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VOL. 121 | NO. 192 | Friday, September 29, 2006

Wade Becomes First Physical Therapist In Tri-State Area to Earn Biofeedback Certification

MEGAN WATERS | Special to The Daily News

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"Many people with these disorders don't realize they can be helped. They think they have to suffer, but we can use biofeedback to retrain the muscles without direct contact, and give relief."
- Deanne Wade
Name: Deanne Wade
Position: Therapist and Supervisor
Company: Incontinence and Pelvic Rehabilitation Program at Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital
Basics: Wade, who has spent years working in health care, recently received a special certification to help patients with pelvic disorders. She's the first physical therapist to earn the status in the tri-state area.

Deanne Wade just wants to help people.

As a physical therapist and supervisor of the Incontinence and Pelvic Rehabilitation Program at Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital, she's been doing just that for several years.

Now she's found a procedure that could help even more patients.

Wade recently became the first therapist in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi to become certified through the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America in pelvic muscle dysfunction biofeedback. Biofeedback is a non-invasive form of therapy in which the therapist attaches electrodes to the patient's body, and the sensors provide readings on skin temperature, muscle tension or brainwave function.

The readings are displayed for patients, so they're able to begin making subtle changes to decrease pain or relieve symptoms.

The treatment has had great success among incontinence and pelvic pain sufferers, who are able to use biofeedback to retrain the muscles in the pelvic floor, Wade said.

"Many people with these disorders don't realize they can be helped," she said. "They think they have to suffer, but we can use biofeedback to retrain the muscles without direct contact, and give relief."


Going for the goals

To gain her certification, Wade met the educational, clinical and exam requirements set down by the Biofeedback Institute, with 80 hours of biofeedback courses, patient care and a written certification exam.

Wade said she was always interested in becoming a health care provider, and began to explore physical therapy after doing an internship at The Regional Medical Center at Memphis during her postgraduate work at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.

After completing the physical therapy program at UT Memphis, Wade worked at The Med for three years in trauma and critical care. She became increasingly interested in women's health, and left The Med to do more specialized work.

She spent the next 10 years at Memphis-based Physiotherapy Associates Inc., where she treated disorders related to pregnancy.

Two and a half years ago, when Physiotherapy Associates closed its doors, Wade went to Methodist to start the Incontinence and Pelvic Rehabilitation Program.

Wade said she's proud of the program because it offers patients options outside of traditional therapies, such as pain medications or surgery. The program uses physical therapy techniques, including therapeutic exercise, manual therapy massage, and now, biofeedback.

"Patients who experience urinary incontinence and overactive bladder can often be helped by non-surgical techniques," said Wade. "Sometimes surgery is necessary, but patients should explore other avenues first."

Sherri Smith, a physical therapist who works for Wade at Methodist Le Bonheur, said she thinks Wade is instrumental to patient care as well.

"She is a wealth of knowledge," Smith said. "Because she has been practicing for so long, she picks up on things that a lot of people miss, and is able to offer a better diagnosis. She's able to put the pieces of the puzzle together."

Wade said she enjoys the challenges of dealing with patients, and wants more to seek help.

"Many people live with these disorders for too long before they seek help," she said. "We have to get the word out and let patients know they don't have to suffer."

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