For the past six months, Stephanie and Liz have been busily working on writing a book titled Pelvic Pain Explained: Everything you Need to know to Help you Navigate the Complex Terrain of Pelvic Pain. The book will be published by Rowman & Littlefield. (We don’t have the publication date yet, so stay tuned for that info!) As we’ve watched them hustle to get the manuscript together, we couldn’t help but wonder what it was that made them decide to take on the task, so we asked them!
Q. What was the impetus for your writing a book on pelvic pain?
A. Stephanie: “Very little was known about pelvic pain when I started in the field 15 years ago. Many of the patients that I saw in the early years had been suffering for at least ten years, had seen more than 20 providers, and were often on disability and opiates.
At that time I was working with a physician and we specialized solely in treating pelvic pain disorders. For this reason, my experience as a pelvic floor physical therapist was different than most. Rather than taking a continuing education course, as many aspiring pelvic floor PTs do, I was working with a pelvic pain pioneer in an interdisciplinary setting. So I found myself at medical conferences arguing that the pelvic floor muscles can be a source of pelvic pain.
Sometimes I won the argument, most of the time I lost. During this time, I also developed manual therapy skills, knowledge about medications, procedures, and surgeries. We started to figure out what would and would not work for different types of patients. Being exposed to a high volume of people with pelvic pain very quickly taught me that despite similar symptoms or the same diagnosis, every patient was different and I had to individualize treatment plans to get them to to work.
More importantly, however, I developed clinical reasoning skills to re-work the treatment when patients either stopped responding or could not tolerate treatment. And this happened all the time. As I was developing these skills, research started to emerge and the technology boom made this information available to anyone who wanted it.
Information does not equal knowledge, however, and I had to figure out what do with patient confusion from chat rooms, being criticized by other professionals in chat rooms, and how to incorporate new diagnoses and treatment options into clinical practice. Today, it’s widely accepted that the pelvic floor muscles can be a source of pelvic pain, though many medical professionals and sufferers still do not know it.
Furthermore, we know pelvic pain encompasses much more than the pelvic floor muscles, and treatment needs to be devised with this in mind. I wanted to write this book to acknowledge the struggles patients and providers encounter, and provide knowledge to streamline the current diagnosis and treatment strategies, even in the face of a broken healthcare system. My hope is that by sharing our knowledge we will provide a platform for more effective and efficient management of pelvic pain.
A: Liz: “For years our colleagues and patients asked, ‘When are you guys going to write a book?’ I guess we finally succomed to the pressure! We’ve been teaching, lecturing, writing in professional journals for years. This was just the next logical step.
But more to the point, there are so few resources out there with good, accurate information for people suffering from pelvic pain as well as providers who treat pelvic pain. And at the same time, there is a real knowledge deficit, even among providers who should know something about pelvic pain. The number of questions we get from people from all over the world on the phone, via email, via our blog, via our website really spoke to this. We believe their needs to be one resource for people to get all of these answers. Our hope is that having this book be that resource will serve to promote awareness to the public and professional community about pelvic pain and help people get better faster.
Q: How has this blog played into your decision to write a book?
A: Stephanie: “The blog has shown me that people need reliable information on pelvic pain and made me realize that sharing our clinical knowledge allows us to help people globally. Through the comments I have learned that people are getting appropriate care but just as many are not. We need to change this and do better!
A: Liz: “We get so many follow up questions and comments with every post. Plus, we receive a tremendous amount of positive feedback from other providers as well as patients about this blog, so for me, that reconfirmed the need for good info about pelvic pain.
Thank you Stephanie and Liz for stoking our curiosity! The next four weeks will be pretty busy as we all pitch in to get the manuscript ready to turn into the publisher, SO a handful of friends of PHRC have generously agreed to pitch in with a month’s worth of fantastic guest blog posts!
Look for them in the coming weeks!
If you have any further questions about Stephanie and Liz’s upcoming book, please do not hesitate to leave them in the comment section below.
All our best,
The PHRC Team