Kristen Fisher, PT, DPT, CLT (Certified Lymphedema Therapist)
Partner, Desert Healing and Pelvic Health Physical Therapy
Pelvic health, including
“Many pelvic pain or genital pain complaints get dismissed by health care practitioners, and I want to shout from the rooftops that pelvic pain, incontinence, or any type of pelvic floor dysfunction is very common and there is help!”
Kristen’s passion for pelvic health began at home, as she herself has dealt with both gastrointestinal and pelvic floor issues from a young age. When Kristen began her physical therapy doctoral program, her sister developed chronic debilitating pelvic pain. Unable to work, she was tossed from specialist to specialist, getting no answers. As a health condition, pelvic pain seemed to be poorly understood and minimized, despite its very real effects. Only when she found pelvic floor physical therapy did she begin to improve, and within 6 months she regained her quality of life and the freedom pain had taken from her. Seeing her sister struggle with and finally overcome her pain inspired Kristen to help others who might be suffering with little hope. As for Kristen, practicing what she was taught in grad school allowed her to manage her own symptoms, and she no longer suffers pelvic pain.
In addition to her doctorate and a 15-month postgraduate pelvic health/women’s health residency, Kristen has completed continuing education courses in sexual wellness and female pelvic floor function, dysfunction, and treatment. She is also certified in dry needling.
More recently, Kristen was given the opportunity to train as a lymphedema therapist when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down many of the clinics that provided this kind of care. She considers this a huge blessing—being able to give these patients immediate relief has proved incredibly rewarding. Working with breast cancer patients in particular has been illuminating for her. “I have had loved ones affected with cancer, and thought it would be emotionally taxing to work with cancer patients, but it’s quite the opposite. The cancer population are a breath of fresh air as they are the most determined, hard-working, and emotionally strong patients I work with. I think my “caring-but-with-grit” personality is the perfect match for lymphedema and cancer-related-lymphedema patients and I am happy it fell into my lap!”
“What do you want to be able to do? Well let's do it!”
Kristen’s approach to treatment is functional and individualized, guided by whatever specific limitations the patient wants to overcome to live a better life, and addressing the root causes of those limitations. She utilizes functional movement, hands-on techniques, and mindful awareness of the body to increase strength and decrease tension and pain. Kristen’s goal for each patient is to gradually make herself unnecessary to them by giving them the knowledge and tools to take control of their own health and wellbeing.
An initial consultation with Kristen includes an in-depth interview about the client’s health history; an examination; a diagnosis, with a thorough explanation; and a review of the possible treatment options, so the patient can decide how they would like to start. Assessment of the pelvic floor may include external and/or internal examination; treatments may include internal/external release of muscle tension, strengthening, stretching, and improving the neuromuscular connection between brain and body.
A transplant from the Midwest, Kristen grew up just outside Kansas City (on the Kansas side). She came to Tucson to learn more about pelvic health and to complete her residency and ended up falling in love with Tucson’s desert charm. In her spare time, she likes to rollerblade on the Rillito, stir up new recipes, and hike at Sabino Canyon. She’s also loving her newest hobby: creating stained glass!