We frequently talk about being community movers at Pilates in Holland. We move together in community during mat and reformer classes, we groove together during Nia, and we support each other in life’s ups and downs. We’re also part of a larger community of movers: professionals who care about the wellbeing of our neighbors and friends. Today we’re introducing you to a long-time friend and passionate advocate for whole-body health, including the pelvic floor.
It all started with irritation towards some of her peers during PT school. Erin Lamb would listen to them making fun of rectal and vaginal exams and think to herself “who’s going to help those people if no one is willing to go there?” That feeling only intensified once she started practicing and realized just how badly help in the pelvic floor area was needed.
Fast forward 20 years (and marriage and 3 kids later!) and Erin has now opened her own practice, Equilibrium Physical Therapy, to specialize in pelvic floor health. However, the pelvic floor has a BIG job description: organ support, sexual appreciation, bladder and bowel function, and stability. Plus the pelvic floor is only one part of the core or trunk muscles: (abdomen (lots of muscles, but there’s a leader and some followers), multifidus (the back muscles), the pelvic floor (a group of muscles at the floor of the perineum), and diaphragm). Plus Erin takes a holistic approach with her patients, looking for balance (hence the name Equilibrium PT) in the body.
Which means that Erin’s work can find her working on the right shoulder when the source of pain was the left hip. She likes to think of herself as a detective, looking for the origin of the problem, not just individual pain points. She is a movement scientist and teaches patients about their bodies as a whole.
Pelvic floor therapy isn’t just for people who’ve had surgery, or a difficult pregnancy, or a trama to the area. Often, people have problems from lifestyle alone: diet, sleep, stress, physical inactivity, overuse, or repetitive use. We get into routines and our body does them over and over and eventually becomes the routine. Someone who sits all day and doesn’t sit correctly can become their chair. The body begins to think it’s the normal state…and shifts to that. The body is an amazing compensator. It will find a creative way to make something happen, and that’s when things start to creep up. Like a Tetris screen, when you’re keeping up and making everything fit, and then eventually you can’t keep up and it all goes haywire and breaks down. You “suddenly” have all these problems and you think you’re a trainwreck, but you just need to go back to the beginning and fix what started the whole thing.
Patients don’t need to see Erin forever, just until they can use cues to recruit the proper muscles, then they can begin strengthening and using them. And that’s where Pilates comes in. Erin has been doing Pilates herself for 24 years and has integrated it into her practice. She finds it’s really good at balancing out the core muscles to strengthen those that are weak and calm the ones that are doing too much. Patients can go to Pilates for continued work and it’s going to be consistent with what they’ve learned from her.
Likewise, if any of our Pilates in Holland clients are really struggling to do the movements and their brain/body connection is getting in the way, or other joints are hurting and can’t stop compensating or it just doesn’t feel good, it’s probably a good sign they should see Erin for some hands-on work. The same for ongoing constipation, diarrhea, and urinary urgency, which are all symptoms of a larger problem. It’s easiest if new patients bring a prescription so Erin knows the physician is on board, but she can accept direct referrals without a prescription initially, so anyone can schedule an evaluation. But because she believes it’s best practice, Erin will send an evaluation and plan of care to the patient’s primary care doctor or physician of choice.