi. “I think if more women realize that this is also a muscular controlled function, we could really aid with helping. We’ve seen some excellent results even to the point where people no longer needed to have additional surgery for that.”
As women age, if they don’t properly exercise the pelvic floor muscles, they are at a higher risk of becoming incontinent. The way to help prevent incontinence is by keeping the pelvic floor healthy with exercise. Debi and Kelley can teach
patients where the pelvic floor muscles are and how to contract them. In order to do that, they will perform an exam and use biofeedback, which is a machine that shows patients how their muscles are working.
So far, Debi and Kelley’s patients have had a 100% success rate after incontinence rehab!
Talk to your doctor
Patients need a physician’s referral to use all of these services except post-op breast surgery rehab screenings, so talk to your doctor if you’re interested in Memorial’s Women’s Health & Rehab.