At Sitka Physio & Wellness, our registered physiotherapists specialize in providing a comprehensive treatment approach. We are passionate about what we do, and strive to give you the care that you deserve. Our staff has a wide range of skills and experiences that can assist you in recovering from the specific physical challenges that you are currently facing while helping you find ways to lead a fuller more active life.
Once a month we will profile one of our team members to help you make connections between your needs and their expertise.
Name: Telma Hembruff
Specialization: Pelvic Health Therapy
Education: Master of Physiotherapy
(Leeds Beckett University)
What inspired you to pursue a career in physiotherapy?
Like most physios, I enjoyed physical activity throughout my youth. I also had a desire to do something in the sciences. In high school, I saw a student presentation on the profession of physiotherapy. It was something that just clicked with me, the science aspect and exercise and active component to it. From there on out it was something that I knew I wanted to do. I completed a four-year undergrad degree in kinesiology, and after taking an eight-month break to attain some work experience, I finished my Masters in Physiotherapy at Leeds Beckett University.
You join the with Sitka team with a specialization in pelvic floor treatments, could you elaborate on what this is?
Pelvic Health Therapy is specific to the muscles that control and support our organs from the pelvic floor, in particular, our reproductive organs, bladder, and bowels. Like any other muscle in our body, the pelvic floor muscles can be weak, cause pain, or be tight. In addition, they act as part of our sphincters. So when our pelvic floor muscles contract they help hold in our urine and bowels. If you are having some issue with that, either the muscles are too weak, or the muscles are too strong and tight, then that can lead to problems with urination, bowels or even sexual dysfunction. Because they are part of the pelvis they are also linked to the muscles in our back and our hips, so they do play quite an important role in other things like lower back pain and hip pain.
For more information on Pelvic Health Therapy, and if it may be applicable to your recovery visit: Pelvic Health General Info
And how did you end up specializing in Pelvic Health Therapy?
When I was in my undergrad I was working as a research assistant and the study we were working on was with pregnant women, so I gained a deep understanding of the challenges faced by that population. On top of that, I took many classes on pregnancy, and I just found it interesting. I see pregnancy as such a fascinating process and experience.
To the surprise of the placement coordinator, I requested to be placed in a clinic
specific to pelvic health. Part of this work was with pregnancy-related issues, but the
other part of it was the gynecological and urological side of it, including
incontinence and prolapse and I found this very interesting. It’s an area that isn’t
talked about very much, so when you get to engage and help people with something
that is kind of a hushed area it’s great to see when their lives get better, especially
with something that they may have thought would not be able to be healed. I think a
lot of people don’t recognize that a lot of these sorts of things can be addressed. It is
fulfilling and enriching to give patients these opportunities and that feeling of
empowerment, with the ability to take control of that area. Pelvic floor concerns can
greatly impact an individual’s quality of life. For instance, an individual may love to
run but feels their symptoms are preventing them from being able to take part in
this activity. One of my roles as a physiotherapist is to help facilitate that return to
activity, sport, or hobby alongside relieving their symptoms. There is so much
personal satisfaction contributing to the recovery in people’s lives.
Why do you think it is that people don’t view this as something that can be worked with or discussed?
I think that part of it is that many people feel uncomfortable or embarrassed to talk about it, but there is also a component that in the past it has been quite an underserviced and less known area. You know, it’s just now that it is starting to turn around and that a lot more doctors are starting to see that we’re around, and midwives are starting to know that we’re around. We are at that point where it is beginning to shift, and we are getting more recognized.
How do you address the discomfort that seems to be inherent in taking on these issues?
I’ve always been a pretty open person. That kind of openness is something that comes naturally to me. You need to provide a level of comfort and confidence to enable someone to confide when you’re taking these challenges head-on. I am also innately curious about people’s lives. You meet fascinating people and situations through this job. I think that being interested in peoples’ lives in general, getting to know their personalities, what makes them tick also helps to create a space of comfort for taking on these often challenging and sensitive topics.