An Interview with Certified Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Alyssa Rutchik Padial, PT, MS, OCS, PRPC

Interested in getting treatment for pelvic floor dysfunction? Find Alyssa’s practitioner listing at

Tell us about how you practice pelvic rehabilitation

Alyssa Rutchik Padial, PT, MS, OCS, PRPC

For almost 25 years, I have been privileged to be a part of NYC’s #1 New York Presbyterian Hospital, working in the hospital-based out-patient arena. The patient population is diverse, and the great fortune of being at an academic institution means that I have had the opportunity to see and learn about effective treatments for all kinds of patients. We treat any patients with orthopedic, neurological, vestibular, trauma, burn, hand, spine, and of course, pelvic conditions! Our pelvic health program was initiated in 2002 and we see male and female patients with all types of pelvic dysfunction – bladder, bowel, sexual, pain. We treat women throughout the peri-partum and postpartum span. Our practice has 3 pelvic rehabilitation physical therapists and patients are typically seen 1x/week for 45 minute sessions. Additionally, I see patients in Westchester and Rockland Counties in NY on a fee-for service basis in my private practice.

What/who inspired you to become involved in pelvic rehabilitation?

My first course with Herman & Wallace was, “Clinical Highlights of Pregnancy and Post-Partum,” taught by Hollis Herman. She had me at hello! Her energy, dynamic and charismatic presence brought the topic to a level I couldn’t resist, and I hadn’t even had my babies yet! She introduced the pelvic floor as it relates to the hormonal influences and body mechanics in women, and I realized she had just filled a large gap in my knowledge. I could immediately see how every person could benefit from my further understanding. I simply followed Holly, and then Kathe Wallace, around the country taking all of their courses. They taught me that addressing the topics that some may find embarrassing is critical to our understanding of ourselves and our patients. As I often say, and if you’ll pardon the vernacular, we all pee, poop and have sexual desires, so let’s make sure we can talk about it! When these systems don’t work, life becomes very difficult. At the same time I was furthering my education in pelvic health, I was expanding my clinical knowledge of the spine, the foot and ankle, and the systems of balance, and the connections between all of these parts helped the puzzle of the body become more complete so that I can help my patients “head to toe, and all between!”

Treating men and women with pelvic dysfunction is such a privilege. I owe much of my passion for my work to Hollis Herman and Kathe Wallace.

If you could get a message out to physical therapists about pelvic rehabilitation what would it be?

One of the things that I have found very important in my practice is that pelvic rehabilitation is not just about the pelvis. If I were to encourage one thing to other physical therapists interested in this area of specialty, it would be to take as many orthopedic courses as possible – know the mechanics of the spine, from the cervical down to the coccyx, learn the nerves and the muscles of the anatomy inside and out, learn about the influences of the feet on our ability to adapt to the ground, our ability to absorb shock…All of what happens below and above the pelvis is so incredibly relevant, and to treat the pelvis effectively, there must be an understanding of its surroundings.

What has been your favorite Herman & Wallace Course and why?

I have loved every single one of them, but I would have to say my favorite Herman & Wallace course was Pelvic Floor Level 1, which I took a very long time ago, in 2003. I went into the course a bit shy, a bit unsure, and I left feeling more confident and armed with skills that I knew would make a difference. This also was the course where I met so many amazing women who continue to be incredible resources and friends. Since then, so many courses have continued to inspire me to look beyond the movement realm and consider the brain and pain, nutrition and our emotional connections to the body.

What makes you the most proud to have earned PRPC?

I am incredibly proud to have been in the inaugural group of talented therapists to earn this certification. After years of hard work and really loving what I do, it’s nice to be recognized as a specialist.