Megan L. Itell, DPT, works with both orthopedic and pelvic floor patients at MossRehab Lansdale and Plymouth Meeting. She is one of six physical therapists in the MossRehab network specializing in pelvic floor conditions.
We talked with Megan about her background, interest in pelvic floor therapy, and the types of patients she works with at MossRehab.
Why did you become a physical therapist?
When I was younger, I helped my grandma with her physical therapy. When exploring possible careers in high school, she suggested that I pursue this field. While I wasn’t sure at first, my first clinical confirmed that this was the right career. I also liked the idea of helping people.
What is your educational background and training?
I received my Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of Buffalo in 2007. I am also board certified in Orthopedic Therapy and a pelvic floor therapist. When I graduated, I initially worked in a trauma hospital, serving as an acute physical therapist in inpatient, acute rehab and outpatient rehabilitation. Then, I was employed as a travel physical therapist where I took assignments at different facilities throughout the country. I served at long-term acute care hospitals, outpatient facilities, and skilled nursing facilities in California, Florida, and Pennsylvania. My work experience gave me a broad range of knowledge on different rehabilitation programs to become a more well-rounded physical therapist.
How long have you been at Moss Rehab?
I joined the MossRehab Outpatient Orthopedic Residency Program in 2017. This year-long residency gave me extra training on a specific area of physical therapy while updating my knowledge. I currently work at MossRehab Lansdale and Plymouth Meeting. Both are stimulating work environments where the staff enjoy their profession and helping people. It’s rewarding as I don’t feel like I am working at a stagnant 9 to 5 job where you put in your time and leave.
Can you explain your specialization in pelvic floor conditions?
I was introduced to pelvic floor therapy during my MossRehab residency program and working with a patient with an orthopedic issue. While I tried different treatments to relieve her back pain that traveled down both legs, the only thing that worked was pelvic floor and abdominal muscle activation. I am taking classes to become certified in this specialization as there are a limited number of physical therapists (PTs) in this field. Right now, there are six PTs in the MossRehab network that work in pelvic floor therapy. The small number puts us in demand.
What type of patients do you treat?
It’s a mix. At MossRehab Lansdale, I mostly work with patients experiencing orthopedic issues while at MossRehab Plymouth Meeting, I see more patients with pelvic floor conditions. Orthopedics includes people having problems with their back, neck, shoulders, elbow, jaw, etc. which could be caused by an accident, fall, or an insidious onset that stems from an unknown cause. In other words, orthopedic patients could have problems from an accident, comorbidity such as cancer treatment, or just from bending over to pick up something. I always see a mix of patients with orthopedic issues as the focus is on muscles, joints, and nerves throughout the whole body.
In providing pelvic floor therapy, I work with all genders. Diagnoses could include pelvic pain, postpartum childbearing conditions, pelvic organ prolapse, post-hernia operations, status-post prostatectomy or other issues. I also use pelvic floor therapy to treat patients with bowel and urinary incontinence as well as constipation.
What inspires you on the job?
Patients making progress is inspirational to me. As physical therapists, we give our clients the tools and education to manage and understand their particular issues to help them get themselves better. We are here to give patients what they need to address their challenges and regain their quality of life.
What are your clinical interests?
My two focuses right now are orthopedics and pelvic floor therapy. While I find other aspects of physical therapy interesting, I want to get my certification in pelvic floor therapy before considering branching into other areas.
What are your interests outside of work?
I am an outside person. I like to hike, bike, backpack, and camp. My time is a bit limited right now to do some of those things as I have a toddler at home and I am enjoying watching him learn about the world.
Favorite vacation spot?
I don’t have one particular favorite place. I enjoy getting away from the hectic pace of life and making things simple. That might mean turning off the phone at home, go camping or backpacking, or stay at an BNB to disconnect and recharge.
Last book read?
I listen to audiobooks during my work commute. The last book I listened to was I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. I also listen to podcasts about physical therapy.
Some Favorite food?
I like a lot of different foods but find myself eating Mexican more frequently. I make it at home but, when we go out, I like to go to the smaller, more authentic restaurants.
Who has had a strong influence on your life?
My father had a strong influence on me. He was always patient with anybody. He has a calming presence and can deal with situations. My mentors during the residency also influenced me on how I work as a therapist.
Your life motto?
I would say that learning never stops. There’s always something you can learn from any situation.
Learn more about how MossRehab treats urinary incontinence and pelvic floor issues with physical therapy.
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