CHBS: What is your area of expertise?
NC: I specialize in pelvic health, a specialty within physical therapy. My clinic, Pelvic Sanity, is located here in south Orange County. My patients often have chronic pelvic pain, orthopedic pain in the low back, hips, or tailbone. Urinary symptoms like urgency, frequency, or incontinence are also common. We also help women during and after pregnancy in making delivery as smooth as possible and preventing post-natal complications like incontinence, low back pain, diastasis recti, and painful intercourse.
This recent award [2017 Physical Therapist of the Year] was specifically for working with patients diagnosed with interstitial cystitis, a complex and chronic pelvic pain condition that affects almost 12 million people in the US. It’s a particular passion for me; I wrote The Interstitial Cystitis Solution for these patients, was the first PT elected to the Interstitial Cystitis Association Board of Directors, and taught the first continuing education course in the subject this last year.
CHBS: How do you feel your education at Chapman prepared you for what you are doing now?
NC: I can trace the genesis of my own treatment style back to my education at Chapman, particularly the orthopedic courses under Dr. Steve Ferdig. Many physical therapists within my specialty focus exclusively on the muscles and workings of the pelvic floor; I’ve always believed that you can’t look at any part of the body in isolation. We do hour-long, hands-on treatment sessions so we can address both the internal pelvic floor as well as external orthopedic factors at each visit, and see a great deal of success in treating complex patients with a more holistic approach.
CHBS: Any words of advice to current DPT students?
NC: One of the best things about our profession is the variety of specialties and career paths that are available after graduation. I always encourage students to get as broad of an experience as possible while still in school. Try rotations in different areas, take continuing education courses in various specialties, or reach out to established PTs and ask to learn more about their specialty or to shadow at their clinic. You have a unique opportunity to explore the different facets of our field and find something that resonates for you.
I always thought I wanted to work with high-level athletes in an orthopedic setting, but something about pelvic floor physical therapy drew me in soon after I graduated. Fifteen years later, I’m so glad that I made that choice, and absolutely love working with this patient population.
To learn more about Nicole’s award, please click here.