Pelvic Health Christchurch
Active Health offers individualised physiotherapy sessions to ease symptoms related to various pelvic health issues for both women and men.
There is a large body of evidence to support the use of physiotherapy for conditions such as pelvic floor dysfunction, pelvic pain, bladder or bowel dysfunction, pelvic organ prolapse and sexual dysfunction. These methods may include manual therapy to the pelvic, back, hip and pelvic floor muscles and joints, strengthening of related areas both locally and in functional patterns, education for bladder and bowel habits and lifestyle factors, release of scar tissue and connective tissue, functional dry needling and more. In addition, we are excited to now offer a pessary fitting service designed to address pelvic organ prolapse and some types of urinary incontinence.
Multiple studies have demonstrated pelvic floor muscle involvement in pelvic pain conditions such as endometriosis, painful bladder syndrome (interstitial cystitis), vulvodynia and chronic pelvic pain, and a corresponding reduction in symptoms with pelvic floor physiotherapy treatment. Many health professionals are therefore recognizing this connection and including pelvic floor physiotherapy as a vital part of their patient’s medical care. Our pelvic health physiotherapists have both musculoskeletal training and pelvic floor training, which is essential when treating the complexities of pelvic pain.
Physiotherapy during pregnancy and following childbirth is designed to both support your body as it changes during pregnancy, and to assist with recovery. Through exercise you can optimize muscular support during all of the trimesters, learn how to connect with your pelvic floor to aid with labour, and rehabilitate your floor and core after delivery. Physiotherapy can also address various musculoskeletal or pelvic floor concerns that may occur before or after your baby is born. It is highly recommended to have a pelvic floor check around 6 weeks following delivery to screen for any potential injuries, and to help to guide exercise and return to sports and fitness.
Pelvic Health Conditions Treated with Physiotherapy
- Chronic Low Back Pain
- Chronic Pelvic Pain
- Pregnancy related Back or Pelvic Pain
- Coccydynia/tailbone pain
- Difficulty Urinating or Having a Bowel Movement
- Diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles)
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Levator Ani Syndrome
- Overactive Bladder
- Abdominal pain from surgeries, scarring or cancer treatments
- Overactive or Tight Pelvic Floor Muscles
- Painful Intercourse (Dyspareunia), and/or pain with tampon use or gynecologic exams
- Pelvic Girdle Pain
- Pelvic Cancers including prostate, gynecologic and colorectal cancers
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse
- Pudendal Neuralgia
- Underactive or Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles
Susan Larson - Pelvic Health and Cancer Rehabilitation Physiotherapist
Susan has been a physiotherapist for over 20 years and has studied and worked in New Zealand, Australia and the USA. She spent the early part of her career working in musculoskeletal physiotherapy and developed strong manual therapy skills. On moving to America, Susan studied for and gained a Certificate of Advanced Study in Physical Therapy (Orthopaedics) and a Clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions in Boston.
Working largely with back and pelvic pain diagnoses, Susan felt there was a missing link in providing complete care for these patients, which lead to the development of a special interest in pelvic floor physiotherapy. Over the last few years Susan has completed extensive advanced training in Women’s and Men’s Pelvic Health, including obtaining a Post Graduate Certificate in Women’s Health and Continence from Curtin University in Perth, completing Functional Dry Needling Certification (Level 1, 2 and advanced) from KinetaCore in Colorado, and numerous continuing education courses. Utilizing these skills, she now proudly offers a truly comprehensive successful physiotherapy approach to pelvic health issues and pre and postnatal care.
Susan also has a passion for cancer rehabilitation and works with patients before, during and after medical cancer treatments, addressing treatment side effects like pain, fatigue, weakness and lymphoedema that may have affect patient’s physical and functional abilities. While she was based in Colorado, Susan completed training in the Pink Ribbon Program, the Strength After Breast Cancer Program and became a Certified Lymphoedema Therapist. She was part of the cancer rehabilitation team at Boulder Community Hospital, working in close association with the Rocky Mountain Cancer Centre. Since returning to New Zealand she has become a certified provider of the PINC and STEEL cancer rehabilitation programs, which are internationally known physiotherapy and exercise programs for women and men with cancer. In addition to providing individualized cancer rehabilitation, Susan runs a Next Steps cancer group exercise class at the Rangiora Fitness Centre.
Susan has returned to her hometown of Christchurch with her husband Keith, a Sommelier and is delighted to bring her unique skills and treatments to Active Health. Susan and Keith enjoy a well-balanced lifestyle including appreciation of good food and wine, travel, and many outdoor activities including hiking, biking, skiing and snowshoeing.
We are delighted to have Susan back on the Active Health team, after working with us back in 2012. Susan sees patients in our St Albans clinic and in Rangiora at both the Durham Health and the Rangiora Fitness Centre Active Health clinics.
Ashley Briscoe - Pelvic Health and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist
Ashley has been working in Auckland since graduating from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and has now returned to her hometown of Christchurch. Ashley has experience working with musculoskeletal injuries and sports teams, as well as having a keen interest in pelvic health. In addition to attending multiple continuing education courses on pelvic health, Ashley is currently studying towards a Diploma in Pain Management with a focus on pelvic pain at the University of Otago. She particularly enjoys working with lower back, pelvic, glute and hip pain.
Ashley believes in individualized rehabilitation and goal setting to empower and motivate her clients back into doing the things they enjoy. She has worked with women soon after delivery at Birthcare in Auckland and has a passion for educating and guiding women on postpartum recovery and safe return to exercise. When she’s not at work, Ashley enjoys going to the gym, playing with her dogs and drinking coffee.
Jo Dowle - Pelvic Health and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist
Jo has been a physiotherapist for almost 20 years and has studied and worked in New Zealand and Nepal. She spent the early part of her career working in musculoskeletal physiotherapy and developed strong manual therapy skills. She then volunteered at a hospital in Nepal for two years working mostly in spinal cord rehabilitation including bowel and bladder complications.
On returning to New Zealand Jo had two beautiful children while still working in a musculoskeletal practice. However, she became frustrated at the lack of help for women with complications post birth or those who wanted a directed way back into sport and exercise, whether that was returning to the gym, high intensity or weightlifting training, or elite endurance sport.
This led to the development of a special interest in pelvic floor physiotherapy. Over the last six years Jo has completed extensive advanced training in women’s Pelvic Health, attending numerous continuing education courses. Utilizing these skills, she now proudly offers a truly comprehensive successful physiotherapy approach to pelvic health issues and pre and postnatal care.
Jo has successfully helped many post-natal mothers get back into sport including some who struggling to maintain continence with weightlifting, others who are competing at an elite level and others that just want to rejoin the gym again. She has helped spinal cord patients regain bowel and bladder control and is able to fit pessaries to those with prolapse or stress incontinence to help them return to sport. Jo is delighted to bring her unique skills and treatments to Active Health.
Jo lives with her husband Mark and two children. Outside of work Jo will been seen trying to keep up with her family in the hills tramping, biking, kayaking, skiing or rogaining. She is also actively involved in her local Anglican Church. Jo will be working out of both the Manchester Street and Jellie Park clinics.