There's nothing more frustrating than someone not taking you seriously, especially when it comes to your health. During my second pregnancy, I had major problems with my pelvis, in fact, during the last half of my pregnancy, I had symphysis pubis diastasis (SPD).
What's symphysis pubis diastasis?
Delightfully, in the later stages of pregnancy, the hormone relaxin causes the ligaments around the symphysis pubis to become stretchy and loose causing extreme pain. While the hormone relaxin is great for making birth easier for mom and baby, the instability of the pelvis in this state makes for a very uncomfortable - everything.
To be completely honest, it felt like the two parts of my pubic bone were grinding against each other making it difficult to walk and almost impossible to lie in a comfortable position.
My doctor told me to work my core after recovering from birth and stay away from high-impact exercise as my pelvis would "probably never recover."
I asked if I should continue physical therapy, as I continued to be in pain after birth, and my doctor shrugged and said, "If you want to sure, but focus on doing your kegels."
I felt dismissed.
While I was crying through painful physical therapy appointments, Dr. Jana Richardson was working at clinics all over the U.S. honing her skills in supporting women and men through complex pelvic health issues.
"I found nationwide that pelvic health clinics were sparse," explained Jana. "Because of this, so many patients are underserved and the field, in particular, is lacking knowledge and awareness."
Dr. Richardson saw many opportunities for healing while working at quality clinics but when she moved back to her home state of Illinois, she was not able to locate a practice that embodied the judgment-free environment of hope she was looking for.
These two factors drove Jana to start her own practice, Chicago Pelvic Health & Wellness in Naperville, Illinois.
"I wanted to create a welcoming and inviting space where patients felt safe enough to feel heard," explained Jana. "Many people are coming to physical therapy with concerns that are often very personal and private, and often they are saying these concerns for the first time to a healthcare provider."
Jana knew she wanted to create an environment where her patients could feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable because pelvic conditions can be embarrassing in addition to being extremely painful.
Trouble urinating, bowel issues, pain during sex, and incontinence are just a few of the symptoms surrounding pelvic conditions and injuries, not to mention the psychological strain chronic pain can put on a person.
"I want patients to know that quality care can be a reality, where you don’t have to feel like a number or a corporation in healthcare," said Jana about the mission for her practice.
"I want to give them hope to see past their current struggles and believe in a life that isn’t restricted by their symptoms."
According to the International Pelvic Pain Society, chronic pelvic pain (CPP) "negatively affects millions of people across the gender identity spectrum throughout the world. Often, conventional medical and surgical treatments are ineffective, however, a range of new medical, surgical, and mind-body therapies are available to help improve the lives of individuals living with CPP."
And Dr. Jana wants to be a part of the success stories of her patients helping them reclaim their health, function, and life.
"Dr. Richardson is personable, kind, and very knowledgeable. As a mom of 2, I've had my fair share of pelvic floor issues over the years. Now, I can finally say I'm feeling a huge difference after being under the care of Dr. Richardson. I don't have to cross my legs when I go to sneeze (if you're a mom, you know what I mean!)."
- Lacie R. on her experience with Dr. Jana
May is not only Women's Health Month, it's also Pelvic Pain Awareness Month, I encourage you to learn more about your own pelvic health.
"So many people suffer in silence," shared Jana. "There's still a stigma surrounding reproductive diseases and pelvic health and the best place to start is to tell someone you're in pain."
Find out how CPHW can help you on your path to recovery Contact Jana and her team at 773-219-2749 or ChicagoPelvicHealth@gmail.com to book an appointment. You can also find helpful tips following Dr. Jana on Instagram.