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Level 2: The Role of Physiotherapy in the Treatment of Anyone Experiencing Pelvic Pain Through a Trauma Informed Lens: Live-Online – November 2023

Level 2: The Role of Physiotherapy in the Treatment of Anyone Experiencing Pelvic Pain Through a Trauma Informed Lens: Live-Online – November 2023

PHS Team
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If you are travelling to attend this course/practical from outside of the province/country where you are registered to practice, please make sure you inquire with the College of the province where you are traveling to as to whether you require a temporary/courtesy licence.

The lecture component will be conducted as a live-online course November 17-18, 2023 from 10:30am-6:30pm ET (Toronto). You will be able to ask questions or just sit back and listen. All pre-recorded labs will be played.

In-Person Labs - to be completed in-person on November 19, 2023 at various set locations: Vaughan, ON / Perth, ON / Calgary, AB / Edmonton, AB / Abbotsford, BC / Kelowna, BC / Winnipeg, MB / Saskatoon, SK / Paradise, NL / Dartmouth, NS / Rothesay, NB. Attendance of both sessions (lecture and practical) is mandatory. 


Course Description:

Many people experience pelvic pain and dysfunction which severely affects their quality of life. Topics covered in this course include (but are not limited to) the evaluation and hands-on treatment for the following conditions that contribute to pelvic pain: vulvodynia, vestibulodynia, persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD), clitoral phimosis, dyspareunia, vaginismus, lichens sclerosis (LS), genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), pudendal neuralgia (PN), bladder pain syndrome (BPS), interstitial cystitis (IC), chronic non-bacterial prostatitis, chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), dysmenorrhea, endometriosis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Physiotherapists will learn how the recognize the pathophysiology, signs, and symptoms that lead to these impairments, the functional limitations and disabilities they cause, outcome measures that can be used in the clinic, and treatment interventions. This course is designed to teach physiotherapists how to evaluate the pelvic floor by learning specific examination and treatments for these conditions. This is a lecture-format and lab-based course (total of 3 days). Support documents, including assessment forms and patient handouts are included in the course cost.

Included in the cost of this course is access to a 1-day recorded course that focuses on understanding the impact of trauma on physical and emotional health and the barriers trauma may present to a patient’s experiences in healthcare, particularly pelvic floor physiotherapy. Over the duration of the course, we will explore the two most common types of trauma impacting pelvic health – childhood sexual abuse and birth trauma. We will explore how physiotherapists can apply a trauma-informed lens to their pelvic practice resulting in greater awareness, understanding and sensitivity for patients identifying as survivors of trauma. Through this increased sensitivity, physiotherapists will better support their patients and in turn observe higher levels of trust, adherence, and cooperation from their client base.

Through completion of this course, participants will:

  • Understand the conditions/definitions of vulvodynia, vestibulodynia, persistent genital arousal disorder, clitoral phimosis, dyspareunia, vaginismus, lichens sclerosis, genitourinary syndrome of menopause, pudendal neuralgia, bladder pain syndrome, interstitial cystitis, chronic non-bacterial prostatitis, chronic pelvic pain syndrome, dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, and irritable bowel syndrome
  • Understand the common symptoms, impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities associated in anyone experiencing pelvic pain
  • Review the literature supporting the role of physiotherapy in the treatment of pelvic pain conditions
  • Review pelvic floor anatomy, particularly with regards to various pelvic pain conditions
  • Improve palpation skills, vaginally and rectally, of the specific pelvic floor muscles in all three layers
  • Perform internal and external, vaginal and rectal myofascial and soft tissue treatment techniques specific to pelvic pain conditions
  • Describe specific client-related education and behavioural instruction related to pelvic pain conditions
  • Understand and develop an appropriate treatment plan which includes a home exercise program for pelvic pain
  • Recognize the importance of a multidisciplinary approach
  • We wiIl integrate concepts learned during case studies

The 1-day trauma video is recommended to be watched before the course.  This section of the course will discuss/include:

  • Why is a trauma-informed lens important for healthcare providers?
  • Defining childhood sexual abuse and/or sexual assault
  • How to recognize trauma: Signs and Symptoms
  • Neurobiology of Trauma: How is the brain and emotional functioning affected?
  • How does childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault shape or redefine a patient’s identity, sense of self, and body image?
  • Defining birth trauma
  • How does birth trauma affect pelvic floor recovery?
  • Birth Trauma vs. Post-Partum Mood Disorders: Similarities and Differences
  • Disclosures of Trauma: Appropriate and Inappropriate Responses by Healthcare Workers
  • Coping techniques for patients

          Audience: This course is open to physiotherapists, physiotherapy students, naturopathic doctors, naturopathic students, registered nurses, midwives and medical doctors. Labs include internal palpation.

          Prerequisites: Level 1 (or equivalent to be approved by PHS – please email for approval).

          Please Note: This course is both lecture format and practical labs with vaginal and rectal palpation.


          Live-Online Lecture – Day 1: 10:30am-6:30pm ET / Day 2: 10:30am-5:30pm ET (Toronto)

          In-Person Labs – to be completed in-person on November 19, 2023 at various set locations: Vaughan, ON / Perth, ON / Calgary, AB / Edmonton, AB / Abbotsford, BC / Kelowna, BC / Winnipeg, MB / Saskatoon, SK / Paradise, NL / Dartmouth, NS / Rothesay, NB. Attendance of both sessions (lecture and practical) is mandatory.


          We highly recommend taking the level 3 course. If registering for the level 2/3 bundle, when completing your registration form, you will need to mark the level 3 date you are registering for from the following options: *Discount is only valid at time of registration.* Please note - each level 3 course runs over 4 sessions. 

          Level 3 March 2023

          Level 3 May/June 2023

          Level 3 October 2023

          Level 3 November 2023

          Level 3: Biopsychosocial Reframed: Live-Online

          Course Description:

          Do you get frustrated with your persistent pain patients who don’t respond to your biomechanical approach? Transitioning to a biopsychosocial framework has been a challenge for many clinicians despite the competency of our biomechanical training. When patients have a sensitive nervous system, measuring psychosocial distress as objectively as we measure range of motion, muscle strength, proprioception and joint mobility is important when profiling their sensitive nervous system.

          This course will teach you how to reframe your persistent pain patients by treating the “whole person” using a psychologically informed framework.

          The use of distress questionnaires (SAD CLLIFSS) and skills training for the psychosocial components is lacking in many physiotherapy-based training programs.

          This course teaches you how to use distress questionnaires to assess the drivers of central sensitization. Clinicians need to do better than simply prescribe yoga and meditation to their patients with a sensitive nervous system. Explore the strong evidence behind matching evidence-informed treatment techniques such as pain education, yoga, qi gong, meditation, sensory-motor retraining, expressive writing exercises and cardiovascular exercise to each patient’s “driver” of their sensitive nervous system in order to improve patient outcomes. Barrier-breaking strategies of integrating psychologically informed practices into our treatment approach for persistent pain is a key competency of the modern, evidence-informed clinician.

          Upon completion of this course, participants will learn:

          • To move beyond “talking” about a biopsychosocial model of care to truly incorporating this model into your practice.
          • To define central sensitization and how to measure the characteristics of central sensitization in your clinical practice.
          • To understand a clinical framework for treating persistent pain that expands on your current biomechanical skills (from new grad to seasoned clinician).
          • How to assess various drivers of a sensitized nervous system and to “match” evidence-informed psychosocial skills to these drivers.
          • Novel movement exercises including six qi gong routines for the upper body, lower body, breathing and pelvic organs to help to address sensory-motor changes as well as generalized tension.

          This is a lecture-format and lab-based course. Included in the cost of the course are handouts and resources for each of the techniques learned. The audiovisual resources presented during this course for meditation, progressive relaxation exercises and qi gong will be made available as free downloads but can also be purchased through Embodia Academy for easier patient prescription.

          Audience: This course is open to all healthcare professionals.

          Registration Form

          Level 2 November 2023


          Level 2:

          Day 1 - 10:30am-6:30pm ET - Live-Online

          Day 2 - 10:30am-5:30pm ET - Live-Online

          Day 3 - In-person practical lab


          Level 2:

          PHS Team

          Level 3:

          Carolyn Vandyken, BHSc (PT), Registered Physiotherapist

          Carolyn graduated from McMaster University in 1986 with a degree in Physiotherapy and has practiced in a wide variety of clinical settings, focusing primarily on orthopedics. She has been a MacKenzie credentialed physiotherapist since 1999 and has been a member of the Canadian College of Medical Acupuncture since 2002. Her clinical focus changed to Pelvic Health and Incontinence in 2001. Carolyn was the co-founder of Pelvic Health Solutions, a Canadian-based post-graduate teaching company.

          Carolyn presents extensively internationally on pelvic health and central sensitization.  She has published numerous framework articles on integrating central pain mechanisms into clinical practice, a pain education book, and several chapters in textbooks on pelvic pain and central sensitization.  She is actively involved in research with Dr. Sinead Dufour at McMaster University and has published several studies on the connection between low back pain and pelvic floor dysfunction. Carolyn won the distinguished Education Award from the Ontario Physiotherapy Association in 2015.

          She co-owns a clinical practice in Huntsville, PhysioWorks Muskoka along with her daughter and physiotherapist, Brittany Vandyken.