Pelvic floor disorders affect one in five adults and industry statistics indicate these health matters are often left untreated. Many are too embarrassed to ask questions about issues they are experiencing, or they just accept that those issues are “natural” and they must learn to live with them.
Improving quality of life begins with pelvic floor therapy, says Dr. Ijeoma Nwankpa, PT, DPT, WCS, CLT, CIDN.
She opened McKinney’s Center of Pelvic Excellence Physical Therapy & Wellness, LLC (COPE PT) three years ago as she saw the need for top-tier pelvic floor care in the area. With 13-plus years of industry experience, Dr. Nwankpa is a leader in the field and one of the few board-certified specialists in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She says her interest in becoming a pelvic floor therapist came in her early 20s when she saw a pelvic health physical therapist and the relief she experienced personally.
“I am passionate about providing the tools to help patients take control and charge of their health and wellness,” says Dr. Nwankpa. “I want to be the person who tells you ‘It's not all in your head’.”
When pelvic muscles fail to work as they should, pain and symptoms that interfere with normal functioning occur. This may include urinary incontinence, painful intercourse, pregnancy and postpartum wellness, and hip or back pain. Pelvic floor physical therapy provides a structured, effective, and safe reconditioning of pelvic floor muscles.
"My team and I partner alongside each patient to identify the root causes of the problems and develop an individualized and comprehensive treatment program to meet the patient’s needs and reach their goals," says Dr. Nwankpa.
COPE PT services include:
Pelvic Floor Dysfunctions: Treatment of pelvic floor impairments.
Prenatal and Postpartum Care: Management of musculoskeletal conditions during prenatal and postpartum that may lead to pain and dysfunction.
Cancer Survivorship and Oncology Care: Focuses on regaining strength, decreasing scar tissue, and increasing range of motion.
Lymphedema Massage Therapy: Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) massage techniques and compression to decrease abnormal swelling in limbs.
Dry Needling: The use of “non-injection” fine needles to stimulate specific trigger points and connective tissue restriction for the management of pain and movement impairments. COPE PT specializes in dry needling for the head, neck, spine, pelvic and upper/lower extremities.
Sexual Health Counseling: Counseling to address emotional and interpersonal needs in addition to physical needs.
Birth Prep Doula Services
COPE PT treats all genders over the age of 18 and is accessible to all. No referral is needed. Self-pay and insurance are accepted.
What To Expect at First Pelvic Floor PT Appointment:
- Wear loose clothing for flexible movements, such as yoga pants.
- Arrive early to complete forms. Make sure to bring copies of tests or records related to the problem.
- The therapist will assess personal history and symptoms. They will discuss any issues, biology, and how and why it is being affected. The therapist also will need to assess areas of restriction and dysfunction so they can tailor an individualized program.
- The therapist will need to do a physical examination, which will include the pelvic area and typically the hips, back, and abdomen as well. There will also be an internal exam. This is very important as the therapist can gain important information from this. The therapist will be doing their best to answer questions and explain processes before (and while) they happen.
- After the assessment, the therapist will discuss their findings and what the personalized treatment plan will look like, in the office and at home. Pelvic floor physical therapy often includes activities to be done at home.