CRYSTAL CITY, Mo. – The newest offering at Mercy Hospital Jefferson is also one of the most unique. Physical therapist Carla Raidt is one of only six people in the state of Missouri certified in the specialized treatment.
“It started as physical therapy for women post pregnancy but has expanded rapidly in the diagnoses we treat. We see men and women,” Raidt said. “Patients are referred by their urologists, gynecologists, gastroenterologists, family practice or internal medicine physicians.”
Among the most common symptoms and diagnoses are urinary and fecal incontinence, abdominal and pelvic floor pain and dysfunctions, post prostate or colorectal surgery, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, bladder pain and more, she said. The best success comes with early intervention.
“We are trying to be the first step. Fewer than 30 percent of patients talk to their doctor about incontinence and usually wait too long,” Raidt said. “You don’t have to live with it. Some people wait years. People think it’s part of getting older, but it’s not a factor of aging. We just don’t think about those muscles.”
The therapist uses exercise, strengthening, relaxation, breathing, posture adjustments, and deep tissue massage as components of a course of treatment.
“There is a ton of education that goes on with this. We use our baseline of physical therapy skills targeted specifically to the needs of men and women in regards to pelvic and abdominal health,” Raidt said. “My job is not to make you perfect; it’s to make your body function the best it can.”
Patients often cause more trouble for themselves in putting off treatment. They may develop problems with posture when they sit or stand awkwardly trying to avoid or reduce pain. The body starts adapting, so earlier intervention is always preferable.
“The course of treatment depends on the patient. Some can be treated in as few as four visits, and others may take six months or more. We may see patients for chronic pain management for years,” Raidt said.
Raidt has been a physical therapist for more than 30 years and specializing in pelvic and abdominal health for 24 years. For the past 10 years she has been providing the specialized service for men and women at Mercy Hospital St. Louis.
Her background also includes work with the U.S. Olympic weight-lifting team assisting men and women athletes. Her husband Dan Raidt is a Catholic deacon and a chaplain in pastoral care at Mercy Jefferson.
The new Men and Women’s Health opens April 11 in the outpatient therapy services area at Mercy Jefferson on the ground floor of the North Medical Office.
“We will offer late and early hours. Too many people can’t do the nine to five thing,” she said.
Appointments will be scheduled between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 8 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Fridays. For an appointment or more information call 636-933-1606.
Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2017 by Truven, an IBM Watson Health company, serves millions annually. Mercy includes 44 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.