Regional One Health has recently added Darianne Butler, DPT, to its Center for Rehabilitative Medicine team.
She is certified in pelvic floor physical therapy, which can help patients with issues like pelvic and abdominal pain, incontinence and pain during sex.
Butler became a therapist after seeing how rehabilitation helped a loved one after an accident, and said she loves seeing patients make the journey to recovery.
After an injury or surgery, physical therapy is often part of the healing process. A therapist can help you strengthen the affected area and improve range of motion through exercises, stretching and massage.
In practice, pelvic floor physical therapy isn’t all that different.
Regional One Health’s Center for Rehabilitative Medicine recently introduced Darianne Butler, DPT, as its new pelvic floor physical therapist.
“Just like a physical therapist would teach you exercises for your biceps or quads, I can provide a personalized exercise prescription based on your needs,” Butler said. “The only difference is I focus from hip bone to hip bone and from the pubic bone to the tailbone.”
That can help patients address pelvic pain and dysfunction caused by everything from pregnancy and birth to endometriosis to abdominal surgery.
Butler’s expertise expands the breadth of services at the Center for Rehabilitative Medicine and within the Women’s Specialty Group, both housed at Regional One Health’s East Campus.
The Center for Rehabilitative Medicine offers a full range of physical, occupational and speech therapy options.
It also has specialized programs such as therapy for patients with Parkinson’s disease and a Post-Rehab Wellness Program that helps patients rehab from illnesses and improve their athletic abilities for competitive and recreational sports.
Butler, who earned special certification in pelvic floor physical therapy and completed a pair of internships in the specialty, said she’s excited to join the team and help patients.
“I became a physical therapist after personally seeing the effect it can have on patients’ lives,” she said.
“My cousin was involved in a near fatal car accident and received extensive physical, occupational and speech therapy at Regional One Health. With the help of those therapists, she was able to regain her independence and improve her overall quality of life.”
Better quality of life is the focus of pelvic floor physical therapy.
Butler can help patients with a number of difficult problems:
- Urinary dysfunction
- Pelvic pain, including during pregnancy and post-partum
- Prolapse, or the descent of pelvic organs
- Pain during intercourse
- Abdominal pain from a C-section or other abdominal surgery
Butler starts treatment by getting information about a patient’s general health and their concerns specific to the pelvic area.
She conducts an initial interview to learn more about their symptoms, and then does a physical assessment: “I want to find out what their goals are and what they’re struggling with,” she said. “Then, I develop an individualized program for each patient.”
That program centers around exercises patients can perform on their own.
Butler said the most well-known option, Kegels to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, are part of the picture, but not the entire program. She also prescribes exercises to strengthen the hips, back and abdominal core.
She said if exercises alone aren’t solving the patient’s problem, she can provide internal massage and muscle manipulation to manually release tight muscles. This aspect of the treatment is always based on the patient’s comfort level, Butler said.
Most patients start with a program of around eight to 16 visits and then can continue the exercises on their own to maintain their improved health.
“I’m like the coach – I put you in the right position and let you know what to focus on,” she said.
“My favorite part of treating patients is seeing the progress they make from the time of the initial evaluation until discharge.”