Truth be told if you asked me to perform physiotherapy through a computer monitor a few months ago, I’d say no way. I am a manual therapist and need my hands, or so I thought. However, as social distancing didn’t allow for traditional in person visits, I had to adapt. Physiotherapy is a health care profession directed at assisting people to restore, maintain and maximize their movement, strength, function, and overall well-being. It includes rehabilitation, as well as prevention of injury, and promotion of health and fitness. Everything in this definition can be done online! We can still offer the same expertise in musculoskeletal injuries as we did in person.
With my first telerehabilitation appointment, I knew there was value in it and with each session after that I became more creative. I discovered I could visually assess people’s joints by having them stand a little further away from the camera, measure range of motion with a goniometer (a measuring tool we use) right on the screen, and sometimes use a spouse to perform a technique that I verbally instructed. Specific words and clear instruction become even more important with online visits. What are the benefits? Several, but I usually like to keep my tips and exercises to 3 things to help people remember so here’s my top 3.
You are empowered! In line with our vision, this will empower you to take charge of your body and do the “work” that is required to make physiotherapy successful in the first place. We can prescribe, supervise and progress your home program. Some people have become dependent on having others “fix” them but we all know that with everything good in life, ultimately the change has to come from within. Exercise is the key factor to all rehabilitation programs.
Convenience. You don’t have to leave the comforts of your own home. All you need is enough space for a yoga mat and a device with a camera and audio. No worries about rushing out the door, driving through traffic or sitting in a waiting room. Think also about people who already live in more remote places who may not have access to certain specialties. A patient who lives on Shuswap Lake was looking for a Certified Hand Therapist and thanks to telerehabilitation, I was able to provide the care she needed.
It’s show and tell time. You may have a sore neck or back because you are using a computer or tablet, probably more so these days, in very poor ergonomic positions due to whatever space or furniture restrictions you have in your home. We can now do an ergonomic assessment and set up, in real time within your own home. It may be a suggestion of a box to create a stand up station or a change of chair with a pillow for lumbar support but we’ll be able to see and share exactly what your needs are.
Don't get me wrong, I am looking forward to seeing you in person and using manual techniques, IMS and splinting once again. But as businesses slowly begin to re-open, you may have some concerns about venturing out so we are creating a hybrid model at Empower Physiotherapy to meet your needs. We have already thought of a social distancing system, personal protection equipment needs, and cleaning/disinfecting regimen to ensure your safety, and we will be continuing our Telerehabilitation services. As always, we are here to help you keep moving.