Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down over lunch with Tryna DeGagne, Owner of Element Physiotherapy in downtown Brandon, Manitoba. Tryna opened her own practice about two and a half years ago, and loves where it has taken her. We had a great time discussing kegels, the pelvic floor, and common myths about physiotherapy while enjoying the lunch special at Wildflower Cafe—a mutually favourite restaurant.
Tryna explained that she mostly treats women for prenatal, postpartum and pelvic floor physiotherapy—while her co-worker Kylie treats the rest of the family! Together, they treat the whole family from head to toe.
We explored prenatal and postpartum physio, and the general timeline of when a woman should make an appointment with Element. Generally a woman should expect to make an appointment around 20 weeks or later, and provided she is low-risk, or at the request of a midwife or Obstetrician, she should be safe to have a physiotherapy assessment. I didn’t realize there would be an internal portion of the assessment, but Tryna explained how it helps with the contraction or relaxation of the muscles, and deep abdominal muscles. Tryna can also assess breathing patterns, as the way you breathe and use your core can promote or decrease pelvic floor muscle activation.
“Most people only go to physio when they are injured, but we are really encouraging the preventative approach at our clinic”
This led into the topic of weak-tight and weak-loose pelvic muscles. This was one of the myths that she mentioned. Society tells us to “tighten those muscles” and “do lots of kegels!”, but that is not always the case. She explained that a lot of the time she must help women learn to relax those muscles with different exercises.
The conversation then delved into weight trainer balls—as seen in Fifty Shades. I wanted to know, are those really going to help me? Her answer: Everyone is different. She did point out that the weight trainers can be used to help women find the muscles or the motion, and then physio can help determine whether you needs to strengthen, relax, or do both. This seems like a much more logical use for them.
Tryna treats women from the age of 19 all the way up to late 80s, as women can seek out a physiotherapist at any time in their lives. Significant changes such as menopausal changes, pre- and post-hysterectomy and pre- and post-prolapse (fallen bladder or rectum) surgery are just a few of the reasons a woman might contact her office. She is also trained to treat men and children for pelvic floor physiotherapy. She explained some really innovative ways to help children with incontinence. “The younger you come, the more impact pelvic floor physiotherapy can have.”
Throughout the interview, she really stressed the importance that incontinence and urgency were very common, but also very abnormal. If someone is suffering from it, she encourages them to come in for an assessment, and her clinic is fully prepared to find out what the issue is, and see if it is something they can treat or assist with.
To wrap up our discussion, I asked her the cliche question: Why did you get into this? She said that during her time in physiotherapy school there was a small unit on women’s health, that left her wanting more. Once she was working as a physiotherapist, she really started enjoying her few pregnant clients, and took a Pelvic Floor course. She says “the stars aligned” when she opened her own practice, with Kylie joining soon after.
Tryna certainly has a wealth of knowledge about prenatal, postpartum and pelvic floor physiotherapy. I feel secure knowing more about it, and the benefits it can provide me before, during, and after pregnancy—I hope you think so too! If you would like to read a bit more in-depth on this topic, visit Element Physiotherapy at www.elementphysio.ca or give them a call at 204-728-4466.