Dr. Leslie Kremer’s new physical therapy practice, Prenatal Postnatal Therapy, opened Sept. 1. The practice places a special emphasis on women’s health therapy related to healthy pregnancies and recoveries. A resident of Cascade for three years after moving from Epworth with her husband and four daughters, Kremer received her master’s degree in physical therapy from Clarke College in 2002, followed years later by a doctorate from Des Moines University in 2013.
“I wanted to help with healing in some way, but didn’t want to commit to the education a physician needs,” said Kremer, “so that was how I landed in physical therapy. When I started I was mostly doing sports injuries, but quickly found out that wasn’t really my thing. The clinics were too fast-paced for me and I like to spend an hour or more with a patient.”
Kremer said her interest in specializing in women’s health began with information she learned during her third pregnancy about techniques to make labor go smoother. However, it wasn’t until her fourth pregnancy that the interest took hold in full force.
“I was having a lot of physical problems from having four kids like bladder leakage and Diastasis recti where the abdominal muscles separate, along with other women’s health problems,” said Kremer. “I set out on a journey to make myself better and in the process found it was what I wanted to do, help other women during pregnancy and recovery. I’m a physical therapist, but at that time I wasn’t working a whole lot because I was having kids, but I did work in the nursing homes. I made a career shift in 2016 and got trained in public health. I started my practice in 2018 in Dubuque and decided to move it out to Cascade to offer it to our community.”
Among Kremer’s specialties include pelvic health, as well as Craniosacral Therapy and spinning babies. Kremer explained these therapies as consisting of light touches that release tension deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction. She went on to describe how they can contribute to a shorter and less painful labor.
“Craniosacral is great for pregnancy since it helps the baby get positioned better. There’s a best position for the baby to be in when a woman starts labor. If the baby isn’t in that position the labor can be 10 to12 hours longer as the baby moves into that initial position. If we can start labor with that baby already there, it will be shorter and smoother. Craniosacral and the other work I do is about making a bit more room for baby to get in that position. I do hands-on work with mom, kind of like massage techniques during pregnancy, and I teach her different exercises she can do to keep her body loose during the pregnancy which also helps with pain.”
Kremer’s work with mothers doesn’t end at labor, however, but continues after birth to ensure proper recovery for the woman’s body.
“Postpartum, after the woman has that baby, has a lot of things which should be addressed. A lot of women will ignore it thinking it’s just going to get better, but somewhere between that six to 12 week mark they should really be seeing me and having things checked out. The check the doctor does is pretty quick to make sure there’s nothing major like stitches or infection. My exam is a lot more thorough. I’m looking at muscle strength and integrity, the position of the bladder and how the belly’s healing.”
Other treatments include bowel/bladder and abdominal concerns, painful intercourse, scar tissue management, or any general pelvic health concern, women’s health condition or chronic pain condition in either men or women. Kremer also described a little-known course of pain relief she practices called Visceral Manipulation, which focuses on relieving pressure in the body’s internal organs and the various parts of the body they are connected to. As an example, she described the connection between a tense liver and shoulder pain.
“You wouldn’t necessarily think about your liver the way you would about your shoulder, but there’s still ligaments coming off the liver attaching to other parts of the body. You can follow a ligament from the liver up to the right shoulder, so for some people with chronic right shoulder problems, there’s some tension in the liver that’s preventing the shoulder from getting better.”
By utilizing the styles of Visceral Manipulation, Craniosacral Therapy and others, Kremer described her overall style of therapy as more alternative and unique than typical physical therapists.
“I’m not like traditional physical therapy where I go after the pain. If you come in and say your right shoulder hurts, I’m not going to just say ‘Ok, let’s work on the shoulder.’ I’m going to ask ‘What part of your body is sending a message to your shoulder that there’s a problem. Oh look, it’s actually your liver. I’m more holistic, not like a traditional physical therapist. My practice uses techniques considered a bit more alternative A lot of places will give ultrasounds and exercises, whereas I’m putting my hands on the body and doing techniques that target the body in a more eastern medicine style. Western medicine is what we’re used to where we get sick, go to the doctor, get a pill or a referral to physical therapy. Eastern medicine is more like ‘what can I do to help your body heal itself?’ It’s about getting to the source or root cause of the problem.”