Digital physiotherapy can be simply defined as physiotherapy provided with technology. This type of physiotherapy has been around for many years now with the most commonly used form being a telephone assessment. Improvements in technology and availability of advanced technology means that video physiotherapy has started to improve in popularity as more people are now able to access a laptop, tablet or phone which have the capability to support video software.

Face to face physiotherapy has always been the traditional form of how we deliver care and it is viewed as the most effective way to deliver our service as it allows the clinician the ability to touch, feel, perform certain tests and also provide hands on treatments such as massage and mobilisation. Given the choice  – the majority of patients would choose a clinic-based appointment – but this doesn’t necessarily mean that this method is always the most appropriate.

Importantly – as humans – we don’t like change, with change comes uncertainty and challenges. This doesn’t mean it should be avoided, it should be addressed. This is one of the biggest factors with physiotherapy being performed over video – since the profession began its been a face to face procedure with treatment involved. Now for it to be suddenly changed to a non-physical encounter is a big shock to the system for many people who have had successful results with the traditional therapy format. The amount of time video physio has been around for is such a small percentage of the whole profession’s lifespan.

COVID19 restrictions and social isolation have now forced MSK physiotherapy clinics to close as they are a non-essential  service and promote movement of people and potential hands on treatment which could contribute towards the spread of the virus. This doesn’t stop the need for physiotherapy – people are still in pain; people still require rehab and need education. With restriction ns estimated to be in place for at least 3 further weeks and with the potential to increase to 2 months such as places like Wuhan – this could mean an extended period where you cannot access healthcare services that you require.

Digital physiotherapy is now key and essential, given the current climate if you have a problem. We are also likely to be enforced into poor working positions from home and increased sedentary behaviour which could contribute towards a problem developing or how you manage your symptoms and recovery from a current issue.

We have to take each person, their problem and whole situation into account when deciding how best to manage a care plan with video physiotherapy. Its worth addressing a few points to dispel myths and show the effectiveness of the service to show how it compares to face to face physiotherapy.

1. Stay at home: Socially distancing, self-isolated?

Do the assessment from the comfort of your home. When COVID19 pandemic has finished, you have the option to go to the clinic or have video assessment – it saves a car journey and saves you time!

2. I can’t get hands on treatment!

Dependent on your past experiences of physiotherapy you may think that all problems require some form of treatment by a clinician. Not true. In recent years research has shown us that hands on treatment helps us to manage our pain levels, to create a ‘therapeutic window’ by temporarily reducing pain so that exercises are able to be performed more easily and allows you to restore function and control pain levels. A great example is a stiff and painful lower back – research has shown that mobilisation of the lower back doesn’t truly move the spine fully, but what it does do is create pain relief, relax muscles and allow increased movement  – which is then reinforced by exercises to reduce weakness or improve range of movement.

Our experienced physiotherapists can provide a plethora of self-treatment techniques which would replicate anything that we would do in clinic. Nothing changes in how we manage you – in fact its like you learning how to be a physio whilst becoming more knowledgeable about your body.

3. How can you perform an assessment properly without touching me?

The answer is easily – an experienced physiotherapist is an extremely adaptable person with dynamic ways of being able to assess via a video link and determine a problem accurately. For example – we can ask you to perform al bodily movements which are easily seen, special testing of all joints can be performed with instruction and other tests such as muscle strength, balance and palpation of body structures are easily directed for you to do and give us the feedback.

4. Online exercise software

We have an online exercise software with thousands of variations of different exercises and self-treatment techniques.  We can tailor your rehab plan, send it via email and you can perform the easy techniques in your home with minimal equipment. This allows us to monitor your progress every step of the way and update your plan when you are ready to progress.

5. Save money!

Finally – our video assessment is cheaper than a face to face assessment but provides you with the same quality and result. How can you argue with that!

You can call 0800 999 7055 today and book a video assessment if you are in need during the COVID19 pandemic. Visit our contact page to book an appointment and make sure you keep track of our updates via our Facebook page.

Ross Taylor

Author Ross Taylor

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