Let me start by saying, welcome!
I am incredibly excited to be able to share my story with you. My name is Grecia Alaniz and I am a pelvic health and orthopaedic physiotherapist, as well as the founder and owner of Radius Health Clinic. My hope for this blog is to be able to provide meaningful and relatable content that will answer your questions regarding your physical health and translate the latest research in a way that is easy to integrate into your life. But for now, I think it’s only fair that I tell you a little about myself and how I got to where I am today.
What inspired me to become a physiotherapist…?
My love for physiotherapy stemmed from neurological rehabilitation as an undergraduate kinesiology student. I was captivated by how impactful physiotherapy could be in improving the quality of life for individuals with MS and spinal cord injuries. I was given the unique opportunity to see patients go from a wheelchair to walking during my three years as a volunteer. This influenced my motivation to become a physiotherapist. However, on September 23, 2015 this completely changed. This is the day one of my physiotherapy professor’s spoke of the emerging role of pelvic health physiotherapy. I was floored (no pun intended) when I found out how effective this form of physiotherapy is and how meaningful it can be to help men and women manage and even resolve their symptoms!
…But why pelvic health?
I should add that pelvic health hits very close to home. At the age of 20, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. Unfortunately, this was no surprise to me. My mother, aunt and grandmother have all experienced the wrath of endo. This placed me in a unique position, where I can truly empathize with those who suffer from pelvic pain syndromes. I’ve been there… curled up in a fetal position with the hot packs, taking pain medication that made me so drowsy that attending my lectures was useless, having frequent changes to my medication that resulted in break outs and mood swings, and bleeding through super plus tampons in 2 hours. I’ve also seen what happens from a family member’s perspective, since my mother underwent 9 years of misdiagnoses and 3 surgeries to address her stage IV endometriosis. So trust me when I say, I’ve been there.
I still find it unbelievable that when it comes to women’s health and pelvic health, it is still taboo to talk about the details of a dysfunctional reproductive or digestive system that goes beyond PMS or treated as “normal”. This isn’t okay. We should be able to ask questions without feeling embarrassed, or ashamed. This is why I wanted to become a pelvic health physiotherapist. To provide a comfortable space to talk about your pain, when you’ve peed your pants when you ran after your son or granddaughter, your hemorrhoids and severe constipation, how sex is painful or you’ve never been able to insert a tampon. I want to be able to change the mentality behind pelvic health and how it can affect both MEN and WOMEN.
I knew to be able to effect change, I needed to make change. So, I became the Interprofessional Representative for Physiotherapy and the Physiotherapy Graduate Ambassador while juggling the demands of being a physiotherapy student. These leadership roles offered me the opportunity to collaborate and educate other professions about the benefits of physiotherapy and the emerging role of pelvic health. You may be surprised, but there are many healthcare providers that are not aware of pelvic health physiotherapy. Have I mentioned that pelvic health physiotherapy is supported by the highest level of research!? There are very few treatments with this level of evidence to support them. You better believe I rambled about pelvic health to as many people as I could. My friends can attest to this. But this led me to my next passion. Research.
Cool. What about research?
One of the most frustrating things from a patient’s perspective is not having access to information to allow them to be better informed. This is why it is so important that clinicians learn to translate current knowledge. But this can prove to be a challenge, when clinicians are often over-worked and don’t have the time to read the newest articles. But, I’ve found that being involved in research makes it easier to integrate the evidence into practice. It is also easier for me to provide patients with this knowledge since I am gaining this information from my research colleagues. I have been a Research Supervisor for McMaster’s Physiotherapy program for the past 2 years. Our study has focused on improving knowledge and awareness of pelvic health physiotherapy among healthcare students. We are currently investigating the effectiveness of interprofessional education workshops, where students work together to formulate a management plan for various pelvic health conditions. Interprofessional education has existed in Canada for some time now, but this is the first study in Canada to focus on pelvic health. My hope is that this becomes the norm and streamlines your health care experience.
So where have I been practicing?
I was fortunate enough to have secured a position in a local physiotherapy clinic prior to graduation. My goal has always been to return to Chatham in hopes of improving access to this specialized care. From there, I was offered to cover a maternity leave in London that largely focused on the prenatal and postpartum population. So, over the past 8 months, I have been wearing many hats, as a clinician, researcher, and most recently businesswoman. However, in following my original goal, it was clear to me that the place I should be practicing is in my hometown. So, I decided to take a leap of faith and open Radius Health Clinic. It has been a whirlwind, but I could not be more excited to begin this next chapter!
I hope I was able to give you some insight into my life and why I am so unbelievably passionate about this area of care!
Hope to see you at our grand opening on March 2!