Special topics in physical therapy

Some articles below, such as Children, Torture, and Psychological Consequences, are included because while they do not directly describe physiotherapy, they are very relevant to PT practice.

Children, torture and psychological consequences

Alayarian, A. (2009). Torture: Journal of Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Prevention of Torture, 19(2), 145-156.
Impact of torture on children may vary depending on the child’s coping strategies, cultural and social circumstances. In this paper the author gives a brief introduction of the work the Refugee Therapy Center does with children, discusses the effects of torture on children and presents a vignette and some examples of clinical intervention.

* The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT)’s Journal on Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Prevention of

Complementary therapies for treating survivors of torture

Vargas, C., O’Rourke, D. & Esfandian, M. Refuge: Canada’s Periodical on Refugees, 22(1), 129-137.
This article was reviewed by doctoral physical therapy student from the University of Minnesota, Angela Pitar, 2014.
Link to full text article from the Dignity-Danish Institute Against Torture is below.
Background - the assumptions that physical pain, unexplained by medical or physical findings, is psychosomatic in nature has been long standing and pervasive as was pain reported by survivors of torture attributed to psychological trauma.

Constipation: Tips for the Provider

Constipation is a condition where bowel movements become difficult, painful, and infrequent. Normal bowel movements can occur anywhere from 3 times/day to 3 times/week. Constipation is influenced by a multitude of factors including an overactive pelvic floor, a diet low in fiber, improper hydration, and certain medications. Other risk factors associated with constipation include history of trauma, history of depression, females, lower socioeconomic status, regular use of constipation medications, and decreased activity.

An overactive pelvic floor hinders normal bowel movement.

Creating a Safe Space for the LGBTI Community in Nairobi

At CVT Nairobi, our counseling staff has been helping LGBTI clients with mental health care for several years. Most recently, we integrated physiotherapy after clients were raising concerns about the well-being of their physical health. From the counseling group cycle, a 10-week physiotherapy cycle was developed, focused on a safe space for LGBTI clients to address functional issues such as chronic back pain, musculoskeletal disorders and pelvic floor disorders.

Finding the Most Effective Ways to Help Children Affected by War

At CVT Jordan, one of the most powerful and successful things that we are doing on the physiotherapy team is the children’s group sessions. During my three and a half years as a physiotherapist at CVT, I have come to understand how important it is to include the parents in their children’s healing journey. In order to get the best results, at CVT we have modified our approach as we’ve learned from the children and their parents.

How Pelvic Health Physical Therapists Can Help with Sexual Dysfunction in Men

A Review of “The Role in Pelvic Floor Muscles in Male Sexual Dysfunction and Pelvic Pain” Cohen, D., Gonzalez, J., & Goldstein, I. (2016).

Much of the research on male sexual dysfunction has previously been focused on neurological or vascular causes. More recently, studies have turned their focus to the involvement of the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor helps to stabilize the internal organs and gives bowel and bladder control.

Interaction between patient and physiotherapist in psychiatric care : The physiotherapist's perspective

Gyllensten, A., Gard, G., Hansson, L., & Ekdahl, C. (2000), Advances in Physiotherapy, 2(4), 157-167.
This article was reviewed by Charlotte Hoium, physical therapy doctoral student at the University of Minnesota, 2014.
The article may be obtained free of charge from Dignity-Danish Institute Against Torture by emailing them at library@dignityinstitute.dk and including a list of desired articles.
Purpose:  to investigate what factors the physiotherapy experts in psychiatric physiotherapy believed to be important in the interaction between the patient and the physiotherapist.

Key Social Services for Refugee Survivors of Torture

In my work with survivors of torture in Jordan, every day I see how social services are an integral and extremely important element of healing. CVT uses an interdisciplinary model of care in our Jordan program, and social services represent the third angle of CVT’s services triangle, fully integrated with the other two disciplines: mental health counseling and physiotherapy. With this interdisciplinary approach, we are able to better serve beneficiaries (clients).

Mind and body-Physiotherapy and complementary therapy

Hough, A. (1992). Paper presented at the International Conference of Centres, Institutions and Individuals Concerned With the Care of Victims of Organized Violence: Health , Political Repression and Human Rights, Santiago, Chile. 
This article was reviewed by University of Minnesota physical therapy doctoral student, Angela Pitar, 2014. 
The article may be obtained free of charge by emailing library@dignityinstiture.dk
Background - Torture victims often present with a multitude of problems and complementary therapy seeks to address each problem using a comprehensive and collaborative

Pelvic floor involvement in male and female sexual dysfunction and the role of pelvic floor rehabilitation in treatment: A literature review

This article includes an overall review of the literature about the efficacy of physiotherapy when working with clients who have pelvic floor issues, including incontinence, painful sexual functioning and other concerns.

Rosenbaum, T.Y. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2007; 4: 4-13.

This article was reviewed by doctoral physical therapy student from the University of Minnesota, Torey Tilahune, 2019.

Link to full text article is found below.


The sphincteric and supportive functions of the pelvic floor are relatively well understood, and the specialized field within physical therapy

Physiotherapist Day of Service: Helping Children in Amman, Jordan

For many professionals who do healing work, it is a good feeling to be able to bring your skills and experience to people who might not otherwise have access to your service. When a chance arose to bring physiotherapy work to a nonprofit organization in Amman, the CVT Jordan team was happy to step forward. Beginning in 2015, an international group of physiotherapists (PTs) was inspired to start a project called the PT Day of Service. For one day in October, they call upon PTs around the world to engage in a day of helping within their communities, all with the mission to “Change lives. Grow community. Better the World.”

Physiotherapy as empowerment : Treating women with chronic pelvic pain

Mattsson, M., Wilkman, M., Dahlberg, L. & Mattson, B. (2000). Advances in Physiotherapy, 2(3), 125-143.
reviewed by Aaron O’Donnell, University of Minnesota doctoral physical therapy student, 2014
This article is available free of charge from Dignity-Danish Institute Against Torture. Please email them at library@dignityinstitute.dk and include a list of desired articles and your mailing address.
Background: A large group of CPP (chronic pelvic pain) patients are “inexplicable” from a medical point of view.

Psychosomatic group treatment helps women with chronic pelvic pain

Albert, H. (1999). Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 20(4), 216-225.
Reviewed by Brittany Burton, doctoral physical therapy candidate from the University of Minnesota, 2014. 
Please email them at library@dignityinstitute.dk and include a list of desired articles and your mailing address.
Background: In this study, group treatment for women with chronic pelvic pain based on physical, psychosomatic and behavioral therapeutic principles of treatment was assessed.

Restoring Hope and Childhoods

Ahmad*, an 11-year-old Syrian boy, was having a hard time managing his anger. In Syria, he had survived a grenade attack when he was mistaken for a soldier. His family sought safety in Amman, Jordan, but life was still not peaceful. Ahmad had violent outbursts. He was aggressive and hit his siblings. He had internalized the violence from his experiences in Syria into his own young body. Increasingly, our staff in Jordan is seeing children and young people like Ahmad who need mental health and physical therapycare to cope with their traumatic experiences. Now, more than a third of our clients in Jordan are under the age of 18. Syrian adults report that the well-being and potential of their children constitute their greatest source of stress. Parents worry constantly about what their children have seen and experienced.